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Meeting of the Socialist International Mediterranean Committee, Tangier

21-22 March 1997

Tangier was the venue for a meeting on 21 and 22 March of the SI Mediterranean Committee, hosted by the Socialist Union of Popular Forces, USFP, of Morocco and chaired by Raimon Obiols of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, PSOE. The Committee continued its ongoing deliberations on the deepening of the Euro-Mediterranean relationship, as well as formulating its hopes and expectations for the second Euro-Mediterranean ministerial conference to be held in April in Malta. It adopted a comprehensive resolution on cooperation in the region. The continuing violence and lack of democracy in Algeria was also on the agenda and the Commitee called, in a resolution, for a number of measures to ensure the validity of the forthcoming elections. These included the lifting of restrictions on the democratic opposition, access for all democratic parties to the media, neutrality on the part of the administration, and the right of opposition representatives and international observers to monitor all aspects of the electoral process. The Socialist International will send a mission to observe the elections in Algeria. A further subject of discussion was politics and the media in the Mediterranean region as a whole and the Committee resolved to establish a working group on this important question. In the light of the present crisis in the Middle East peace process, the Committee issued a statement reaffirming support for the Oslo agreements and urging the European Union, and in particular its socialist parties, to play the fullest political role in support of peace. In another resolution, the Committee stressed the important role of women in the work for peace and democracy in the Mediterranean region and called on its member parties to foster the participation of women in the political process and in particular as candidates in forthcoming elections. Delegates also reported on their own national situations.



(Original: French)

  • The SI Mediterranean Committee once again expresses its deep concern with regard to the upward spiral of killings which the Algerian people have endured over the last five years.

  • Hostage to violence and condemned to silence, the Algerian population live in a climate of general insecurity aggravated by disastrous economic and social conditions.

  • However, the Algerian people have continually expressed their profound aspiration to peace and democracy. A political solution based on the priority of a return to civil peace could have been found after the presidential election, but the opportunity was not seized. The referendum on the constitution as well as the new laws which limit, frame and control the functioning of political parties and their activities challenge any prospect of a real democratic opening.

  • Once again, in the absence of any prospects of a real political solution, the Algerian authorities hastily impose an election deadline.

  • The SI Mediterranean Committee considers that specific measures are essential for the credibility and legality of the planned ballot:

- lifting of all restrictions which hinder the activities of peaceful opposition and which abide by democratic rules;

- impartial access to the media as of now, in particular to television and radio, for all political forces which reject violence and terrorism;

- effective neutrality of the authorities;

- guaranteed observance of the entire electoral process by the political parties participating in the elections;

- participation in all stages of the electoral process by international observers from both governmental and non-governmental organisations.

  • The SI Mediterranean Committee considers that the massive presence of international observers prior to, during and after the ballot is indispensable in order to ensure efficient monitoring and allow women and men voters to express their preference with confidence.

  • The Mediterranean Committee calls on its member parties to participate in the SI's observer mission and to support the efforts of international organisations in this regard.

The Mediterranean Committee expresses its support to all democratic powers which are working towards a return to civil peace in Algeria and particularly the Socialist Forces Front, FFS. It calls on all Socialist International member parties to give concrete demonstration of this support, particularly on the occasion of the forthcoming elections.


(Original: French)

On the basis of information provided by the member parties of the Middle East Committee (SIMEC), in particular MAPAM-Meretz and Fatah, the SI Mediterranean Committee, meeting in Tangier on 21 and 22 March 1997:

- condemns the suicide-attack committed in Tel Aviv on 21 March as it condemns all individual or organised violence against civilians, on either side;

- expresses its anxiety with regard to the unprecedented crisis in the peace process, the deterioration of Israeli-Egyptian and Israeli-Jordanian relationships, the military escalation in the Lebanon and the total freeze in Israeli-Syrian negotiations. It notes that the freeze in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is at the heart of this crisis, and considers that the provocative policy of the Israeli right, the escalation of settlement colonisation and the absence of dialogue with the Palestinian authorities with regard to implementing the signed agreements, represent the principal factors in the mounting tension in the region;

- commends the Israeli forces for peace and particularly the Israeli member parties and encourages them to continue and intensify their political struggle to make the Israeli government respect and apply the agreements signed in the spirit in which they were intended, and calls for greater international mobilisation to save the peace process which is now seriously threatened;

- aware of the complexity of the matters still to be discussed and which appear on the agenda for negotiations on the permanent status which should have already begun, the Committee stresses the importance of Israeli-Palestinian dialogue within the SI framework on the complex questions of Jerusalem, colonies and refugees. Dialogue, as proven over the last few years, is often decisive in creating conditions for real negotiation;

- finally, expresses the conviction that Europe, which in Barcelona undertook to strive for a just and durable peace in the Middle East, can and must play an increased political role in the search for peace, and stresses the particular responsibility of European socialists in these matters.


(Original: French)

Considering the major advances in the media and communication field from the point of view of technology, content, and methods of management;

Considering the international and social discrepancies concerning the media and access to information;

Considering the basic role of the media in the information society;

Considering the need for all the inhabitants of the Mediterranean countries to benefit from equal opportunities with regard to the prodigious development, still often badly controlled and mismanaged, of information superhighways, multimedia and information technology,

the Socialist International Mediterranean Committee, meeting in Tangier on 21 and 22 March 1997:

1. Reaffirms the need to promote a fundamental reflection on socialist strategy and policy with regard to the information society, within the framework of proposals for modern socialism in the twenty-first century.

2. Insists on the importance of the struggle for a new order of information which will allow equal access to global information and knowledge.

3. Reaffirms in particular the following principles in the field of media and communication:

  • Extension of freedom of information and the right to information.

  • Promotion of new media.

  • Action for diversity.

  • Control of the process of globalisation.

  • Development of partnership.

  • Measures to counteract monopolies.

  • Development of decentralisation and participation.

4. Decides to set up a working group in order to prepare a programme of work for approval at the next meeting of the Mediterranean Committee. This programme will give particular consideration to the following points:

a) Preparation of the establishment of a permanent seminar on media and politics within the Mediterranean Committee.

b) Drafting and distribution of periodic reports on communication and democracy in the Mediterranean.

c) Creation of a Euro-Mediterranean platform to defend the cultural rights of emigrant populations.

d) Strengthening the cooperation links between the Mediterranean Committee and the media.

5. Undertakes to promote the agreements of the Euromed Civil Forum of Barcelona with regard to the media and communication.

6. Undertakes to take initiatives aimed at putting an end to censorship, harassment of journalists and restrictions of any nature on the right to information in countries where this right is not guaranteed.


(Original: French)

The Socialist International Mediterranean Committee, meeting in Tangier on 21-22 March 1997:

Notes with satisfaction the persistence and development of the Euro-Mediterranean dynamic launched by the November 1995 Barcelona conference, and pursued through follow-up action based on a number of extremely vital questions and matters concerning the definition and promotion of new Euro-Mediterranean relations, on the basis of a new, balanced and equitable approach to cooperation.

In just over one year a series of Euro-Mediterranean meetings have taken place, covering a number of important subjects including political, technological and institutional matters as well as questions relating to infrastructure and security, etc.

Underlines the relevance of the appraisal made by the 20th SI congress in New York in September 1996 with regard to the work and declaration of the Barcelona conference, noting that the latter "represents a big step forward for the aspirations of the progressive sectors in the region and gave rise to legitimate hopes that inequalities and injustices could be corrected through mechanisms of cooperation freely entered into by the different countries attending this historic meeting".

Considers that this new phase of Mediterranean co-operation is not only possible but absolutely necessary, so much so that the stability, security and prosperity of the Mediterranean area undeniably rests upon it. It goes without saying that the establishment and maintenance of conditions of peace, security and prosperity on the northern shores of the Mediterranean are more than ever linked to the promotion of economic and social development in countries to the south and east of the Mediterranean.

Notes with regret the disparities which characterise the application of the spirit and principles of the Barcelona Declaration:

  • Implementation of the "social, cultural and human" part is thus reduced to a security dimension and the orientation expressed by the Barcelona Declaration to encourage dialogue between cultures and promotes human, scientific, technological and cultural exchanges, is held back by the notable absence of a community policy on the matter. The Member States should clearly define a common policy on immigration and access to territory, and ask European Union and Mediterranean countries to come to an agreement which is satisfactory to both parties and which should include a charter on the rights of migrants.

Particularly shocked by several shipwrecks where boats have sunk in the Mediterranean resulting in several hundred victims, it is clear that they are victims of trafficking in people. Urgent measures are demanded to put a stop to this shameful trafficking and this should be included on the agenda at the Second Euro-Mediterranean Conference.

  • Implementation of the financial part remains modest and the financial effort determined by the European summit at Cannes, taken up again in the Barcelona Declaration, is proving insufficient in response to the needs of sustained development.

Thus the amount of money allocated to the countries to the south and east of the Mediterranean is in fact equivalent to 0.4 per cent of the GDP of the Mediterranean countries. For a population estimated at around 224 million inhabitants this represents, in terms of aid per inhabitant per year, three times less than the amount destined for PECO.

  • The weight of the foreign debt and its service still constitute a bottleneck for the countries to the south of the Mediterranean which considerably limits any room for manoeuvre, in terms of public and social investment as well as investment in infrastructure.

The urgent, indispensable need to deal with these problems cannot be ignored. Policies for restructuring and reducing the outstanding debts of the countries of the south are clearly and urgently required.

  • The prospect of constructing a free-exchange zone by the year 2010, a zone of shared prosperity aimed at reducing gaps in development in the Mediterranean region, involves a voluntary undertaking by countries on the northern shores. The reduction of agricultural imports from the south of the Mediterranean is prejudicial to the developing countries.

Stresses that carrying out South-North integration in the Mediterranean, with a view to creating a stable and prosperous Mediterranean area requires the constituent parties on both sides of the sea to demonstrate a strong political will and a keen sense of voluntary involvement going beyond considerations of an economic nature, and to set out actions and initiatives for the integration process in a project for the future which will make the Mediterranean area a place of peace, stability and prosperity.

In order to do this, the Mediterranean committee,

  • Expresses its desire that European integration in the framework of an enlarged, structured, and dynamic EU must go hand in hand with its overture of solidarity across the whole of the Mediterranean. It stresses the need to promote sub-regional groups between southern Mediterranean countries. The relaunch of the Maghreb project (UMA) is an absolute necessity in this matter if the North African countries are to confront together the difficulties resulting from the Mediterranean integration process and face up to the impact of the globalisation arising from the GATT/OMC agreements.

  • Invites the EU and the countries to the south and east of the Mediterranean to define together an advanced statute for the Euro-Mediterranean area. This must not be constructed solely on market considerations, but must have its foundations in multiple networks of financial, technological and cultural solidarity.

  • In this perspective, joint pursuit of an appropriate and definitive solution to the question of foreign debt, resolution of disagreements on agricultural exports, implementation of consistent programmes aimed at levelling the gaps between Mediterranean economies in readiness for 2010 and the pursuit of dialogue within an appropriate, balanced and constructive framework on the wrongs to be found in the Mediterranean area, such as drugs, fundamentalist extremism or clandestine immigration, in order to determine their root causes and find a remedy to their disastrous propagation; these matters constitute thereof joint concerns and urgent tasks to which the Euro-Mediterranean partners are committed on the road towards a radical modification of North-South relations.

  • The Mediterranean Committee invites member countries of Euro-Mediterranean areas to establish political mechanisms for the prevention of conflict. It invites them to resolve existing conflicts by a dialogue based on the respect of human rights and the rights of nations. The Mediterranean Committee proposes that specific mechanisms be developed which allow economic and financial co-operation to become a favoured means of support for the processes of democratisation and the peaceful resolution of conflict.

  • Deems it necessary to provide a democratic foundation for the Euro-Mediterranean partnership through the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Forum, whose role would be to institute democratic supervision of the Barcelona process.

  • Welcomes the forthcoming Malta Ministerial Conference (April 1997) which will surely constitute a crucial stage in the integration dynamic set in motion by the Barcelona Declaration.

  • The Mediterranean committee calls on the Euro-Mediterranean partners to use this historic occasion to energise, develop and rationalise the Euro-Mediterranean partnership by showing more voluntary good will and political determination.


    (Original: French)

    The defence and promotion of women's rights as human rights constitute an identifying feature of left-wing politics.

    Some countries in the Mediterranean region are seriously affected by violence and war: the struggle for peace is a priority in present times. The women of this region, by fully exercising their rights and aided by their experience, must be able to act as agents for development and peace.

    The SI Mediterranean Committee, convinced of the importance of women's role in the establishment of peace, expresses its intention to promote the participation of women in all areas of social, economic and political life.

    In view of the current electoral processes, socialist and social-democratic parties around the Mediterranean must encourage and support the candidature of women and guarantee their presence in all political decision-making bodies.


    President of the Committee
    Raimon Obiols
    (Spain, PSOE)

    Socialist International
    Luis Ayala
    (Secretary General)

    Socialist Forces Front, FFS

    Hocine Aït-Ahmed
    Seddik Debaïli
    Ahmed Djeddaï
    Abdesselam Ali Rachedi
    Ahmed Ait Cherif
    Mustapha Bouhadef

    Socialist Party, PS

    Etienne Godin
    Ali Serghini

    Socialist Party, PS

    Alain Chenal

    Social Democratic Party of Germany, SPD

    Christoph Zöpel
    Wolfgang Weege

    Panhellenic Socialist Movement, PASOK

    Paraskevas Avgerinos
    Thanasis Ganotis
    Elias Natsios

    Democratic Party of the Left, PDS

    Gianfranco Brusasco
    Italian Socialists, SI
    Gianni Juliano

    Malta Labour Party

    Michael Falzon

    Socialist Union of Popular Forces, USFP

    Mohamed El Yazghi
    Fathallah Oualalou
    Abdelwahed Radi
    Lahbib Cherkaoui
    Mohamed Lakhssassi
    Mohamed Karam
    Mohamed Ait Kaddour
    Abdeslam Eddabbagh
    Rachid Benabdellah
    Nasser Hajji
    Abdelkrim Benatiq
    Omar Serghrouchni
    Hamid Ben Elcadi


    Ilan Halevi

    Socialist Party, PS

    Rui Nozes

    Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, PSOE

    María Izquierdo
    Ricard Torrell
    María Irigoyen
    Concha Barranco
    José Manuel Perez Tornero
    José Luis Ibañez

    Democratic Constitutional Assembly, RCD

    Saïd Naceur Ramadhane

    Republican People's Party, CHP

    Birgen Keles

    Office of SI President
    Michel Thauvin

    Group of the Party of European Socialists of the European Parliament
    Nadia Van Hamme
    Teresa Moleres

    International Union of Socialist Youth, IUSY
    Abdelkrim Benoutiq
    Omar Seghrouchni

    Party of European Socialists, PES
    Ton Beumer

    Socialist International Women, SIW
    Nouzha Chekrouni
    Dolors Renau

    SI Secretariat
    Latifa Perry

    The Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), Great Britain

    George Joffé


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