Meeting of the Socialist International Committee for Central and Eastern Europe, Zagreb, Croatia

6-7 October 2000

The Socialist International Committee for Central and Eastern Europe, SICEE, met in Zagreb on 6-7 October, hosted by SI-member the Croatian Social Democratic Party, SDP, which heads the country's government. As developments unfolded in Serbia which led to the assumption of the presidency by Vojislav Kostunica in succession to Slobodan Milosevic, the Committee issued a declaration congratulating and extending its solidarity with the men and women who "through elections and on the streets had freed themselves of the Milosevic regime". Reports were presented on the developments as they happened by delegates from Serbian social democratic organisations participating at the meeting.

The Declaration went on to emphasise that a new democratic political framework in Belgrade should be supported by the international community, stressing that the development of democracy in Serbia depended also on economic support and appealing to the international community to make commitments in this regard. It underlined that the new democratic phase which started in Croatia a year ago had encouraged democratic change in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

SICEE hoped that the next local elections in Kosovo would take place in free, fair and democratic conditions and that they would be another occasion "for strengthening peace and stability in the region", affirming the importance of including the Yugoslav Federation in the Stability Pact and of its integration in the international community. The Committee underlined the fact that a new democratic leadership in Belgrade would encourage stability and cooperation in the whole region, the implementation of the Dayton Agreements in Bosnia and Herzegovina and a new spirit of dialogue with the Albanians in Kosovo and their representatives, and with all their neighbouring countries.

It supported the activity of the Hague Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in its work to ensure all those indicted of war crimes perpetrated in the region were brought to justice, including Milosevic.

While emphasising that the enlargement of the European Union represented a great challenge and opportunity for the peoples and governments of Europe it underlined that the prospect of joining the European Union had enabled candidate countries to obtain remarkable success in achieving solid democratic institutions, modern market economies and developed societies, expressing the hope that the next European Council in Nice would agree the institutional reforms necessary for enlargement. It went on to welcome the approval by the European Council in Biarritz of the European Charter of Rights.

The meeting was chaired by Piero Fassino (DS, Italy) and László Kovács (MSzP, Hungary), Co-Chairs of the Committee, and opened by Mirjana Feric Vac, Vice-President of the SDP, and SI Secretary General, Luis Ayala.

It was agreed to hold the next meeting in late March 2001 in Belgrade.