The Socialist International in the World

The Socialist International has member parties and organisations as well as SI Committees working and cooperating on every continent and in practically every corner of the world. On a daily basis they are observing and analysing conditions, situations and trends within the framework of our social democratic values and goals. With the approach of the XXII Congress they have been carrying out activities and preparing assessments that enhance the efforts of the International in the world, and are reflected in the social democratic perspectives put forth in this Congress Resolution.

 

LATIN AMERICA

The history of Latin America has been one extended struggle for democracy, with short periods of democratic rule followed by long and bloody dictatorships in most countries of the region. During the second half of the 20th century, military governments emerged on the pretext of the Communist threat. People's aspirations for social justice represented a danger for powerful oligarchies that could always rely on the military. The end of the Cold War not only led to a weakening of revolutionary movements on the extreme left, but also helped to create the conditions for a prolonged period of democratic government throughout the region.

Nevertheless, in some countries social unrest and instability, along with the understandable emergence of ethnic movements, demonstrates that the institutional formalities of democracy are necessary but not sufficient to give legitimacy in a complex social system in which economy, culture, politics and ecology are all closely interconnected. The peaceful and institutional outcome to the recent crisis in Argentina, as well as the triumph of a force politically committed to social justice in Brazil, represent hopeful affirmations that we are moving towards brighter horizons. This will also strengthen the search for security on the continent, by tackling the social causes and combating asymmetries, but not working from a unilateral agenda.

Latin America is not the poorest region of the world, but it is the region with the greatest inequalities. The grotesque concentration of wealth in just a few hands, together with widespread hunger, social exclusion and general impoverishment, produces political storms that can bring about the paradox of having at one and the same time the advancement of a formal kind of democracy, but with an unprecedented questioning of the role of political parties and political and trade union leaders, a trend which is furthered by concerted advertising campaigns. Oligarchies and other economic elites have found that their control of the media and their influence over international finance give them powerful tools not only for maintaining the status quo but also for controlling and dominating the political arena from outside the appropriate democratic channels.

Nevertheless, due to the existing sharp social differences, it has not been possible to put an end to anarchy, violence and street unrest, and as a result several governments have been brought down.

The battle against inequality acquires the status of a prerequisite, a necessary precondition to legitimise democracy for millions of hungry people whose urgent needs take precedence over political values. Equality has to be a journey, not just a destination, and the search for it must be the first priority for Latin Americans. Only those countries that began their journey with a minimum degree of homogeneity have been able to achieve successful economic and social development.

Given this situation of violence and political instability, it is erroneously insisted that certain aspects of the Washington Consensus that are lagging behind, be imposed through the Free Trade Area of the Americas, FTAA, and other trade initiatives, with a view to obtaining shared benefits that would lead to more even and equal economic development among all parts of society. The obvious breakdown of neoliberalism in the region today reinforces the commitment of Latin American social democrats to develop their political thinking in line with the values that have always inspired our actions. Social inequality, coupled with a very complex ethnic mosaic, demands a genuinely Latin American approach.

Latin America can only overcome its weaknesses by moving beyond the narrow reductionism that has been present in economic strategy over recent years. The road towards the achievement of full democracy, peace, and enjoyment of liberty must include room for equality, education and ecology.

For Latin America it is also essential that the system of agricultural subsidies established by the governments of the United States, the European Union and Japan be dismantled, in order to encourage fair and balanced trade which will allow the region to develop. There should also be a profound and radical reform of the Bretton Woods finance system so as to regulate flows of international capital and to avoid the speculative moves of the past. We should also consider the restructuring of Latin America's debt as a priority for the stability of the economies in the region.

 

Venezuela

The International supports the agreement to implement Article 72 of the National Constitution of Venezuela, which will open the way for holding a Revocation Referendum that can bring a peaceful and participatory settlement to the crisis in this country which is our friend, and we hereby declare ourselves willing to monitor and to send objective and impartial observers.

 

Bolivia

The Socialist International is appalled at the repression of the indigenous and labour demonstrations and the death of more than 80 people in September and October. The International is pleased about the constitutional outcome to the political and institutional crisis that led to the resignation of President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada and his replacement by the Vice President, Carlos Mesa, after four weeks of intense popular and indigenous mobilisation. This will allow for a new approach, with full respect for human rights, to the difficult problems that Bolivian society is facing.

 

Colombia

The International continues to be concerned by the political, economic and social conflicts that are affecting the people of Colombia and generating an atmosphere of serious instability in that society. It reiterates its support for establishing a dialogue that can bring the dispute to an end and urges the parties to sit down and talk to each other so that an agreement might be reached that will restore the stability that has been lost and help the country to return to a level of normalcy. At the same time, the Socialist International reaffirms its willingness to act as a facilitator in resolving the conflict if the parties involved ask it to do so. The Socialist International supports the Humanitarian Agreement as a way to liberate kidnapped persons by the armed and illegal organisations.

 

Haiti

The Socialist International expresses its profound concern regarding the critical situation in Haiti and the constant violation of human rights and its support for all the democratic organisations of civil society and political parties that are peacefully trying to end the situation that is hurting the people of the country. The International also calls on all the political forces, the government and the opposition, to work for the building of democracy and achieving peace in the context of the 200th anniversary of the independence of Haiti. The International also encourages its member parties and their allies to reinforce their strategy for unity to better serve the cause of democracy and social and economic progress.

 

Cuba

The International rejects the recent attempts at destabilisation of Cuba by the United States Administration, which endanger peace in the region, a peace that we are fully committed to preserving and strongly urges the United States to end the economic embargo against Cuba. The Socialist International asks for the liberation of the political opponents within the framework of the national legistation in force and the international treaties on human rights, and dialogue among the sectors of the country to continue with the democratic process on the island without intervention from any foreign country.

 

Puerto Rico

The Socialist International reiterates its support for the free determination and independence of Puerto Rico and its backing for the forces of the Puerto Rican Independence Party, now accompanied by SICLAC's Latin American Solidarity Committee with Free Determination for Puerto Rico. The aim is to promote the de-colonisation of Puerto Rico and the convening of a constitutional assembly to discuss the question of its status, through which the people might overcome their prevailing condition of political subordination. At the same time, we recognise and congratulate the Puerto Rican Independence Party and its leader, Rubén Berríos Martínez, for their fundamental role in the historical achievement of bringing military exercises on the Island of Vieques to an end and the announcement that the Roosevelt Naval Base in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, is to be closed.

 

Peru

The Socialist International welcomes the report of the " Truth Commission of Peru" which denounces the terrorist violence and the violation of human rights, and recognises the efforts displayed by the leadership of the Peruvian Aprista Party to oppose it with social policies and with the determination and solidarity of its militants in order to preserve the democratic system in the present circumstances.

 

El Salvador

The Socialist International expresses its support for the contribution of the FMLN to democratisation in the country and calls for the full respect the democratic process and the will of the people in the presidential elections scheduled for 21 March 2004.

 

THE MIDDLE EAST

The Congress of the Socialist International, meeting in São Paulo 27-29 October 2003, to review the general status of the Middle East peace Process;

Confirms its determination to work for a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians established on the principles of UN Resolutions 242 and 338; establishment of a Palestinian State living side by side with Israel under irreversible security guarantees for both sides; borders ensuring that West Bank and the Gaza Strip are part of the Palestinian State, but opening up for the possibility of land swaps; both states to have their capital in Jerusalem, and a just solution to the refugee issue. The setting up of a democratic Palestinian state is the best security guarantee for stability in the region.

Calls upon the international community, the United States and the rest of the Quartet in particular, to reinforce negotiation initiatives based on the Roadmap. A real international monitoring must be strengthened.

Calls upon both parties to fulfil their obligations under the Quartet-backed Roadmap,

Supports the Peace Coalition Geneva draft. We encourage such initiatives which help clarify positions and create opportunities for peace, as envisaged in the third part of the Roadmap.

Calls upon the parties on the left in Israel to unite and establish an alternative to the current Israeli government. It is equally imperative that the Palestinian leadership make a hundred percent efforts to stop terrorism, which would enhance a sense of security and trust and give credibility to the peace forces in Israel.

Asks parties to desist from unilateral practices like collective punishments, deportations and extrajudicial killings. All kinds of settlement activities must be stopped immediately.

Condemns terrorism in the strongest possible terms and also condemns killings on both sides.

Opposes the building of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territories departing from the 1967-border, which is illegal according to international law and demands its cessation and reversal. The projected route of the present Israeli government could prejudice future negotiations and make a two-state solution impossible to implement.

Reiterates the importance of granting economic support to the Palestinian Authority, and of extending assistance to the Palestinian people which would award peace and security.

 

Iraq

Reiterates its position agreed by the Council in Rome against preventive military intervention outside the framework of the UN Security Council.

Supports the Iraqi people and the Iraqi governing council in their efforts to develop a democratic and federal Iraq that is in peace with its citizens, its neighbours and the international community.

Notes the latest UN Security Council resolution on Iraq and expresses the need to transfer power and sovereignty so that an Iraqi administration can be in charge of governing the country as soon as possible and set stage for parliamentary elections.

Underlines the importance of a new constitution for Iraq that secures the rights and protection of all parts of the Iraqi population,

Calls upon all countries possible to assist Iraq in the reconstruction process so that a broad international participation is ensured under the co-ordinated effort of the United Nations. A democratic and developed Iraq could have positive effects for further democratisation and stability in the region and enhance Kurdish rights and the rights of all minorities in the region.

Requests the Presidium, in collaboration with the SI Middle East Committee (SIMEC) to continue the dialogue with democratic forces in Iraq, so that a real assessment of needs and cooperation can take place,

Calls upon the United States and all other international actors to view efforts in Iraq in connection with efforts to solve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, to further enhance stability and democratisation for the Middle East region as a whole.

 

Iran

Encourage all forces in favour of democracy and human rights to continue efforts for change and reform in Iran.

Condemns the serious violations of human rights and democratic freedoms committed by the enemies of democracy and reform in Iran, including the closing of newspapers, the arrests of journalists, intellectuals and students in favour of change, and also the death sentences and executions of Kurdish activists.

Denounces the repression against Kurds in Iran and stress the need to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem in Iran.

Calls for the release of all political prisoners of conscience, for stopping discrimination against women in Iran and for the respect for the equal rights between men and women in every domain.

 

Yemen

The XXII Congress of the Socialist International condemns the assassination of Garallah Omar, Assistant Secretary General of the Yemen Socialist Party, and calls on the government of Yemen to undertake a full, independent investigation of the assassination and to make the results of this investigation public.

 

AFRICA

1. Regarding resolution of conflicts and the contribution of the International, we recognise that conflicts in Africa are of two kinds - those of internal and those of external origin.

  • Internal conflicts are generally the result of poor governance, often as result of an absence of democracy, no rule of law, poor functioning of public administration and inequitable distribution of national wealth. Such conflicts may also involve economic, ethnic and religious factors.
  • External conflicts in Africa stem, above all, from border disputes of a territorial, economic or ethnic nature.

In order to forestall such conflicts, the Socialist International underlines the need to:

  • Propagate the basic values and ideas of the Socialist International, including dialogue, compromise, social justice, human rights, redressing inequalities, recognition of the State’s role of arbitration and regulation in protecting minorities and other social sectors who are weak or threatened, and promotion of a fair and equitable distribution of national wealth in an atmosphere of basic freedom and guaranteed human rights.
  • Establish appropriate mechanisms, institutions and channels for the prevention and solution of conflicts.
  • Work toward a more just and fair allocation by the international community and the United Nations of resources destined for conflict resolution, in order to have greater resources available in dealing with crises in the South and in Africa in particular.
  • Combat the decline of respect for international law and the authority of the United Nations.
  • Make the protection of women and children in war situations a major priority for the International.
  • Involve civil society organisations in the settling of conflicts.
  • Involve when necessary regional and transregional political organisations such as the Socialist International in conflict resolution efforts.
  • Recognise and support the analysis, decisions and interventions undertaken and initiated by the African Union and the regional structures, towards conflict resolution.

2. Concerning the advancement and strengthening democracy in Africa, the International underlines that in order to achieve these aims, it is necessary to:

  • Ensure that modern democratic constitutions are put in place, and that governments fully respect the principles of democracy, the rule of law, and the financing of political parties.
  • Guarantee the most basic human rights: the right to education, the right to health and healthcare, the right to employment for all, the right to information, the right to fuel and water.
  • Defend the principles of equality, fairness and a just distribution of wealth.
  • Contribute to political and civic education for all, by means of foundations and other relevant international institutions, and to help these organisations to identify the most critical areas of concern and to involve people in their own development.
  • Assist in the mobilisation of technical, financial and all other relevant resources.
  • Strengthen the mechanisms and management of elections in order to ensure that they are fair and transparent.
  • Ensure that the media and the judicial system are independent.
  • Promote the economic and social development of countries in the region.

3. Regarding the African perspective on globalisation and governance, the International underlines the following:

  • Africa should take part in all efforts to democratise international institutions.
  • With regard to strengthening the role of the United Nations, reform of the composition and mechanisms of the UN Security Council is essential, including the granting of a seat to Africa as a permanent member of the body.
  • A UN Council for Sustainable Development, independent of the UN Security Council, should be established, with Africa represented, to play a coordinating role in balancing the priorities for trade, employment and the environment.
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) require reform, particularly with regard to the economic and social models upon which their operations are based.
  • Regional and sub-regional organisations should be strengthened, as they provide intermediate levels for enhancing international trade, which can benefit economic development in Africa in the context of a globalised economy
  • Emphasis should be placed on providing greater access in Africa to new information technologies as a means of closing the current gap between Africa and developed countries.

 

Equatorial Guinea

The SI Congress expresses its deepest concern at the situation of stagnation of the democratic process and persistent violations of human rights in this country. It deplores the fact that the enormous revenues from the oil exploitation are not being invested in bettering the living conditions of the population, but instead they are giving rise to greater inequality and social misery. The International urges the authorities of the country to put an end to this situation and to initiate a process of a real transition to a democratic rule that will make possible to hold the next legislative elections with transparency and in the presence of observers from the international community.

 

Côte d'Ivoire

The Socialist International supports the efforts undertaken by the Authorities of Côte d'Ivoire to restore peace, stability and the unity of the country. It underlines the necessity to urgently implement the operation of Disarmament, Demobilisation, Reinsertion (DDR) to facilitate the quick return of the public administration and the resumption of the economic and administrative life in the areas occupied by the rebellion. It therefore invites the various parties who signed the Marcoussis agreement to make every effort to preserve the unity and the integrity of the territory of Côte d'Ivoire.

 

Sudan

The Socialist International values and supports the internal and external steps taken towards working out an acceptable solution to all Sudanese factions with the view of preserving the unity of the country and restoring peace and democracy.

 

ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

The Socialist International reaffirms that the aspirations of the people of Asia and the Pacific for economic well-being and social justice can be realised only through the establishment and strengthening of democracy and the concerted defence of human rights and freedoms.

The International further underlines its determination to achieve peace and security for all the people of this enormous and vital region, while recognising that conflicts can only be resolved through the promotion of dialogue and cooperation, both within nations and between them. At the same time, peace is a fundamental requirement for economic development, and democracy and respect for human rights are critical for ensuring peaceful and lasting resolutions to conflict.

  • With regard to North Korea and South Korea, the International supports all diplomatic efforts to reduce tensions between North Korea, its neighbours and the international community through a return to negotiations to establish guarantees for the mutual security of all the nations in the region. Recalling our bringing together of representatives of the ruling parties of both North Korea and South Korea at the meeting of the SI Asia-Pacific Committee in Tokyo in 2001, the International further expresses its support for a revival of the process of reconciliation between North Korea and South Korea.
  • The International reiterates its call for both India and Pakistan to make every effort to find the common ground necessary to get a peace process for Kashmir on track and, at the same time, to ease the difficult relations overall between the two countries through confidence-building measures such as the recent proposals for a resumption of sporting ties and an increase in transportation links.
  • The Socialist International continues to be concerned by the lack of democracy in Pakistan. Only democratic rule of law, based on full respect for human rights and free and fair elections can guarantee peace and security for the people of Pakistan, and between Pakistan and its neighbours. The International calls for anti-democratic measures to be reversed so that the people of Pakistan can enjoy the full range of political freedoms and civil liberties, and it reaffirms its solidarity with the Pakistan People's Party and all the people of Pakistan who continue to work and struggle for the restoration of democracy.
  • With regard to Nepal, the International is very concerned by yet another broken ceasefire after the Maoist insurgents walked out of peace talks in August, and by the continuing failure of the ruling monarchy, which dismissed the parliament in October of last year, to bring the country’s main political parties, including the SI member Nepali Congress Party, back into the political system and restore democratic rule. The International supports the recent effort of the United Nations to send a senior official to assess the crisis in the country.
  • The International backs the efforts in the Philippines to seek, through negotiations, peaceful resolutions to internal conflicts and the inclusion of all segments of society into the democratic system, and, while addressing security concerns, to deepen democracy and make democratic institutions stronger and more effective.
  • In Fiji, where the International has consistently maintained its support for the full return to democratic rule following the coup in 2000, the International reaffirms its solidarity with the SI member Fiji Labour Party in its continuing efforts to achieve, through the ballot box and before the courts in Fiji, the establishment of a pluralistic, multiethnic government in line with the country's Constitution.
  • With regard to Burma, the International condemns the continued detention of Aung San Suu Kyi by the military regime and reiterates it call for her immediate and unconditional release, as well as the release of the dozens of members of the National League for Democracy who were detained along with Suu Kyi during the attacks against the democratic opposition by the military and police last May. The International further calls for greater efforts by the international community, including ASEAN, in demanding that Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners be freed and that concrete steps be taken toward real political change.
  • In Malaysia, the International remains concerned that anti-terrorist efforts, including the continued abuse of internal security legislation, continues to be utilised against legitimate political opposition and human rights activists, despite the release of some political prisoners. The International calls for the reform or repeal of the legislation so that it conforms with international human rights standards, and reiterates its support for SI member Democratic Action Party as it continues efforts to strengthen the movement for democracy and the rule of law.
  • In Afghanistan, the International is concerned by indications that the post-war government is weakening and that continuing insecurity is delaying reconstruction of the country. The International views as positive the recent agreement by NATO and the UN Security Council to expand the mandate of the multinational peacekeeping force beyond Kabul and calls upon the international community to redouble efforts to help in the process of rebuilding. 
  • The International, long involved in the efforts for peace and democracy that resulted in East Timor becoming an independent nation, recognises that enormous challenges remain, particularly in establishing the institutions of democratic rule and guaranteeing personal security, and reaffirms its support for continued international efforts to assist the people of East Timor in accomplishing these tasks.
  • The International remains very concerned by the failing of states in the Pacific region, including the Solomon Islands, where conflict over land and jobs between rival ethnic militias threw the country into chaos, and Papua New Guinea, where the breakdown of institutions brought the country to the brink of anarchy. The International recognises that an Australia-led regional intervention force has restored a semblance of order in the Solomon Islands, and that a contingent of Australian police is now operating in Papua New Guinea, but underlines that any lasting solution will require international assistance with economic development and the building of social infrastructure.
  • In Sri Lanka, the International is pleased that the peace process, initiated under the sponsorship of Norway in 2003, has continued, and calls on both the government and the Tamil separatists to continue working to overcome obstacles, and on the international community to assist in whatever ways possible to keep the process on track.
  • In the pursuit of peace in Asia and the Pacific generally, the International, which has within its family people of all religions, will continue to seek greater dialogue and common ground between our social democratic parties and moderate Muslim groups in the region, including in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country that is continuing through a difficult period of transition.
  • The International recognises that China today is a major centre in an increasingly multi-polar world, with its influence now extending globally on economic and security issues. At home, it has embraced economic reform on an unprecedented scale, lifted millions out of poverty and, as a major developing nation reaching for first-world status, has stimulated the global economy positively by compelling its trading partners to focus on industry, structural adjustment and equitable social policy. Economic growth must be combined with political and cultural reforms to meet peoples aspirations for freedom, democracy and environmental protection. We expect important steps forward towards the respect of human, political and civil rights and of democracy, including religious and ethnical minorities rights. The International welcomes the initiative of the Communist Party of China to engage SI member parties in dialogue, and the SI should examine ways of developing a further dialogue.

 

THE MEDITERRANEAN

The Socialist International:

  • Notes that the Mediterranean has become the centre of world crises, where two of the most serious international conflicts are taking place. At the same time, the Mediterranean is facing great challenges in the areas of security, conflict resolution, sustainable development and the relationship between democracy and development.
  • Recognises that the Mediterranean is a sphere of great potential in which there co-exists a plurality of cultures, languages, religions and traditions open to building greater cooperation and integration in a world ever more globalised.
  • Recognises the importance of the integration process for resolving economic, social and political conflicts influenced by globalisation, which offers both advantages and disadvantages.
  • Notes that the Euro-Mediterranean process, which will soon enter its tenth year, is the ideal and only framework to advance economic, socio-cultural and, in particular, political cooperation between the countries of the region. A greater effort and will is necessary to advance decisively in the implementation of the Agreements, and to give particular attention to the participation of representatives of civil society and integration of women in the process of establishing peace, democracy and promoting development.
  • Considers that this method of cooperation is not only possible and necessary but must be based on dialogue and mutual confidence. Therefore it is necessary to promote regional integration of the countries of the Southern zone of the Mediterranean which participate in the Barcelona Process, based on their own model of integration.
  • Understands that the balance and stability of the region depend on sustained efforts for peace and security. Both the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean can and should contribute to such a balance and in the interests of both should act in coordination. There is more than enough evidence to indicate an uncertain future if the structurally unjust situations which affect the southern shore persist.
  • Believes that deeper social and human integration should be promoted with the aim of reinforcing common values, respect and understanding, and thus ensure a better balance within the economic and socio-cultural partnership.
  • Considers that the ongoing crisis since the beginning of the war in Iraq has once again raised the issue of reforming multilateral institutions to make them more democratic and efficient, adapting them to the new realities and challenges of the 21st Century. The new threats to freedom, democracy and human rights – such as terrorism, the mafias that control illegal immigration, organised crime, hunger an AIDS – should be addressed based on a democratic concept of global security.
  • The Socialist International expresses its concern over the stalling of the conflict in Algeria, herewith calling for an urgent political solution and reaffirming its solidarity with the Algerian people. In order to achieve peace, a democratic transition is required, which will guarantee Algerian women and men their public freedoms as well as their civil and political rights. These are a necessary condition in order for them to regain their right to self determination and the implementation of the same.
  • Welcomes the positive developments in the political process in Cyprus, and reaffirms that a settlement of the Cyprus question must be based on international treaties founding the state of Cyprus, bilateral agreements reached so far between the two sides, and the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions and in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law and the acquis communautaire.
  • The SI expresses its support to the UN process and the resolution 1495 in order to achieve the self-determination of the people in Western Sahara and calls all the parties to cooperate with the UN and, in particular, with the efforts of the Secretary General of the United Nations, as reflected in the latest report of his plan.

 

CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE

In the fifteen years that have passed since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Central and Eastern Europe have experienced an extraordinary transformation which has opened up for these countries a new age of freedom, democracy and economic growth.

With membership in the European Union – from 2004 for the Baltic and Central European countries and from 2007 for Bulgaria and Romania – an irreversible political and economic integration is being established.

The prospect of EU membership for the Balkans allows the region to leave behind the years of wars, suffering and ethnic massacres.

Even nations such as Ukraine, Moldova and the three states of the Caucasus: Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, can look to the future with more confidence, strengthening their links of cooperation with the European Union. Belarus, which still suffers under a dictatorship, requires close attention and the support of the SI to aid in its development and progression toward a democracy.

Russia has experienced enormous transformations which are changing the face and the identity of a society that has suffered, for almost a century, from political oppression, economic impoverishment and existential gloom. Today Russia is again showing itself as a power on the international stage.

All this does not come without pain.

In the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall, many countries moved naively to an unregulated market which often meant social costs and difficulties in daily life for many of their citizens.

The birth of new States and the achievement of full sovereignty thus frequently gave rise to wars, ethnic conflicts, violence and the violation of civil and human rights.

Despite all this, the market economy and political democracy have been strengthened throughout Central and Eastern Europe, offering millions of women and men the possibility of social and civic growth.

Today – as a new era in the life of the European continent is about to begin through European integration – there is even greater need for decisive political action in favour of a social market economy which can guarantee the modernisation of society, social protection, the rights of the citizen, development which is sustainable from both environmental and human perspectives, recognition of the rights of all national, ethnic, cultural and religious communities, independent judicial systems, freedom and plurality of information, and equal access for women to the widest range of life and work opportunities.

There are still unresolved conflicts in some countries and regions such as Chechenia and the Caucasus. We must ensure that negotiation, political solutions and respect for rights and democracy prevail in those countries where these fundamental rights have not yet been achieved.

All of this calls for the values of democratic socialism and for political policies to reaffirm democracy, equality, social justice and solidarity.

The success in many countries of Central and Eastern Europe of socialist and social democratic parties, which are or have been in government, clearly shows that in this region our values are capable of satisfying the demands, needs and aspirations of the citizens.

 

EUROPEAN UNION

The struggle of the European Socialists, organised in the Party of European Socialists (PES) and its parliamentary group in the European Parliament, following the consolidation of peace and co-operation between States and citizens, is concentrated on three priorities, the principal issues for the future the European Union (EU): the Constitution, enlargement and the European social and economic model.

 

The Constitution

The proposed Constitution for Europe represents an important step in the integration of Europe and the development of democracy, and permits the hope that the EU may provide itself with the legal and political instruments that will ensure its strength in the 21st century. Its drafting has been the fruit of dialogue and joint reflection between the 105 members of the Convention (national and European parliamentarians, governments and European Commission), who for more than sixteen months laboured, through public debate, on the arduous task of transforming the complex treaties that govern the EU into a simplified Constitution suited to the present and future requirements of the new Europe.

This new Magna Carta is a qualitative advance in the construction of Europe, providing a legal and political framework adequate to the ambitious goals of an enlarged Europe which will restore to the continent the unity it lost with the Second World War, and laying the foundations of a common destiny in a political, economic and monetary Union whose participation in the international community will be based on principles of peace and solidarity. In the Convention, we have sought to proclaim our shared values and goals, and ensure the integration of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, including its social chapter. Among the values of the Union are equality, solidarity and non-discrimination. Among the goals of the Union are sustainable development based on balanced economic growth and the social market economy, full employment, social progress, environmental improvement, the fight against social exclusion, the promotion of justice and social welfare, equality between men and women, economic, social, territorial and environmental cohesion, and the co-ordination of the economic, social and employment policies of the Member States, but we need to go further concerning taxation and social harmonisation.

The task now is to ensure that the text is the result of the Intergovernmental Conference and may be ratified by the States and the citizens of Europe, as an expression of commitment to a common future for the 25 States and 480 million citizens, a future open to other European States which share their values and goals.

 

Enlargement

With its enlargement to include ten new countries, Europe will become a geographic unit, from the Atlantic to the Baltic and from the North Sea to the Mediterranean. The challenge faced by Europe in the '80s was the construction of the single market. In the '90s, it was to go beyond the Cold War and to establish the single currency. At the beginning of the new millennium, the challenge is the enlargement of Europe to bring about peace, stability and prosperity for all. The Socialists have always firmly supported the process of enlargement of the EU. Our 1999 Election Manifesto called for the acceleration of the membership process, so as to allow the new States to take part in the European elections of 2004. After long and difficult negotiations, 10 countries - Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia - will become members of the EU on 1st May 2004.

Europe is being reborn as a geographical and political unit that will do away with the absurd East-West polarity, the expression of a divisive geopolitical ideology. Willy Brandt was absolutely right when he said that "now what belongs together may grow together" (jetzt wächst zusammen was zusammen gehört). And it was the "Willy Brandt Programme" that was established to intensify co-operation with our sister parties during the process of transition, so that enlargement should be a true success for Member States, both existing and prospective. Among its activities is a service providing information on the policies and structures of the Union and its future members, regularly updated news, and a weekly bulletin on European questions, and also the organisation of meetings and training sessions for sister parties and assistance in preparation for membership referendums and for the elections to the European Parliament.

 

Social Europe

The Lisbon strategy, drawn up at the first summit on employment, economic reform and social cohesion, which took place under the presidency of the Portuguese government of António Guterres, adopted a new and ambitious goal: to make Europe the most competitive knowledge-based economy in the world, with full employment, higher-quality jobs, and greater social cohesion. This means that economic and social progress must go hand in hand. The new European Social Agenda 2001-2006 provides an overall, coherent approach that will enable the EU to meet the new challenges in the field of social policy that will result from the radical transformation of economy and society. In this area, the key is the promotion of equality, full employment in high-quality work, the quality of social welfare, the quality of employment relations.

An effort is required to ensure that the European Union's economic and social model, while safeguarding progress, stability and well-being in our societies, can also meet the challenges resulting from the effect of new demographic and technological parameters on the job market, with a combination of policies aimed at full employment based on knowledge and on continuing education. A major effort is also needed to ensure that the Union is competitive in terms of quality, education, research and development, and above of all, in terms of the creation of an equitable social model in opposition to an ultra-liberal model based on regressive policies that deny social solidarity and generate even more inequality and social exclusion. The current situation of the EU requires active policies that will enable the Lisbon goals to be achieved, with policies for investment in transport, energy and communications infrastructure to provide a structural articulation to the territory of Europe, as well as mutually supportive macro-economic, employment and social policies and more effective management of our economies, especially now that we have the single currency.

Education and training must be key points in a new social contract. This contract must include the right of all to life-long learning, and new rights for contingent workers that will underpin a positive conception of flexibility, with legislative measures taken by the European Union on the new threats to health and safety at work and effective action against social exclusion and social dumping. Competitiveness cannot be reduced to the mere cutting of costs - and of wages more particularly - but involves social factors, strengthening the individual and collective rights of the workers. Another key point for a social Europe is equitable access to quality public services.

A social Europe goes hand in hand with a solid and healthy economy. To ensure this, Member States must also commit themselves even more strongly to encouraging research and investment in human capital. Public expenditures need to be redirected toward environmentally friendly improvements in production. It is absolutely essential, too, to make substantial investments in the workers. Labour-market reforms should be based on close collaboration between social partners, and must in no way entail a reduction in the individual or collective rights of employees.

The European Socialists are working to ensure that the EU, as well as being a symbol of fellowship and common destiny, establishes itself as the most significant regional political organisation at the world level, capable of providing a democratic response to the challenges of globalisation. In its relations with the rest of the world, as well as defending and proclaiming its values and defending its interests, the EU will contribute to peace, security and the sustainable development of the planet, as well as to solidarity and mutual respect between peoples, to free and equitable trade, to the eradication of poverty and to the protection of human rights, of the rights of the child in particular; and it will insist on the strict observance and further development of international law, in particular in all that concerns the principles of the UN Charter.

 

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