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As progressives gather in Amman, PES President Sergei Stanishev underlines importance of strong cooperation between EU and Mediterranean

PES President Sergei StanishevToday, progressive parties from Europe, the Middle East and North Africa came together for a two day conference in Amman to discuss a common progressive agenda. The Conference started with opening speeches from PES President and BSP leader Sergei Stanishev, President of the S&D Group Hannes Swoboda, Jamil Nimri, member of Parliament of the Jordanian Social Democrats, and Hussein Gohar, chair of the Arab Social Democratic Forum.

‘Three years ago, many people sacrificed their lives to stand up for what they believe in’, said President Sergei Stanishev. ‘We owe it to these people to work together to end social injustice and create an environment where everyone can speak openly and live in freedom.’

The conference forms part of a series of events co-organized by the PES, and aims at exchanging experiences and best practices to support strong social and economic models in the Middle East and North Africa. On the first day panels will discuss trade, economy, the European Neighborhood Policy and the relationship between religion, democracy and human rights. During the second day debates will focus on the Middle East Peace Process, the status of Jerusalem and the future of the social democratic movement in the Arab world.

President Sergei Stanishev continued to highlight the success of the Tunisian Constitution, and the need for strong inter-regional cooperation in order to encourage democratic processes and facilitate growth. ‘The European model was built on the need for peace and inspired by economic cooperation. We hope to see the same in the Arab world. Gradually, step by step it is possible to achieve this. We have to convey a message of hope. After the initial feeling of optimism, the situation is now getting worse, but we need to keep our spirits high and work together to improve the long-term prospects for the region. Together, will continue the fight to end social injustice and create a neighborhood built on the principles of freedom and democracy.’

The Conference was attended by guests including George Sabra, former President of the Syria National Council and member of the Syrian Democratic People’s Party; Nabeel Shaath, Commissioner for International Relations, Fatah, Palestine; Mala Bakhtyar, Chief of the PUK politburo, Iraqi Kurdistan; Driss Lachguar, first secretary of the Moroccan Socialist Union of Popular Forces; Ahmed Betatache, first secretary of the Algerian Socialist Forces Front and Lobna Jeribi member of Parliament from the Tunisian Ettakatol party. Other countries from the region were Egypt, Yemen, Lebanon and Libya, while PES members from Sweden, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, Greece, Ireland, France, Germany and the Netherlands were also present. The conference was organized in partnership with the Global Progressive Forum (S&D and PES), FEPS, Solidar and the Arab Social Democratic Forum.

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