Central European Initiative

The Central European Initiative (CEI) is a forum for regional cooperation in Central and Eastern Europe , counting 18 member states. It was formed in Budapest in 1989. The CEI has been operating in Trieste (Italy) since 1996.


The Central European Initiative or CIS , is the largest and oldest forum of regional cooperation in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe. It now counts 18 member states, Many of Whom are Even not share of Central Europe: Albania , Austria , Belarus , Bosnia and Herzegovina , Bulgaria , Croatia , the Czech Republic , Hungary , Italy , Macedonia , Moldova , Montenegro , Poland , Romania , Serbia ,Slovakia , Slovenia and Ukraine . The origin of the Central European Initiative in the creation of the Quadragonale in Budapest on 11 November 1989 founding fathers were Italy, Austria, Hungary and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).

The Initiative aims at overcoming the division in blocks by re-establishing cooperation links, among countries of different political orientations and economic structures.

At the first Summit in Venice in 1990, Czechoslovakia was admitted and the Initiative was renamed Pentagonale. In 1991, with the admission of Poland became the Hexagonale.

The organization was renamed Central European Initiative (CEI) in 1992. On the same occasion, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia were admitted as Member States.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia were admitted to the CIS in 1993 following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. In 1996 Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine joined the CEI as full-fledged members.

The current membership derives from the membership of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (afterwards State Union of Serbia and Montenegro and later on Serbia) in 2000 and of Montenegro in 2006.


The CEI aims at achieving cohesion in areas of mutual interest and assisting non-EU member countries in consolidating their economic and social development. In this regard, the CIS Plan of Action defines the organization’s priorities within the established areas of cooperation.

Once again, the CEI has progressively added economic growth and human development to a focus on capacity building, shared experience and know-how transfer.

A number of CEI activities and projects are also strategically developed within EU programs as well as other international and regional organizations. The CIS also cooperates with other organizations such as the RCC, BSEC, the OSCE etc.

Areas of Cooperation : Towards a Knowledge-based Society: Research and Innovation; lifelong Education and Training; Information Society. Towards a Sustainable Economy and Development: Transportation, Logistics and Accessibility; Energy Efficiancyand Renewable Energy; Climate, Environment and Rural Development; SMEs and Business Development. Towards and Inclusive Society: Intercultural Cooperation; Media; Civil Society.


The CEI operates through various structures: – Annual Meeting of the Heads of Government (CEI Summit). – Annual Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs (MFA Meeting). – Regular meetings of the IEC Committee of National Coordinators (CNC).

The CNC, composed of representatives of the Foreign Ministries of all Member States, is the body responsible for the management of CEI cooperation and the implementation of IEC programs and projects. CEI Presidency.

Working parties, such as the Networks of Focal Points, designated in specific sectors by the governments of the Member States, operating in each CEI area of ​​activity. The CEI – Executive Secretariat (CEI-ES), is the only permanent IEC body and was established in Trieste in 1996. It provides administrative and conceptual support to the decision-making and operational structures of the CEI.

The Secretariat for IEC Projects (CEI-PS), established in 1991 at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), maintains offices in Trieste and London and carries out investment and project-related activities.

Participation in EU programs started in 2004, with the aim to foster territorial cooperation among CEI countries – with particular attention to the involvement of non-EU Member States in EU funded projects – and to expand their experience in CEI’s priority areas.

Financial support for the functioning of the Secretariat is provided by Italy. Another important element of the CEI is the co-operation promoted by the Parliaments of the CEI Member States or known to the CEI Parliamentary Dimension. Relations are also maintained among the Chambers of Commerce of the Region.

Secretary General

Giovanni Caracciolo di Vietri, Secretary General of the CIS

As of 1 January 2013, Ambassador Giovanni Caracciolo di Vietri (Italy) has taken over his duties as Secretary General. [1]

IEC Presidencies – 1989 Hungary – 1990 Italy – 1991 SFR Yugoslavia – 1992 Austria – 1993 Hungary – 1994 Italy – 1995 Poland – 1996 Austria – 1997 Bosnia and Herzegovina – 1998 Croatia – 1999 Czech Republic – 2000 Hungary – 2001 Italia – 2002 Macedonia – 2003 Poland – 2004 Slovenia – 2005 Slovakia – 2006 Albania – 2007 Bulgaria – 2008 Moldova – 2009 Romania – 2010 Montenegro – 2011 Serbia – 2012 Ukraine – 2013 Hungary – 2014 Austria – 2015 Macedonia – 2016 Bosnia and Herzegovina. – 2017 Belarus – 2018 Croatia


Founding members :

  •  Austria (1989)
  •  Hungary ( 1989 )
  •  Italy (1989)
  •  SFR Yugoslavia (1989-1992)

Joined later :

  •  Czechoslovakia (1990-1992)
  •  Poland (1991)
  •  Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992)
  •  Croatia (1992)
  •  Slovenia (1992)
  •  Macedonia (1993)
  •  Czech Republic (1993)
  •  Slovakia (1993)
  •  Albania (1995)
  •  Belarus (1995)
  •  Bulgaria (1995)
  •  Moldova (1996)
  •  Romania (1995)
  •  Ukraine (1995)
  •  FR Yugoslavia (2000-2006)
  •  Serbia (2006)
  •  Montenegro (2006)

See also

  • Central Europe
  • Southeastern Europe
  • Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP)
  • Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA)
  • Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI)
  • Black Sea Economic Co-operation (BSEC)
  • Adriatic-Ionian Initiative (AII)
  • Regional Cooperation Council (RCC)
  • Visegrad Group (V4)
  • Three Seas Initiative (TSI)


  1. Jump up^ http://www.cei.int/content/amb-giovanni-caracciolo-di-vietri