A Single Shore

Calling for ‘a single shore’, the SI Mediterranean Committee meets in Barcelona, 5-6 October 2009

Democratic socialist parties of the Mediterranean met as so many times before, to debate within our International.

Always from a stance of serenity, commitment to peace, freedom and with respect for Human Rights and equality, socialism promotes responsible political action such as good governance practices, especially in the Mediterranean.

We have met in Barcelona, a city which has had a socialist government for over thirty years. Located here are the headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean, an organisation that brings to fruition the spirit and form of political, economic and social cooperation associated with this city. All the socialist Mayors of Barcelona and their staff have been committed to a Mediterranean that is open, unified and cooperative, and they have prepared their city to be an example of the model we socialists desire for the entire Mediterranean region. Barcelona demonstrates Mediterranean modernity in its best light.

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia. Socialists govern the Catalan institutions with the collaboration of other political forces, proving that it is possible to convene, agree and share the leadership of a society, respond collectively to citizens, tackling the ups and downs of government with wisdom and a high-minded vision.

The Mediterranean socialists acknowledge the contribution of the PSOE and its leaders in designing and proposing an Alliance among our Civilisations, a highly useful tool to achieve the necessary atmosphere for discussion, respect and recognition among countries with different cultures and beliefs, in the best essence of multilateralism.

We Mediterranean socialists are resolved to share our efforts and commitment, before the first quarter of the century is over, to definitely solve some flagrant problems witnessed in our region, first and foremost the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We Mediterranean socialists want road maps that are shorter, not endless, not eternal. Above all we want the road maps to be covered in full so we can reach, at last, the end goal. It was expressed clearly in the United Nations General Assembly: the only solution is the creation of a Palestinian state, on the basis of International Resolutions, that can coexist with the other states in equality. We must thus close one of the longest and most unfortunate chapters of the region’s history. Suffering cannot be extended without end. Definitive solutions must be found. We cannot continue to grow, generation after generation, with the feeling that there are conflicts without a way out: the practice of democratic socialism proves that to the contrary, there is a solution.

Thus, with regard to the Western Sahara, the Mediterranean Committee welcomes the results of the first meetings held by the United Nation’s Special Envoy, Christopher Ross, with the parties concerned, hoping that advances will be made in line with the expectations expressed by the Socialist International in previous resolutions.

In relation to Cyprus, we welcome and support the dialogue underway between the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities, under the auspices of the United Nations in the search for a resolution to that long-standing conflict.

On the other hand, in Albania, democracy needs to be reasserted and the demands of the Socialist Party (SPA) in relation to all the violations and irregularities of the June 28th elections need to be recognised. We reaffirm our solidarity with and support for our member party in that country.

We Mediterranean socialists in our respective countries, are resolved to democratically combat the acts of extravagance and political corruption that display a lack of respect for public finances, freedom of expression and for basic common sense. We are certain that the best path towards progress and development lies in democratic responsibility, and we will always be committed to transparency and honesty. Citizens deserve respect and consideration from their rulers. Nothing is less democratic than rulers having no sense of the ridiculous, who consider themselves above the people, above democracy and its institutions, and even above the most basic rules of dignity.

We Mediterranean socialists share a vision: for this 21st century to witness the birth and consolidation around the Mediterranean of a common space for democracy, sustainable development, opportunity and gender equality, free movement of goods and services, free movement of persons, solidarity, justice, freedom, equality. A common project pursuing better partnerships, good neighbourhood and a higher social integration. Unity dedicated to the service of our peoples’ welfare. In Barcelona we can already see the first implementation of this vision’s blueprint. We want the unity of Mediterranean socialists to contribute to the positive cooperation of our Governments and our Institutions: we wish our Unity to be operational, not just formal.

This unity process is an excellent opportunity to overcome the global financial crisis together, which did not originate in our region but has an impact on our economies. Those responsible for the crisis cannot come out unscathed; we cannot allow the recklessness that damaged so many to be repeated. We socialists will pursue political cooperation that extends good practices. And we will firmly defend our stance in favour of social policies, the equality between men and women, the rights of the child, and the fair distribution of wealth: the neoconservative message claiming public policies are responsible for the crisis is untrue.

We are resolved to do away with the view that divides our sea and our coexistence into two shores; there is a north and a south but the socialists’ Mediterranean has a single shore, one of justice, equality, freedom, plurality, democracy, and respect. The only shore of peace.

From Greece comes a new signal showing that our project is still valid, that it updates its proposals and continues to receive people’s support.

Our congratulations to the President of the Socialist International, George Papandreou, president of the PASOK (Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement) and future Prime Minister of Greece for the victory in the elections.

We are convinced that the Spanish Presidency of the European Union, in the first semester of 2010, will give the definitive boost to the process of the Union for the Mediterranean. The meetings foreseen under the Spanish presidency, especially the Summit on the Mediterranean Union, must be used by our Governments so that the spirit of Barcelona, already institutionalised, can begin to generate specific actions.

Finally, this is an excellent opportunity for this Socialist International Mediterranean Committee to express its thanks to all the multilateral efforts made in favour of concord, of the development and progress from our region and for our region: the missions and programmes of the United Nations and its various agencies, the European Union and its partnership agreements; the Council of Europe, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Arab League, the Islamic Conference, the Maghreb Union, the non-governmental organisations for cooperation and their coordinating platforms. We acknowledge, in sum, the efforts made by our societies, their institutions and organisations, allowing us to face the future with perspective and keeping up our hope and commitment to continue developing progressive policies in the Mediterranean.