CEI Heads of Government meeting in Minsk

Belarus views the membership in the Central European Initiative as an additional opportunity to improve understanding with the European Union, Belarus Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov said at the CEI Heads of Government meeting in Minsk.

“The 2017 results enable us to see the CEI format as a serious tool to ensure a fuller and more effective involvement of the country into the global European development. For us the participation in the Central European Initiative is an additional opportunity to improve communication with the EU through specific programs and projects, including in the area of regional development which the CEI implements together with the EU,” Andrei Kobyakov noted.

For Belarus the CEI is also an effective way to intensify the interaction with other member states on a bilateral basis.

“This applies both to our traditional partners and also to the countries with whom we previously did not have robust relations,” the prime minister noted.

Within the framework of the Belarusian CEI presidency, particular emphasis was placed on the fact that the organization unites the states that participate in “various integration associations and formats.” Belarus has traditionally been at the forefront of the integration processes in the post-Soviet space, being a founding member of the CIS and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). Today the EAEU and the EU are immediate neighbors and need to search for common ground. I am convinced that it is the harmonious and complementary development of the two big unions that is a guarantee of stability and prosperity in Europe,” Andrei Kobyakov said.

The CEI Presidency passes from Belarus to Croatia. “We are proud of the fact that during the Belarusian presidency, thanks to our joint action the CEI has maintained and enhanced its non-conflict and non-discriminatory profile, the focus on constructive work and specific results of the cooperation,” the Belarusian head of government noted.

Andrei Kobyakov voiced confidence that today's meeting as well as other activities of the CEI in 2017 will be meaningful, constructive and productive. “After all, our common goal is to make the Central European Initiative an even more powerful tool for promoting sustainable development and prosperity of our countries and peoples. We hope that many themed events held this year under the auspices of the CEI will transform into concrete agreements in the political, economic and other fields and give tangible results for citizens of our states. This is the meaning of our work,” he concluded.
Andrei Kobyakov also said, that The Central European Initiative  has proved its relevance as a venue for promoting dialogue and cooperation in a wide range of areas.

2017 was the year of Belarus’ presidency in the Central European Initiative. According to Andrei Kobyakov, it was not only a challenge but also an important and useful experience for the country. Belarus focused its CEI presidency on promoting compatibility and complementarity in a greater Europe. There is an increasing need to develop logistics and transport infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe, especially in the context of aligning the Chinese Belt and Road initiative with the transport network of the European Union. During its CEI presidency Belarus did its best to add momentum to the effort to synchronize the plans on the joint expansion of transport infrastructure, simplify customs procedures, develop logistics services, and harmonize the digital markets of the CEI member states.

According to him, Belarus is in favor of a coordinated international approach to tackling terrorism and the migration crisis.

Migration-related matters are among the key ones on the CEI agenda. Belarus has traditionally been at the forefront of the international effort to regulate migration processes and counter human trafficking. Another important mission is the fight against terrorism. “It requires the same comprehensive and coordinated international approach as migration issues,” the Belarusian PM remarked.

Cyberterrorism deserves special attention, as it is rapidly turning into a global threat with far-reaching political and economic consequences, Andrei Kobyakov pointed out. In this context, the problem of information security has been growing.

Belarus will host a high-level UN-OSCE conference “Preventing and countering terrorism in the digital age” in October 2018. The event will be open to the participation of representatives of the CEI Secretariat and CEI member states, Andrei Kobyakov added.

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