Warsaw Declaration

Meeting of the Socialist International Committee for Central and Eastern Europe, Warsaw, Poland, 17-18 September 1999


Original: French

The Socialist International Committee on Central and Eastern Europe, SICEE, meeting in Warsaw on 17-18 September 1999,

1. Ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall,

Underlines the extraordinary importance of that historic moment when the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe freed themselves from the oppressive Communist regimes;

Reaffirms that in the minds of these peoples, the advance to freedom and democracy is now irreversible;

Notes that, while one cannot ignore the social costs of the transition, remarkable progress has been made in the economic field;

Reaffirms the commitment of the Socialist International and its parties to support in each country of the region the realisation of democratic politics, of the social market economy and of human rights for all individuals, communities and peoples.

2. As regards the relations between the European Union and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic countries,

Underlines the progress made in these countries in building solid democratic institutions, a modern market economy and developed societies;

Reaffirms its belief that the enlargement of the European Union has a strategic role in ensuring the security, stability and prosperity of the whole of Europe;

Expresses its satisfaction at the progress of the EU's negotiations with Slovenia, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Cyprus, and hopes that the Helsinki European Council will decide to open negotiations also with Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia;

Expresses its hope for a strengthening of the relations between the EU and the other countries of Central and Eastern Europe which have expressed their will to join the EU.

3. With regard to events in Russia,

Notes that the process of political and economic transition is still hampered by serious difficulties;

Expresses its concern at the political instability, institutional uncertainty and widespread corruption which threaten to exacerbate the economic crisis and weaken its citizens' consensus for democracy;

Condemns all terrorist actions and affirms its solidarity with the Russian people and the democratic institutions;

Reaffirms its belief that securing truly democratic institutions in Russia is today an essential priority and hopes that the forthcoming elections will be the occasion for the strengthening of real democratic political forces;

Therefore, calls on the EU to implement its Action Plan to ensure that in Russia, the legislative, the judiciary, the public administration and the relations between the citizens and the State reach standards currently in force in democratic countries.

4. In the aftermath of the Kosovo crisis, vis-à-vis the situation in the Balkans,

Notes with concern that for nine years the Balkans have been marked by bloody conflicts and crises that have imposed terrible sufferings on entire peoples;

Reaffirms its belief that stability and security are possible only if every man and woman, every ethnic and religious community and every people are recognised as having the same rights, acknowledging the importance of multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-cultural societies;

Reaffirms its belief that the prospect of the integration of the Balkans into the European Union is essential in ensuring the stability of the region and the future of its peoples and hopes that the EU will implement structured relationships with the Balkan countries;

Emphasises the urgency of continuing the struggle against every kind of violence, intolerance, oppression and nationalism and supports in this respect the work of the The Hague Tribunal to ensure the trial of war criminals;

Underlines that the implementation of the Dayton Accords on Bosnia constitutes an important contribution to stability in the region;

Expresses its appreciation and support to the NGOs, to other organisations and to leading figures committed to providing humanitarian assistance and underlines the importance of encouraging the return of all refugees and displaced persons and the provision of the necessary humanitarian assistance;

Demands that the accords be respected in their entirety, and more particularly that the Kosovo Albanian leadership abide by its undertakings to disarm the KLA and to guarantee the rights of the Serbs and of the Romany population and other peoples who live in Kosovo;

Takes note of the stabilising role played by the presence of the United Nations, the OSCE and the KFOR for the safety of all communities living in Kosovo;

Expresses its support for the Stability Pact, and asks the international community to offer its concrete support for actions aimed at achieving political stability ­ including the establishment of an effective civil administration - and economic reconstruction in Kosovo and for the Balkan stability plan;

Considers ensuring the implementation of all institutional, political and security measures necessary in order to enable the organisation of free, fair and democratic elections in Kosovo;

Considers that the isolation of the Milosevic regime should not prevent the provision to the FRY (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) of the assistance necessary for the daily life of its citizens;

Underlines the great need to find means to open the Danube waterways and river traffic as soon as possible;

Emphasises the urgent need to bring about a real democracy in Serbia, by supporting the democratic forces of the political and civic opposition and assisting them in overcoming their divisions and creating political and economic links with local communities;

Underlines the need to create a block of parties which would, while working with other democratic forces on democratisation in Serbia, promote social democratic, non-nationalistic values and would become a partner of the Socialist International in the future;

Emphasises the need to support the development of a free and independent media, trade unions, NGOs, and other institutions, as well as educational programmes necessary to strengthen civil society in all parts of FRY and in particular in Serbia;

Calls on member parties to provide practical political assistance to all democratic forces, in both Kosovo and FRY, to organise economic and political links between local communities and to assist in the construction of an effective civil society and of a free media able to contribute to the building of a true democracy;

Considers that sending a fact-finding mission of SICEE to FRY, sponsoring a working meeting with political leaders of democratic parties of FRY, as well as organising training courses for young politicians would help to strengthen relations with social democratic and other democratic forces in FRY and would promote their struggle for democracy.

5. The SI Committee for Central and Eastern Europe, SICEE,

Notes with satisfaction that over these 10 years political parties of socialist and social-democratic orientation have developed in the majority of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, many of which have taken on the responsibilities of government;

Underlines the importance of the economic, political, social and individual rights of women in the countries concerned and attaches special importance to the problems of the right of women to education as a necessary condition for the strengthening of democracy in the region;

Reaffirms its commitment to the principles and values of social democracy, and to encouraging everywhere the growth of parties that share in them, especially where ­ as in Russia ­ they are needed to strengthen democracy, freedom and justice.