(fa fede solo il testo effettivamente pronunciato)
I wish to express to all of you my warmest welcome to Trieste. Trieste is no longer a frontier city. It has acquired a central dimension in our country and in Europe: not only as a crossroad of goods, people and international networks, but also as a centre of free and open discussion of ideas and point of views. The attitude to political and economic dialogue is in the DNA of this city. I hope that its open and constructive mind-set will inspire today’s discussion as well.
Indeed, we are convinced that the advance of political and economic integration in Central and Eastern Europe is the best tool to strengthen the cause of regional security. As the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa confirm, peoples’ hopes cannot be dismissed for ever. If we want stable and prosperous friends at our borders, we should be mindful of our neighbours’ aspirations.
Today’s meeting highlights the commitment of both the Italian government and our local authorities to the European integration. Not only do we host the CEI’s Executive Secretariat, but we are also supporting its activities in many fields. The meeting itself is already a concrete step forward towards the implementation of the Budva Recommendations.
I would also like to seize the opportunity to express my deep appreciation to the Serbian Presidency. The Serbian Presidency has displayed great dedication to fostering regional cooperation and strengthening the EU perspectives for non-EU CEI Member States. I believe that the Serbian dynamism and staunchness are essential qualities to increase the CEI’s visibility and projection.
In this globalised world, the various actors are protagonists only when they are big enough to make a difference. So, allow me to stress that today’s meeting is the second biggest gathering of European-only Ministers of Foreign Affairs, after the EU Council. The high level of the political participation confirms that the CEI may play a crucial role in the region. We shall not miss this great opportunity to promote regional cooperation and encourage European integration.
I now give the floor to the Chair.