Ukraine and the CEI Presidency

Well, fresh out of the Presidency of the Council of Europe, Ukraine takes over the Presidency of the CEI in 2012.

Yes, I know you have never heard of the CEI. The CEI is the Central European Initiative and its role is rather multifaceted by all directed towards the EU. It is made of of some existing EU Member States and quite a few hopefuls. I think it fair to say that certainly the Western Balkan nations will eventually gain EU Member Status if the EU survives that long.

With this Presidency looming, Ukraine has been preparing.

As with all Presidency’s, Ukraine gets the opportunity to champion its own priorities within the organisation as well as generally steering the group along preexisting paths. What are the Ukrainian priorities?

The ESDR (European Strategy for the Danube Region) appears to be one. I am not sure about any others at the moment. I have written about the Danube region before when Hungary held the EU Presidency. The Danube Delta is a quite beautiful place and well worth a visit for those who appreciate natural beauty ecology and environments.

So what is the ESDR all about?

Its purpose is to improve connectivity and communications in the Danube region, protect the Danube environment and encourage socio-economic, human and institutional development - in a nutshell.

I’ll go along with that as a Ukrainian priority for this organisation during the Ukrainian presidency as the Danube is of interest to at least ten nations and what affects the Danube will affect them all, Ukraine is not best known for its careful handling of its natural environment. Actually maybe that is a little unfair. Ukraine is better known for its Soviet inherited environmental disasters than its more considerate handling of the environment and ecology today. The Danube Delta is well worth protecting and home to some quite unique ecosystems.

The Danube Delta also happens to be in the same Olbast (County) as me, so of course I am always pleased when it gets highlighted to our international neighbours.