MINSK, 12 December (BelTA) – Belarus viewed the presidency of the Central European Initiative (CEI) as an opportunity to increase its participation in regional integration processes and cooperation, Belarusian Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov told the media following the CEI Heads of Government Meeting in Minsk, BelTA informs.
Belarus held the CEI presidency for the first time. The CEI was founded in 1989 to prevent the emergence of new dividing lines in Europe. Since then, the organization has proven that its potential is still in demand. According to Andrei Kobyakov, this is especially evident amid such large-scale challenges as the migration crisis and terrorism.
“We viewed Belarus' CEI presidency as an opportunity to increase our participation in regional integration processes and cooperation. This was the goal of the large CEI business forum held in Minsk last week. We also aspired to solve, as far as possible, the economic and social problems which are common for the whole region,” the Belarusian PM stressed.
He believes that the CEI countries are destined to play a special strategic role of a link between East and West. “It is only possible to use every advantage of the unique geographical location and avoid collateral geopolitical risks if the integration processes at the junction of Europe and Asia are connected and interoperable. This is a must for stability and sustainable economic growth in our region. This is why we chose the promotion of connectivity in a greater Europe as the main topic of Belarus' CEI presidency,” the official added.
The heads of government discussed ways to contribute to pragmatic rapprochement and cooperation between integration associations on the continent. It was noted at the meeting that Belarus played a key role in forming and launching an initiative to harmonize the digital markets in the Eastern Partnership, which finished with outlining a special field in the EaP program. As of today, this field is among the most effective and dynamic ones in the EaP, Andrei Kobyakov pointed out.
The CEI heads of government adopted a plan of action for 2018-2020 in Minsk on 12 December. The document outlines the key fields of the countries' project activities for the near future. They also discussed prospects for reforming the CEI.
“In my opinion, today's summit became a milestone for our organization. Belarus wholeheartedly delegated the power of the CEI president to Croatia. It is our wish that our Croatian colleagues successfully embark on a new year in this responsible position,” he underlined.