Platform for interaction
Central European Initiative is unique venue for open dialogue between Central and Eastern Europe
This was noted by Belarus’ Deputy Foreign Minister Yelena Kupchina at the seminar devoted to CEI’s 25th jubilee. Ms. Kupchina believes the meeting is of practical significance, being primarily aimed at expert discussions on CEI co-operation, identification of avenues of further work and the study of how the organisation can efficiently interact with other integration projects — mainly, the European Union’s Eastern Partnership. She notes that the event is politically-based, against the background of the alarming situation in the region.
In July, a century had passed since the first global military conflict broke out: WWI. Almost simultaneously, Belarus celebrated the 70th anniversary of its liberation from WWII fascist occupation; over 60 million people died in those years — including 30 percent of the Belarusian population.
“This year, we are celebrating 25 years since the end of the Cold War; the two major geopolitical blocks opposed each other for over four decades but, happily, this failed to result in nuclear war and humankind’s destruction,” Ms. Kupchina stresses, adding that the 20th century’s sad experience has become a key aspect for the establishment of the CEI.
In November 1989, four countries — Austria, Hungary, Italy and the Socialistic Federative Republic of Yugoslavia — made a decision in Budapest to set up a new sub-regional organisation, bringing block-split European countries closer and avoiding new conflict. “A long lasting, complex process of erasing artificial demarcative lines was launched via the establishment of mutually beneficial collaboration, restoring old ties and creating new economic, educational and cultural links, ” Ms. Kupchina stresses.