SECURITY AND STABILITY IN SOUTH EAST EUROPE
CHALLENGES FOR SOCIAL DEMOCRACY
SOFIA 18-19 May 2001
PES and European Forum
- The parties taking part in the PES round table "Challenges for Social Democracy -Security and Stability in South East Europe", held in Sofia on 18-19 May2001, discussed the political, economic, social and ethnic aspects of security and stability in South East Europe and the necessity of strengthening regional co-operation.
- The participating parties consider the European choice of the countries from the region and their preparation for membership of the European Union as an important precondition for modernisation, for building societies based on freedom, solidarity and social justice, looking to the future and not submitting to the prejudices inherited from history.
- The condition for realising this choice is the attainment of peace in the region, the overcoming of ethnic conflicts, the cessation of terrorist and separatist actions and the guaranteeing of minority rights. The existing political insecurity impedes the implementation of economic and social reforms and discourages foreign investors. It is the major reason for the delay in the development of the region.
- The participating parties reaffirm the need for the strengthening of the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the countries of South East Europe and the inadmissibility of unilateral border changes. They reject attempts to solve ethnic disputes by military and terrorist actions.
- In this connection the participating parties express their serious concern about the development of the situation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and condemn the terrorist actions of the Albanian separatists. They welcome the formation of a new broad coalition government in Macedonia and express their support for its efforts in reaching peace in the country based on guaranteeing its territorial integrity. Maintaining the territorial integrity of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is of vital importance to the future stability in the region.
- The participating parties consider that ethnic conflicts have to be solved through negotiation and guaranteeing the rights of national and ethnic minorities. They reject ethnic supremacy and intolerance. The solution to ethnic conflict can only be achieved through the future integration of these countries into European structures, not through ethnic differentiation, separatism and the fragmentation of these states.
- The basic precondition for ensuring stability and security in South East Europe is the solution of economic and social problems in individual countries and the achievement of dynamic and sustainable development. Poverty and misery are one of the chief reasons for insecurity and tension. They have to be overcome by a consistent implementation of economic reforms, attaining stable economic growth, attracting foreign investment and the integration of their domestic markets into the European Union market.
- The parties express their opinion that active engagement by the international community is needed for a lasting solution to the conflict in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
- The pursuit of modern and efficient social policies are of exceptional importance in this respect. In accordance with their social democratic values the participating parties view social policy not as a simple function of economic growth but as an essential factor for its acceleration. The Stability Pact has an important role to play in the social and economic development of these countries. More persistent efforts are necessary for the speedy implementation of the approved infrastructure projects within the Pact.
- The participating parties underline the significance of regional co-operation for the stabilisation and intensified development of the region, for the preparation of individual countries for accession to the European Union and for the transformation of South East Europe into a zone of security and co-operation.