Meeting of the Socialist International Committee for Central and Eastern Europe, Rome, Italy

27-28 June 1997

Rome was the venue for a meeting of the SI Committee for Central and Eastern Europe, SICEE, on 27 and 28 June 1997. Chaired by Piero Fassino (Italy, PDS) and Lászlo Kovács (Hungary, MSzP), Co-Chairs of the Committee, the meeting focused on perspectives for the process of integration of the region's countries in multilateral institutions. Delegates also reported on their national situations and the Committee discussed its future work and activities. The participants represented nearly 40 parties and organisations. After extensive discussions, the SI Committee adopted a Declaration which welcomed the major, and often very positive, transition undergone by most of the countries in the region, but also emphasised the acute social inequalities existing in some countries and the consequent need for policies balancing modernity and solidarity - the rules and the market and the redistribution of wealth. Social democratic parties, many of which are now in government, therefore had a crucial role to play, the Committee stressed. The Declaration underlined the importance of continuing European integration and of security and stability, which could best be achieved through economic, social, environment and political means, as well as through the phased enlargement of NATO and the Partnership for Peace, OSCE, and other organisations of regional cooperation. Fundamental social and democratic rights must not take second place to economic modernisation, it said. It welcomed recent political developments in Romania and Bulgaria and hoped for further positive evolution in Serbia and Montenegro, and in Turkey. Great importance was given to the safeguarding and consolidation of the Dayton Accords on peace in Bosnia, and the Committee stressed the decisive role which the international community could play in Albania and underlined that Russia and its future situation are fundamental for the prospects of the whole of Europe.