On 22 June 2017, Minsk hosted the Annual Meeting of the CEI Ministers for Foreign Affairs. The event took place in the framework of the Belarusian Presidency of the Central European Initiative in 2017.
The main topic for discussion during the Meeting was the increasing role of the CEI Member States in promoting connectivity and complementarity among various integration processes in a Wider Europe, including by joining efforts in confronting new threats to stability in the region and strengthening of pragmatic economic cooperation between various integrational formats.
The event was attended by the First Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, Ivica Dacic, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor Crnadak, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary, Peter Szijjarto, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Miroslav Lajcak, the Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs of the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria, Michael Linhart, the Assistant Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, Tomislav Lendic, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Lukas Kaucky, the Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, Bartosz Cichocki, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Romania, George Ciamba, senior officials of foreign ministries of the Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro, Ambassadors of the Albanian Republic, the Republic of Bulgaria, Republic of Slovenia and Ukraine to the Republic of Belarus.
Other participants in the event include the Secretary General of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Enzo Quattrociocche, the Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council, Goran Svilanovic, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Belarus, Andrea Wiktorin, representatives of Secretariats of the Commonwealth of Independent States and of the Council of the Baltic Sea States since Belarus is a CBSS Observer State.
The Foreign Ministers discussed the issues of combining efforts in combating new challenges, as the ongoing migration crisis, as well as the accompanying phenomena of radicalization and social tension. In this context, the participants considered the results of CEI and OSCE high-level meeting of experts on the improvement of the international response to large movements of people that was held on June 9, 2017 in Vienna (Austria). The event was initiated by the Belarusian Presidency of CEI together with the Austrian Chairmanship in the OSCE.
The Ministers of the CEI countries focused on building genuine dialogue and cooperation within and outside Europe in order to harmonize development strategies, standards and procedures related to trade and transit, with special emphasis on transport, customs clearance and cross-border digital services. It was noted that the title conference of the Belarusian Presidency of the CEI was dedicated to the issues of interrelations and compatibility in connection with the Chinese initiative “One Belt and One Road”, that was held on June 8, 2017 in Minsk.
Read more about Belarus’ role as a CBSS Observer State under the Section “Observer States and Strategic Partners”.