Central and eastern European countries that are part of the Central European Initiative (CEI), a regional intergovernmental forum committed to supporting European integration, would like to continue fostering their cooperation and to address, through concerted action, issues such as migrant crises, security threats and terrorism.

Members of the CEI initiative, founded in 1989, met in Sarajevo on Tuesday and reiterated their commitment to the development of regional transport and infrastructural projects.

This year’s CEI Summit took place in Sarajevo, with Bosnia and Herzegovina's Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic underscoring in his keynote speech that there is still a huge gap between the East and the West.

The average GDP per capita in eastern European countries is less than 50% of the average GDP per capita in western European countries, Zvizdic said, adding that a majority of central and eastern countries that are members of the CEI do not develop at a desirable pace. As a result, young, educated and talented people leave those countries and all this can lead to radicalism, which undermines fundamental values stemming from justice and equity, he said.

In his speech, Zvizdic praised this organisation for making consistent and long-standing efforts to lessen the gaps between the East and the West.

On 1 January 2016, the presidency of the CEI was assumed by Bosnia and Herzegovina, a member since 1992. Belarus takes over the presidency on 1 January 2017.

There are 17 members of this initiative - Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Moldova, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.

Croatian Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butkovic, who represented Croatia at the Sarajevo summit meeting, said that participants in the event agreed that it was necessary to deal with the contemporary challenges.

"We are united in the position that issues such as the migrant crisis and terrorism should be dealt with in a cautious manner and that we should exchange experiences and comply with the laws and fundamental human values," Butkovic said in his address to the press.

He said that he had met with his Bosnian counterpart Ismir Jusko for talks on bilateral transport projects, notably the completion of the construction of bridges across the Sava River within pan-European corridors.

On the margins of the Sarajevo summit, the CEI and the International Organisation for Migrations (IOM) signed a memorandum of understanding in a bid to make efforts aimed at addressing the migrant crisis more efficient.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.