At the meeting it became clear that all of them have a common interest in regular dialogue. Although we do not necessarily agree on every single issue, we have more in common than what separate us and we intend to build further cooperation upon this foundation.
We make the following declaration:
1. We, the leaders of the socialist and social democratic parties of the Central and Eastern European region believe in the power of the community and in dialogue. As patriots, leftists and committed pro-Europeans, we feel responsible for making the destiny of our region, and for this reason, in the period ahead of us we want to act in association and considerately towards one another. Europe is perhaps at greater risk than ever. We acknowledge that the European project of peace and prosperity, as much as it might be in danger from external forces, is vulnerable enough now to destroy itself from within. This is manifested in anti-European extremities and we cannot just sit by and watch these forces to take things under their control and destroy the European dream for all of us. We believe that this political struggle must be fought in alliance.
2. Being leftists, we consider the elimination of the enormous social inequalities as one of our most important task – at the level of both Member States and of the European Union. For this very reason, we believe in a social Europe, placed on the footing of solidarity, social justice, a fair distribution of assets, gender equality, high-level public education and public healthcare, high-standard employment and sustainable development. A social Europe may contribute to the convergence of regional wages and to preventing and reversing the exodus that has caused a serious shortage of labour.
3. The Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) of the EU determines the future of the EU, including our region, over the long term. We are convinced that it is in the region’s interest to have more and well-targeted EU funds, and so we recommend increasing the amount of financial appropriations instead of cutting the cohesion funds, agricultural and other important support, which facilitate closing gaps. It is in our interest to use the budget efficiently and free of corruption, and we assign strategic significance to focusing on the tasks to be performed in education, healthcare, convergence and digitalization.
4. We are well aware that the damage caused by criminal offences to the European Union’s budget is highly substantial, and we regret that the vast majority of the suspicious cases have not been detected. Therefore we very much welcome the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor´s Office (EPPO) and urge the Member States that have not yet joined to do so.
5. As opposed to those who want to use the situation caused by migration for political gains, we are making efforts at finding a solution. We believe that in the current and future management of migration, humanitarian, security-related and social considerations must simultaneously have a role. In addition, serious actions should be taken to improve the economic and social conditions in the countries of origin. We consistently support the European Union’s actions to reinforce the protection of its external borders. We welcome the joint efforts made to this end, including the expansion of Frontex’s powers and budget.
6. Climate change and destruction of our environment has finally become undoubtedly clear and obvious. Joined efforts in all relevant areas, ranging from water scarcity, toxic food and waste management to reduction of greenhouse gases and loss of biodiversity, must be seriously considered.
7. We agreed that Europe has to move on from the old model of careless production and consumption to a new deal, which creates well-being and respects the limits of our environment. Social, economic, political and territorial equality is in the core of our values. Europe must not forget about communities that are particularly affected by such transition, such as workers in coal-dependent regions and energy-intensive industries.
8. Equality is one of the main pillars of social-democratic policies. We need to address the problem of the existence of dual quality of food and other consumer products, a practice that refers to the sale of seemingly identical products of lower quality, mainly in Central and Eastern European countries. We fully support European cooperation in the fight against dual quality of products placed on the single market. We must ensure that there are no second-class products, nor consumers, in the EU.
9. We kindly request the presidential candidate of our family of socialist parties to take the above into account during the common EP election campaign ahead of us.
Visegrád, Hungary, – 29 November, 2018