Print this article   Email this to a friend


ATHENS COUNCIL: Arab world - Middle East peace - nuclear energy

01-02 July 2011


The Socialist International reaffirms its complete support and solidarity with the people of South Eastern Europe as they strive for lasting peace, stability and a positive role within the European Union.

The International reiterates that to ensure peace and stability in the Balkans all countries must work to strengthen their democratic institutions and to guarantee under the law and in practice equality for all citizens – women and men, regardless of their ethnic original – and full respect for cultural and religious freedoms.

The International emphasises that for multi-ethnic societies to be stable and to prosper, all groups must embrace democratic values and recognise that real security is the result of inclusive policies that can benefit all.

The Socialist International encourages Balkan states to develop all positive forms of regional cooperation among bordering nations. In this perspective, the adoption of a common European vision is essential.

Consequently, the Socialist International lends its full support to “Agenda 2014” aiming at giving new impetus to the enlargement process of the Western Balkans. The European perspective of the Western Balkans should remain a clear priority for all those involved. By adopting and implementing the necessary reforms, the countries of the region will prove their steady will to move closer to European integration. To this direction, the Socialist International lends its wholehearted and unequivocal support.

In this regard, the Socialist International welcomes the recent conclusions of the European Council on Croatia and the stated political will to sign the Accession Treaty before the end of the year. The SI is convinced that Croatia, as an EU member country, will play a major role in bringing countries of the western Balkans closer to the European Union.

We fully support the contribution of the Serbian government to the peace and stability of the region and its efforts for reforms aiming to establish democratic and transparent institutions. The Socialist International warmly congratulates the Government of Serbia on the arrest of Ratko Mladic and his extradition to The Hague to face trial, strengthening the European prospects of Serbia.

The Socialist International strongly supports the appeal by the UN Secretary-General for an in-depth, impartial and independent investigation on the allegations of inhumane treatment of persons and illicit trafficking of human organs both during and after the armed Kosovo conflict, as well as the intended appointment by the UN Security Council of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) to ensure the effectiveness of the investigation.

On Albania, the SI Council expresses deep concern on the long-lasting political crisis which followed the June 2009 parliamentary elections and the May 2011 local elections. Results of last local elections held on 8 May have seen great success for SPA-led Alliance for the Future, which won the biggest urban areas in the country.

The SI has very carefully followed  the situation created in Tirana, whereto the process of counting ballots concluded with a victory for the incumbent Mayor Edi Rama (SPA), over the Democratic Party candidate Lulzim Basha, by a margin of 10 votes out of 250,623 ballots cast.

The majority decision taken by the Central Electoral Commission (CEC), to recount wrongly cast votes was not based in any provision of the Electoral Code of the Republic of Albania, while up to now the Electoral College has shown indecision to make justice on this case.

The overturning of the initial result is gravely troubling, jeopardising once more the legitimacy of the vote in Albania, and prolonging the existing political tension and instability in the country.

A functioning democracy requires free and fair elections. This is a prerequisite for future development and further European integration of Albania.