The meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Member States of the Central European Initiative (CEI) adopted on Wednesday the Trieste Declaration, which confirmed that Montenegro will take over the presidency of the Initiative from 1 January 2020. The second presidency of the CEI will happen on the 10th anniversary of the first Montenegrin presidency of this oldest regional mechanism, which is a confirmation that Montenegro has been recognised as an active and responsible regional player dedicated to open and close cooperation and joint action towards sustainable development of the region.
“The Montenegrin presidency of the CEI will seek to further strengthen regional dialogue and ties between the 17 Member States of the Initiative in order to achieve the most effective results and stable socio-economic progress,” said Montenegro Minister of Foreign Affairs Srđan Darmanović, who took part in the ministerial meeting.
He added that a well-designed shared approach is the best instrument for addressing regional potentials and challenges, and stressed that within the presidency, Montenegro will encourage cooperation and increase synergies between relevant regional initiatives.
As it was announced by the Montenegrin Government, Minister Darmanović said that in the thirty years of its existence, the CEI confirmed that it was an important element in the construction of a more democratic and stable region. He pointed out that the Initiative greatly encourages the promotion of democratic principles and the building of institutional capacities, and is therefore of particular importance for the countries that are on the path towards the European Union.
“Montenegro is today the country that has made the most progress in the reform process, continually harmonizing the internal legal framework with the European legislation. Therefore, we will undoubtedly be the first next member of the EU,” the Minister said and expressed the belief that the newly elected European Parliament and European Commission will affirm and strengthen the enlargement policy.
“This will be a geostrategic investment in the peace and economic prosperity of the whole of Europe,” concluded Minister Darmanović.
The ministerial meeting of the CEI highlighted the importance of continuing EU enlargement policy and further strengthening the European perspective of the Western Balkans. Furthermore, the meeting supported the achievement of clear progress in the accession negotiations for Montenegro and Serbia and welcomed reforms implemented by North Macedonia and Albania. The meeting reiterated the importance of cooperation in the implementation of transport and energy infrastructure projects, as well as the strengthening of policies that are focused on the inclusion of young people in contemporary social processes.
On the sidelines of the meeting, Minister Darmanović met with Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov.
Darmanović stressed that resolving the dispute between North Macedonia and Greece is a model for overcoming the open issues in the region, stressing that Montenegro strongly supports the opening of negotiations with the EU for North Macedonia and Albania.
Minister Dimitrov stressed that Montenegro is a role model in the implementation of reforms and fulfilment of obligations arising from Euro-Atlantic and European integration and that Montenegro’s support was of particular importance in the process of accession of North Macedonia to NATO./ibna