European Socialist and Democrat leaders address Mediterranean challenges


Mediterranean conference panelists

In the wake of tragic human catastrophes, and ongoing conflict, Socialist and Democratic leaders met in Rome to discuss progressive answers to foreign, security and development policy issues in the Middle East and North Africa. Leaders attending from the socialist family included key stakeholders in the region including EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Paolo Gentiloni, Leader of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, Gianni Pittella, PES president Sergei Stanishev and Khelil Ezzaouia former Tunisian minister of social affairs.

In a display of solidarity with Southern neighbours, and between the European Socialist family, the Partito Democratico and the Party of European Socialists brought together leaders to proactively find ways to resolve Mediterranean challenges. They discussed forming new, progressive policies, in line with our values of human rights and social justice, to address the critical issues facing the Middle East and North Africa. The primary focus of the discussions was the EU agenda on migration, proposed by the European Commission.

We need to speak as true Europeans, said Sergei Stanishev ‘the EU agenda represents a historic step forward. We all need to work together to address the challenges we commonly face.’

Key to the value of the meeting, was the participation of high level Southern stakeholders including Denis Mukwege, Sakharov Prize winner from the Democratic Republic of Congo and and Mai Kale, Ambassador of Palestine in Rome.

'We need to address the root causes of migration', said Denis Mukwege 'people will continue to search for a better life if they don't have economic opportunities at home. By investing in development and democracy we can tighten the enormous gap between rich and poor and address the startling inequalities that drive people to leave their homes.'

Sergei Stanishev added: ‘The challenges of the Mediterranean cannot be addressed in isolation, for they are all interconnected. Socialists gathered here today to discuss pragmatic actions, and long term solutions. We want to see improvements, sooner not later.’

The speakers present reconfirmed the need for a common European approach to migration. 'This is a time to be courageous' Gianni Pittella said, ' only together we can find a structural answer to manage migratory flows.'