Central European Initiative
Central European Initiative (CEI) is a regional group of Central and Eastern European countries, in order to establish multilateral cooperation in the political, socio-economic, scientific and cultural spheres and, on this basis, promoting strengthening of stability and safety in the region. It includes18 countries: Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Ukraine.
In November 1989, in Budapest was established a group "Quadrogonal" by Italy, Austria, Hungary and Yugoslavia. The goal of organization was to ensure preparation of Hungary and Yugoslavia for their future membership in the European Union. Gradually expanding, in 1992, the group changed its name to the Central European Initiative. The CEI Executive Secretariat is located in Trieste (Italy).
The CEI's work is structured on three levels: Heads of the Governments, Foreign Ministers of foreign affairs, and National Coordinators of member-states of the Initiative.
CEI seeks to play a more prominent role as a regional international organisation, one of the priority directions of which is comprehensive promotion of the accession of its member states to the European Union. CEI actively cooperates with other European regional organizations, such as the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative, the Regional Cooperation Council, the BSEC, the Council of the Baltic Sea States, etc.
In the implementation of its goals, the CEI relies on the support of parliamentarians and business circles of the member countries through specially formed structures. There are the Parliamentary dimension of the CEI and the Central European Chamber of Commerce initiative. These structures are not directly related to the CEI and operate independently through general coordination of the CEI Secretariat.
Ukraine began to develop contacts with the CEI in 1992 through the participation in several initiatives working groups. In March 1994, Ukraine was granted the status of a member of the Association of the CEI, and on May 31, 1996, it became a full member.
Ukraine considers CEI as an important mechanism of integration into the European economic and political area, as well as strengthening regional stability and further comprehensive development of relations among the member states of the Initiative. Specialists from Ukraine take part in the activities of expert networks that operate within the CEI in such areas as cross-border co-operation, transport, energy, science and technology. On a permanent basis, there is carried out the work to increase participation of Ukrainian enterprises and organisations in the implementation of the Initiative.