The goal of the initiative, the first of its kind, was to give insight in the potential of an international organisation based in Trieste that plays an active role as instrument at the service of regional cooperation and European integration. With its 18 member states, the CEI covers an area with 250 million inhabitants, forming a bridge between existing macro-regions and those that are being created in the eastern part of the continent. The conference was an opportunity to discuss the extraordinary potential for collaboration between the intergovernmental organisation CEI, with its institutional role, and the international and European vocation that distinguishes the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region. In his opening words to the participants, CEI deputy secretary-general Giorgio Rosso Cicogna underlined several aspects of this potential, stressing the fact that both parties are pleased with the fact that the Region participates in the activities of the Danubian strategy of the European Commission. ''The unique added value of the CEI is the nearly unlimited access to its 18 member states on all levels, starting on a political-decisional level, which is an important asset for the Region." Regional Councillor for International and European Relations Elio De Anna said that today's conference contributes to a ''global vision,'' in line with the strategy of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region to promote international cooperation initiatives taken by various regional parties. The councillor particularly underlined the need for ''cooperation'' regarding the use of European funds ahead of the new European programme.