Original: French

The leaders of the Socialist International member parties of the Balkan region, meeting in Tirana on 5 September 2003,

1. Considering that developments of the political situation, at a European level as at a regional level in the Balkans, are opening up historical opportunities for peace, stabilisation, cooperation and development for all the countries of the region:

- express their full support for a deepening of the process of European integration, and consider that the conclusions of the European Convention offer a more advanced framework for the adoption of a Constitution and to reinforce democracy and efficacy in the work of the European Union;

- ask that the Intergovernmental Conference which takes place next October approves the Constitution proposed by the Convention, reinforcing the democratic methods and decision-making capacities of the Union;

- welcome the statements of the European Council in Thessaloniki, concerning the reaffirmation of the goal that Bulgaria and Romania become EU members from 2007;

- underline the importance of the statement of the European Council and the conclusions of the Council on 16 June 2003 which, while adopting the 'Agenda for the Western Balkans', reiterate the determination of fully and effectively supporting the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries, which will be an integral part of the EU, once the established criteria are met and calls on the European Union and the Balkan countries so that these aims are achieved before the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall;

- reaffirm the need to develop the integration of the countries of the region in the politics and programmes of action of the Union, in regard to political, economic, social, cultural matters etc. and ask for a commitment on the part of the EU to the greatest financial means to this end;

- consider it already necessary to establish a clear roadmap towards EU membership for all the countries of the region and for all other candidate countries;

- consider, generally, that the future of the Balkan region and that of Europe in its entirety are strategically linked and that the certain perspective of joining the EU for countries in the region is an historic necessity and the condition for a positive solution to its problems.

2. As member parties of the socialist family, participating in European life and committed to peace and cooperation among the countries and peoples of the Balkans, the leaders:

- welcome the remarkable progress which has been achieved in the area of peace, security and stabilisation of the Balkans;

- consider that these results have been possible thanks to the commitment of the democratic forces of the Balkan countries and also to the solidarity and actions of institutions and political movements of European countries;

- reaffirm that nevertheless it is vital to continue along the path of constructing democratic systems, the rule of law and multiethnic and multicultural societies which can guarantee every citizen their rights and identity;

- consider it fundamental to intensify the struggle against all forms of illegality, violence, corruption and criminal activity and urges that stronger international cooperation be put into place in this area;

- ask that all political, social, economic and cultural means be set up to support the return of refugees and displaced people to their place of origin and asks for stronger regional and international cooperation to this end;

- are committed to guaranteeing the full implementation of the peace accords for Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, to promote the democratic and constitutional transition in Serbia and Montenegro and to encourage political dialogue among all the concerned parties regarding the future of Kosovo;

- affirm the need to promote economic and social development in order to face the problems of the region and its citizens and invite European and international institutions to intensify their economic, financial and technical cooperation;

- underline the need that the development of the transnational infrastructures and of the communication networks inside the region and towards the other parts of Europe be considered in a coordinated way as a priority by the Balkan countries and the European Union and the international financial institutions as one of the main conditions of the social and economic development of the region;

- support all processes of regional cooperation in order to promote the links between states and citizens, as the only way to definitively overcome all conflicts in the region and to guarantee common solutions to existing problems;

- reaffirm the need to reinforce the common cooperation and commitment of parties of the socialist family, as a means of giving more force to the values of peace, solidarity and justice in our societies.

3. The leaders of SI member parties of the Balkan countries agree to hold a similar meeting every year.