Belarus views its presidency of the Central European Initiative (CEI) as an opportunity to get better involved in the European integration processes, Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said in Minsk on 14 February at the opening of the first meeting of the CEI Committee of National Coordinators held under the auspices of Belarus’ CEI presidency in 2017, BelTA has learned.
“It is for the first time that Belarus takes on the leading role in one of the oldest European integration organizations beyond our western border that unites the EU member states and its closest neighbors. We view this as a unique and timely opportunity to step up Belarus’ involvement in the European integration processes,” Vladimir Makei said.
The minister pointed out that Belarus’ presidency is of special importance given the volatile situation in the region and the unprecedented challenges that the countries are faced with today. The migration crisis, new security challenges, social tensions, and economic difficulties pose a serious threat to peace and stability and emphasize the striking interdependence of the European countries. “To put it plainly, it is time to recognize that Europe is still far from reaching the ambitious goals that were on the agenda ten years ago. Besides, the European achievements in the field of free trade, mobility and cross-border cooperation are also fragile today,” Vladimir Makei emphasized.
The diplomat added that still, some 25 years ago, when Europe was divided by the Iron Curtain, many of these achievements seemed impossible. “A return to the infamous block policy is a road to nowhere in tacking the serious challenges lying ahead of Europe. These challenges require coordinated action and involvement of all the European countries. The current situation highlights the relevance of the Central European Initiative as a forum designed to create a united Europe without dividing lines, with common values for all countries, regions and nations of the continent,” Vladimir Makei pointed out.
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