The event took place on 12 November 2021 in fully remote format,
co-organised by CEI and the Union of Municipalities of Montenegro (UOM).
Roberto Ciambetti (IT/ECR), President of the Regional
Council of Veneto and Co-Chair of the Joint Consultative Committee between
the CoR and Montenegro, represented the Committee of the Regions.
CEI is the oldest regional initiative in Central and South East Europe. It
was established in 1989 and currently has 18 member states, both EU
members: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy,
Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia, and non-members: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia
and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Rep. of Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, and
Ukraine. Its main objectives are promotion of cooperation between the
states of Central, Eastern and South East Europe, aiding its members in
their transition to stable democracy and market economy, and helping the EU
CEI Presidency is annual rotating based on alphabetic order. Due to
COVID-19 pandemic, Montenegro has been holding the Presidency for two years
in a row, 2020 and 2021. Bulgaria will take it over from 1 January 2022.
CEI Local Dimension has been established following the proposal of the
Parliamentary Committee of CEI, with the support of the ministries of
foreign affairs of CEI member states.
In his opening remarks, Refik Bojadžić, Secretary General
of UOM, shared the view that the establishment of its Local Dimension will
significantly help CEI to reach its objectives. Talking about the regional
cooperation in the Western Balkans, Bojadžić said, "
Regional cooperation is now perceived as the first, and not as the last
. However, serious political and economic challenges still exist."
CEI Secretary General Roberto Antonione emphasised that
„CEI has always supported local and regional authorities' cooperation, at
both political and project level".
Roberto Ciambetti expressed the full commitment of the CoR
to the EU enlargement and cooperation with the countries aspiring to become
EU member states. Joint consultative committees of the CoR with the three
Balkans countries (North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia), and the CoR
working groups for Turkey and the Western Balkans are the most important
tools for this cooperation.
Chair of CEI Parliamentary Dimension Tamara Vujović MP
(Montenegro) expressed support of the CEI parliamentarians to the newly
established CEI Local Dimension.
CEI Deputy Secretary General Zoran Jovanović presented
CEI's institutional and project activities, as well as financial
Among the speakers were also Frédéric Vallier, Secretary
General of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR),
Kelmend Zajazi, Executive Director of the Network of Local
Authorities' Associations in South East Europe (NALAS), and Ugo Poli from CEI.
A number of participants from the associations of local authorities took
part in discussion.
Next meeting of CEI Local Dimension is planned for mid-2022 in Bulgaria.