Hosted by the SI Romanian member parties, the Democratic Party, PD, and the Social Democratic Party, PSDR, SICEE met on 5-6 February in Bucharest to focus on two main themes: 'Recent developments in Russia: economic and political perspectives' and 'The process of enlargement of the European Union: analyses and perspectives'.
The meeting gathered together more than seventy participants representing close to thirty parties and organisations. (Full list of participants) Speakers in the debate included Petre Roman, PD President, who gave an overview of the current situation and concerns in his country, and presented his party's political project for building Romania as part of an expanding Europe, and Sergiu Cunescu, President of the PSDR, who added that there was much optimism for social democracy in his country and in the region. Although the transition had been more difficult than expected, they continued to make 'slow but very solid progress' and they shared the priorities of all European socialists.
As a result of its discussions, the Committee adopted three resolutions and declarations on the enlargement of the European Union, on the economic and political perspectives in Russia and on Kosovo. It was agreed to hold a meeting of the Committee in Warsaw in mid-September.
The Socialist International Committee for Central and Eastern Europe, SICEE, meeting in Bucharest on 5-6 February 1999:
Underlines that the European Union (EU) is assuming an increasing role at a global level. This challenge requires a long term vision based on an enhanced ability to develop and promote its values and to manage this change.
Stresses the responsibility of social democrats in shaping the Europe of the future.
Underlines that the enlargement and restructuring of the EU is a process in which the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) are major active players.
Insists on the need to respect the "global and inclusive" membership strategy decided at Luxembourg which considers all 11 candidate countries at the same level and with the same rights in the accession process.
Recognises that the EU showed its political commitment by allocating important resources and developing specific communication channels in order to speed up the CEECs transition towards democracy and the market economy, in order to support sustainable progress and their appropriation of the acquis communautaire.
Stresses the need for a strengthened pre-accession strategy, for a more effective and structured dialogue, an adequate planning and appropriate monitoring mechanisms, together with various financial instruments, which will all together create a realistic framework aimed at assisting CEECs in their efforts to overcome the priority gaps, to meet the necessary standards for EU membership, and to compete on an equal footing.
Reaffirms that building this future Europe means an inclusive process very much dependent on the successful modernisation of the CEECs. The transition to the market economy and to a democratic society calls for unprecedented efforts to be made by those countries.
Underlines the need for a balanced approach to both economic innovation and social cohesion, a balance between real non-monopolistic market conditions and social solidarity, between effective economic reforms and social security networks.
Reinforces the principle of equality of opportunities in education, employment and a share in power, between women and men, combatting all forms of discrimination.
States that, in order to keep the economic and social changes in line with peoples' expectations and aspirations, the social democratic parties of the CEECs should undertake a series of decisive actions in order to strengthen public responsibility and to speed up the setting up of a framework of state authorities and public institutions able to develop and efficiently implement economic policies.
Underlines that a social democratic approach to enlargement means the development of secure markets, using the state regulatory capacity, attentively taking into account public opinion. It also means dismantling monopolies, allowing competition and widening consumer choice.
Reaffirms that the process of EU enlargement brings advantages both to member countries and candidate countries. For candidate countries, enlargement means: integration into a democratic environment with a beneficial influence on their social conditions, and the development of their own institutions; economic integration which potentially allows evolution of their economic and institutional systems; the ability to access EU financial resources; a guarantee against dangers of isolationism and nationalism that exist in some of the CEECs. For EU members, enlargement means better stability in the region; a larger European market; the increased innovative capacity of the CEECs to be utilised by and for the whole continent, better competition, and multiple opportunities for the whole of Europe to be a key player in the global arena.
Reaffirms as a priority the development of the transport and communication infrastructure as a basis for economic development and for lowering unemployment.
Underlines that EU enlargement would be more difficult without the necessary reforms and restructuring within the EU itself and underlines that the institutional reform of the EU and the enlargement process of the Union must be pursued at the same time, and moreover should be considered as an interactive process.
Expresses its hope that the next European Council adopt adequate decisions for the initiation of negotiations also with Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania and the Slovak Republic.
Calls on all European socialists and social democratic parties to support a more open attitude to EU enlargement, to be ready to assist their partner parties in the CEECs in their efforts to integrate and to directly participate in the process of creating favourable conditions for the enlargement of the EU.
Hopes that the forthcoming Congress of the PES in Milan, on 1-2 March 1999, will bring about further progress in support of this process of cooperation between all European socialist and social democratic parties.
The Socialist International Committee for Central and Eastern Europe, SICEE, meeting in Bucharest on 5-6 February 1999,
in line with the Declaration adopted by the Council of the Socialist International in Geneva, on 23-24 November 1998, confirming that the political and economic stability in Europe is strongly connected to the development of the situation in Russia:
expresses deep concern at the increasing negative tendencies in the economic and social areas of life in Russian society;
stresses that the process of market reforms in Russia has encountered many serious difficulties which have resulted in Russia having to face an extremely complex phase of the crisis which is affecting practically all aspects of its economy;
emphasises that among the main reasons for the crisis, are mistakes committed during the implementation of the Russian reforms, above all, the lack of social orientation of the reforms which has provoked a sharp fall in the standards of living, affecting firstly the badly paid, thus reducing the labour cost in the country, due to the serious problem of corruption, organised crime and growth of extremism;
stresses that the deterioration of the social and economic situation aggravates political instability in Russia and public tension which can give rise to serious social conflicts;
emphasises the importance of the adjustment of public interaction based on mutual trust between all sectors of authority in Russia at all levels, between, first of all the president, the government and the parliament, and the setting-up of public controls of the activities of the State authorities;
expresses the hope that the formation, in September 1998, of the new Russian government, supported by parliament, can lead to the creation of real conditions for the solution of the problems of the country's present crisis;
considers it necessary to support the efforts of the Russian government aimed at stabilising the economic and political situation in the country, as well as the efforts aimed at making the legislation, the judicial system, public administration and relations between citizens and the State meet the standards generally applied by democratic nations;
calls on the international community, international organisations and financial institutions, governments and business circles in various countries to continue effective support of economic and political reforms in Russia, both through existing arrangements and negotiating new ones;
emphasises that the member parties of the Socialist International should offer essential support to the political parties, movements or individual candidates in Russia who commit themselves to strengthening democracy effectively and, in particular, to the forces that are inspired by democratic socialist ideals and values;
considers it necessary, taking into account the increasing trends of the crisis in the world economy, to develop a new programme of action for the international democratic socialist strategy of world solidarity for the protection of the interests of workers, which may fully guarantee their economic rights and social security.
The Socialist International Committee for Central and Eastern Europe, SICEE, meeting in Bucharest on 5-6 February 1999,
in line with the Declaration approved by the Council of the Socialist International in Geneva, on 23-24 November 1998:
supports and approves the decision taken by the Contact Group to call for direct talks between the Serbian authorities and the Kosovo Albanian representatives;
urges both parties to fully cooperate with the process of negotiations on a political settlement of the conflict and to commit themselves to reach an agreement within the specified time frame;
stresses the need for the Contact Group to continue with its own direct commitment, together with the need for the international community to continue applying pressure while also bearing in mind the measures planned by NATO;
expresses its strongest condemnation of the massacre in Racak and of all the acts of violence perpetrated in the region, and asks the Serbian armed forces and the Kosovo Liberation Army to put an end to all military activity;
stresses the urgency to speed up the deployment of the 2,000 OSCE verifiers, ensuring their full safety and the best conditions for carrying out their activities;
underlines once again that the Kosovo crisis can only be solved in an effective and stable way through the introduction of forms of maximum autonomy for Kosovo within the borders of the Yugoslav Federation;
reaffirms the danger of the thesis that stipulates that states must be ethnically homogeneous. On the contrary, true to democratic principles it is important to recognise and respect the value of multi-ethnicity and cultural and religious freedoms.
asks the European Union and all the European governments to give assistance to the international humanitarian institutions in their relief aid to homeless people and refugees;
reaffirms the need to confirm all the commitments undertaken by the international community in order to strengthen the stability of Albania and Macedonia and consolidate the peace process in Bosnia;
calls on all socialist and social democratic parties to support a negotiated solution in all forums and with all the necessary measures.
|Co-Chair of the Committee||Piero Fassino|
|Co-Chair of the Committee||László Kóvács|
|Secretary General of the Socialist International||Luis Ayala|
|ARF Armenian Socialist Party||Mario Nalpatian|
|Social Democratic Party of Austria, SPÖ||Karin Scheele|
|Socialist Party, PS||Etienne Godin|
|Bulgarian Social Democratic Party, BSDP||Yuri Dudev|
|Czech Social Democratic Party||Miloslav Had|
|Finnish Social Democratic Party, SDP||Markus Aaltonen|
|Socialist Party, PS||Pierre Guidoni|
|Social Democratic Party of Germany, SPD||Elke Sabiel|
|Hungarian Socialist Party, MSzP||Vilmos Szabó|
|Israel Labour Party||Israel Gat|
|Democrats of the Left, DS||Andrea Romano|
|Labour Party, PvdA||Arjen Berkvens|
|Social Democracy of the Republic|
|of Poland, SdRP||Tadeusz Iwinski|
|Democratic Party, PD||Petre Roman|
|Bogdan Niculescu Duvaz|
|Romanian Social Democratic Party, PSDR||Sergiu Cunescu|
|Party of the Democratic Left, SDL||Pavel Meleg|
|Swedish Social Democratic Party, SAP||Magnus Johansson|
|Office of SI President||Michel Thauvin|
|Socialist International Women, SIW||Mariana Stoica|
|Parliamentary Group of the PES||Hannes Swoboda|
|Robert van de Water|
|Party of European Socialists, PES||Friedrich Roll|
|SI Secretariat||Justina Pang|
|European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity||Conny Fredriksson|
|Euro Left Party||Alexander Tomov|
|Social Democratic Party, SDP||Zdenko Franic|
|Russian Social Democratic Union, RSDU||Vassily Lipitsky|
|Socialist Party of Russia||Ivan Rybkin|
|Yabloko Movement||Olga Beklemishcheva|
If you are looking for an earlier meeting, please consult the LIBRARY section.