Mr Giorgos A. Papandreou President of the Socialist International Maritime House, Old Town, Clapham London, SW4 0JW United Kingdom
Mr President, Dear Giorgos,
April 14, 2011
Ever since its beginnings in 1889, the SI has had to face many political upheavals and has overcome them, because our family of parties is based on common values. The values for which the SI stands are inalienable human rights, the struggle for freedom, justice, social equality and international solidarity. Solidarity with the poorest and the oppressed around the world is inherent in the international social democratic and democratic socialist family of parties. These values are binding upon all member parties.
The aim of the SI is to develop common interests and mutual understanding across national borders and continents, in order to make our one world a more peaceful, just and safer place. It was the SI for example that succeeded, before all other international organisations, in bringing the Israeli Labour party together with the Palestinian Fatah; and in the case of some small member parties, it was only their membership of the SI that made it possible for them to survive in their own countries. It is thanks to these successes that worldwide interest in the SI continues unabated and that many parties are seeking to become members of our alliance. And it is for this reason that the Socialist International has grown to its current size of over 160 members. We are proud of these historic successes.
But the number of our members and the number of those who would like to become members is not a value per se, but an obligation in a dual sense: The obligation of the SI to organise itself properly and to continuously reform, and the obligation of the members of the SI to centre themselves and their actions around our common values.
Indeed, the recent events in the Arab world show us that the structures and instruments of the SI with which we organise party political cooperation with our neighbours in the Middle East and beyond are in urgent and fundamental need of change.
The values that have bound the Socialist International since its beginnings are highly topical, as evidenced by the democratic movements in the Arab world. But not all member parties of the SI fulfil the hopes that have been placed in them. Some have lost the common compass and turned away from the democratic path.
We must now use this opportunity for reform to make our alliance fit for the future, which means establishing it as a politically relevant, publicly visible, global organisation with transparent and democratic procedures and with members that are able to match themselves against these standards.
1. TheSocialistInternationalofthefuturemustbemoretransparentanddemocratic and its committees must meet regularly. The SI must open itself up and offer more opportunities for participation to its members. For this to happen, the character and proceedings of SI meetings must change fundamentally. Only thus will we manage to make the SI into an attractive discussion forum for progressive politics.
2. InordertosharpentheprofileoftheSocialistInternationalwithregardto substance, the SI must - away from politics of the day - pursue a policy of long- term and sustainable commitment in regions of conflict. It must for example show clearly more initiative in the Near and Middle East. It should also support important international campaigns.
3. AllpartiesinclearcontradictiontotheprinciplessetoutintheEthicalCharterof the SI have no place in our family of parties. The Ethics Committee must urgently investigate other parties who are starting to exhibit the first non-democratic tendencies.
4. TheEthicsCommitteeoftheSImustmeetregularlyandbestrengthened. Expulsions of parties that become necessary in future must be debated and prepared in this committee. In urgent cases, the Ethics Committee should be given the powers, together with the SI President and the SI General Secretary, by means of an addition to the SI Statutes, to take decisions on expulsions quickly.
5. ThefinancesoftheSocialistInternationalhavealwaysbeendifficult.Itisprecisely for this reason that the SI needs reform in this area as well. In addition to a traceable accounting system, which is submitted for approval to the responsible SI Finance and Administration Committee, we need a transparent system for collecting member contributions and clear procedural rules for parties who are late in paying their membership contributions. We also need a fully transparent system for support given to those member parties who require financial assistance to take part in SI activities.
6. Equallyimportantistheneedtosetupacoordinationcommittee,whichmust meet regularly, composed of the International Secretaries / SI Coordinators, to structure the work of the Socialist International.
For the huge tasks described we need a Task Force SI Reform 2011, which should meet before the next SI Council in June/July 2011.
7. TheTaskForceSIReform2011shouldworkforalimitedperiodtodevelop proposals in time for the next SI Congress, which according to the statutes should take place this year.
8. TheTaskForceSIReform2011shouldbeconstitutedfromthetwostatutory committees of the SI, the Ethics Committee and the SI Finance and Administration Committee (SIFAC).
9. TheTaskForceSIReform2011ofbothcommitteesguaranteesthenecessary expertise to submit proposals for reform for the interwoven subjects of finance, administration, structures, membership, monitoring of members, opportunities for participation, instruments for dialogue with non-members, public relations, and type and organisation of meetings etc..
10.The Task Force SI Reform 2011 should submit an initial report for the next Council meeting in the first half of 2011.
11.The reform proposals of the Task Force SI Reform 2011 should be approved at the next Congress of the Socialist International and then implemented.
Our parties are ready to render assistance and become actively involved in all these areas.
We need a global and powerful organisation of social democrats and democratic socialists.
With fraternal greetings Martine Aubry, First Secretary of the Socialist Party, PS, France
Mustapha Ben Jaa?far, Secretary General of the Democratic Forum for Labour and Freedoms, FDTL, Tunisia
Percival Cendan?a, Chairperson of the Akbayan Citizens' Action Party, Philippines Job Cohen, Leader of the Labour Party, PvdA, Netherlands
Elio Di Rupo, President of the Socialist Party, PS, Belgium, Vice-President of the Socialist International
Werner Faymann, Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Austria, SPO? John Fru Ndi, National Chairman of the Social Democratic Front, SDF, Cameroon
Sigmar Gabriel, Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, SPD, Vice- President of the Socialist International
Eamon Gilmore, Leader of The Labour Party, Ireland
Phil Goff, Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party, NZLP
Alfred Gusenbauer, Vice-President of the Socialist International
Raymond Johansen, Secretary General of the Norwegian Labour Party, DNA
Ha?kan Juholt, Leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, SAP
Christian Levrat, President of the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland, SPS
Lim Guan Eng, Secretary General of the Democratic Action Party, DAP, Malaysia
Nick Martin, Secretary General of the Australian Labor Party, ALP
Placido Mico Abogo, Secretary General of the Convergence for Social Democracy, CPDS, Equatorial Guinea, Vice-President of the Socialist International
Sven Mikser, Leader of the Estonian Social Democratic Party, SDE
Ed Miliband, Leader of The Labour Party, Great Britain
Joseph Muscat, Leader of the Malta Labour Party
Jeltje van Nieuwenhoven, Vice-President of the Socialist International
Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, President of the Party of European Socialists, PES, Vice- President of the Socialist International
Se?gole?ne Royal, Vice-President of the Socialist International Mona Sahlin, Vice-President of the Socialist International
Martin Schulz, President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, Vice- President of the Socialist International
Jo?hanna Sigurðardo?ttir, Leader of the Social Democratic Alliance of Iceland Jose? So?crates, Secretary General of the Socialist Party, PS, Portugal, Vice-
President of the Socialist International Sergei Stanishev, President of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Leader of the Social Democratic Party, Denmark