Valencia meeting addresses key issues for the Mediterranean Region

24-25 October 2005

Representatives from Socialist International member parties from the Mediterranean and beyond met in Valencia, Spain, on 24-25 October 2005 for a meeting of the SI Mediterranean Committee to discuss key issues and current priorities for the region, hosted by the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, PSOE. At the opening, the meeting was addressed by Joan Ignasi Pla, Secretary General of the Socialist Party in Valencia; Luis Ayala, Secretary General of the Socialist International; Leire Pajín, State Secretary for International Cooperation; Bernardino León, State Secretary for International Affairs; and Trinidad Jimenez (PSOE, Spain), Chair of the SI Mediterranean Committee.

The Euro-Mediterranean partnership ten years on from the Barcelona Conference was high on the agenda of the discussions and Committee members emphasised the need to give new momentum to this process, and reaffirmed their commitment to advancing peace, security, trade, cooperation and cultural agreements in the region.

Making the point that democracy was imperative to a future for the Mediterranean in which conflicts could be overcome peacefully, the meeting highlighted that democratic development would help to rein in fundamentalism, ultra-nationalism and terror, and outlined a socialist perspective for the region based on freedom, gender equality and respect for human rights, fostering good government and modernising national political institutions, involving more citizen participation. The Committee issued a declaration in line with its discussions.

The Committee affirmed its support, especially in relation to the Mediterranean, for the new initiative - the Alliance of Civilisations - led by the Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, aimed at increasing mutual understanding, between Muslim and Western societies.