The foreign affairs ministers of the Central European Initiative (CEI) Member States held their annual meeting in northeastern Italian city of Trieste on June 12.

The gathering - entitled ‘Central European Initiative at Thirty and Towards the Future: Common Vision, Shared Values, European Standards, Strong Regional Cooperation’ - was chaired by Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Enzo Moavero Milanesi, who reconfirmed his country’s commitment to the CEI mission and objectives.

The ministers adopted the Trieste Declaration, approved the 2018 Annual Report of the CEI Secretary-General Roberto Antonione, and the budget of the CEI Cooperation Fund for 2020.

The Trieste Declaration reads - among other things - that CEI Member States’ ministers of foreign affairs “recognize the importance of a greater coordination between the European Union and the CEI, and welcome the opening of CEI’s Representation Office in Brussels as a tangible evidence of the will to reinforce mutual ties”.

Furthermore, the ministers “confirm the importance of the EU enlargement to the Western Balkan region; support the advancement of the EU accession negotiations of Montenegro and Serbia; welcome the Prespa Agreement between Skopje and Athens, as well as the Friendship Treaty between Skopje and Sofia, and the extent of reforms carried out by Albania and North Macedonia in view of the opening of accession negotiations with the two countries; and encourage Bosnia and Herzegovina on its path towards obtaining the status of the EU Candidate Country”.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina Igor Crnadak addressed the meeting and welcomed the adoption of the Trieste Declaration. Crnadak also supported the enlargement of the CEI, saying that accession of countries such as Greece would contribute to strengthening of the organization. He expressed hope that new Austrian Government would discuss possible Austria’s return to CEI.