We, the leaders of socialist and social democratic parties from the Balkan Region and the EU, remain fully committed to continue our strong, prosperous and mutually beneficial cooperation, focused on tackling each and every challenge set in front of our parties, countries and political family. In times when Europe is on the brink of division, populism and far-right tendencies are on the rise, it is up to us, the young, energetic and devoted supporters of the left to stand up and protect our common rights, ideals, beliefs and goals.
We need to continue the good relations between our countries. History has proven that the Balkan Region has not been short on conflicts and disagreements. Our focus should be on creating a Roadmap for cooperation and good neighbourhood policies in the region, so that future generations need never know the hardships of racism, segregation, war and xenophobia. We urge our governments to always use dialog in order find corresponding solutions to problems and challenges that are and may continue to occur with the end result always being to establish peace, stability and prosperity to the Balkans. Therefore we also reaffirm our continuous support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans. In the context of the upcoming European elections in May 2019 and the looming challenge of Brexit it is up to us to demonstrate that Europe’s future is only going to be better with all of us in it.
Reforms in the fields of the rule of law, combating corruption and backdoor decision-making processes, stamping out organized crime and respect for human rights must always be on the agenda of our governments. It is up to us to change how Europe perceives our Region and to show our willingness to turn the progressive tide towards our countries.
The main focus on each and every party in our countries should be the individual needs of the people, prioritising young generations. In recent times Europe has shown that the austerity only policies do not work. There is a huge gap in salaries in Western and in Eastern Europe, especially with young people. Youth unemployment and youth migration is a big regional issue and the way to tackle it and other discrepancies is with reforms in economic and demographic policies, education, healthcare, social security and sustainable development. A new economic model is needed the basis of which should be social state with sustainable growth and quality jobs. We reaffirm our support for the Youth Guarantee, the creation of a Child Guarantee and continuous support for programs such as “Erasmus +” as a way to show young people that there is hope for their future and prosperity. It is time to invest in people!
The model brought forward by the rightwing and populist parties has failed in all its aspects. They claim that they protect the national sovereignty, values and security but actually they do the exact opposite, which we can see in most of our regional countries.
Together we work for democracy. One of the most important issues in our Region is the freedom of speech. Free journalism, combating censorship and transparent and free media are a prerequisite for a modern democratic state. We condemn all attempts of limiting and censoring, especially by the abuse of power by the executive branch of the governments and states.
We represent the socialist and social democratic parties of our Region and we will embrace the above-mentioned values, ideals, goals and objectives. We agree to mutually support each other in times of crisis and in times of peace. Our goal must always be to have a strong, free and united family. We believe that the socialist and social democratic parties represent the only progressive group that aims at daily life issues of ordinary people and that we can be the alternative to a retroactive, failed and insufficient conservative reality. We stand together as one!