Meeting in Rome on 20-21 January, the Council of the Socialist International had fairer globalisation and peace and security at the centre of its debates. Over 350 delegates representing close to 130 member parties and organisations from throughout the world participated in the discussions. (Full list of participants)
At its opening the Council meeting was addressed by António Guterres, President of the Socialist International, Walter Veltroni, Mayor of Rome; and by the leaders of the two host SI member parties in Italy, Piero Fassino, National Secretary of the Democrats of the Left; and Enrico Boselli, Chair of the Italian Democratic Socialists.
The first main theme, For a More Equal Global Society: Governance • Sustainability • Social Justice, included contributions from Christoph Zöpel, Chair, SI Committee on the Economy, Social Cohesion and the Environment (SPD, Germany); Massimo D’Alema, President, DS, Italy; José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Secretary General, PSOE, Spain; Raúl Alfonsín, Former President of Argentina, UCR; Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, General Secretary, PS, Portugal; and Robin Cook, President of the Party of European Socialists.
The Council, taking place in advance of both the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre and the World Economic Forum in Davos, issued a message to those Forums following a panel discussion which included Trevor Manuel, Finance Minister, South Africa, ANC; Elio di Rupo, Leader, PS, Belgium; José Eduardo Cardozo, Member of Parliament, PT, Brazil; Enrique Barón, Chair, Parliamentary Group of the PES; and Rolando Araya, PLN, Costa Rica.
For a World More Peaceful and Secure: Iraq • Middle East • South Eastern Europe • Africa was the second main theme. Key-note speakers in this debate included Thorbjørn Jagland, Chair of the SI Middle East Committee (DNA, Norway); Shimon Peres of the Israel Labour Party; Yossi Beilin of Meretz, Israel; Felipe González; and Hani Al-Hassan, Minister of the Interior, Palestinian Authority, with further participants making contributions to this discussion.
The Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Iraq, stating "The world is living under the threat of war that creates fears around the world. We, the Socialist International, stress that war is not inevitable. We should do everything possible in order to avoid war: we must give peace a chance". The holding of an international conference for democracy and human rights in Iraq, proposed by Massimo D'Alema, President of the DS, was agreed by the entire Council.
There were further contributions on issues of peace and security, by Ousmane Tanor Dieng, Chair of the SI Africa Committee (PS, Senegal); on ‘Peace in Angola’ by João Lourenço, Secretary General of the MPLA and on ‘Re-establishing peace in Côte d’Ivoire’ by Bailly Sery, Minister of Communication of Côte d’Ivoire, FPI, with a resolution on the crisis there being adopted.
A second panel discussion dealt with the issue Peace and stability in the Balkans, moderated by Piero Fassino, Co-Chair of the SI Committee for Central and Eastern Europe; with Fatos Nano, Prime Minister of Albania and Chair of the Socialist Party; Tonino Picula, Foreign Minister of Croatia, SDP; Zlatko Lagumdzija, Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Chair of the SDP-BiH; Georgi Spasov, Secretary General of the SDUM, Macedonia; Ranko Krivokapic, Chair of the SDPM, Montenegro; Slobodan Orlic, Leader of the SDP, Serbia. Adrian Nastase, Prime Minister of Romania and Chair of the PSD also contributed to the debate.
The third main theme of the meeting centred on Our Democratic Commitment: Defending Democracy around the world. Under this theme there was a panel discussion on Working for democracy where it is most at risk with Abderrahman Youssoufi, First Secretary of the USFP, and former Prime Minister of Morocco, as its moderator. Panellists included Mikalai Statkevich, Chair, Belarusian Social Democratic Party; Rafael Angel Marín Jaén, Secretary General, Democratic Action, Venezuela; and Celestino Bacalé, CPDS, Equatorial Guinea, with delegates from Guinea, Burundi and Nepal also taking part in the debate.
The Council received a report from the SI Secretary General.
Declarations and resolutions were also approved on Guinea, Pakistan, Venezuela, Iranian Kurds and Western Sahara, and the International adopted as its own the Declaration of the SIW entitled 'Women and Migration in a Globalised World: Integration, Security and Opportunities''.