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Following the success of the Graz-Udine Workshops in economic theory in 1998 and 1999, CEPET was founded in 1999 by Nick Baigent (London School of Economics) and Giulio Codognato (University of Udine). The current President is Ludovic Julien (University of Paris West-Nanterre).

CEPET holds a Workshop every summer in Udine and produces a Working Paper series. The main objective of CEPET is to promote economic theory in the Central European region, especially among young researchers. The summer Workshop provides an opportunity for young researchers to present work at an early stage and get feedback from experienced scholars with international reputations. Such feedback can be very difficult for young theorists to obtain, but is very useful in promoting and encouraging their work. Many young researchers who have presented their work in the Workshops have then gone on to enter good programs and eventually to publish papers in journals.

Other universities in the region are encouraged to join and support the activities of CEPET