2nd Northern Network of Social Democrats
Baltic Sea Conference
The Northern Network: Social Democracy as a driving force in the Baltic Sea Region
The Baltic Sea Region is one of Europe’s regions of the future. Its common economic potential is an opportunity for the entire continent. Political decisions on the future shape of Europe are being made here:
• The Eastward enlargement of the EU is a significant opportunity for Europe as a whole. At the same time, new challenges are emerging: Interests are growing more diverse. Competition is set to increase. New regional centres of development are likely to develop, and the decision-making process will become increasingly complex.
• The success of the Eastward enlargement hinges on the comprehensive reform of the European Union as a whole and its continued development towards a community based on the principles of the democratic participation of citizens, social justice, sustainability and economic growth.
• Outside the EU, the Baltic Sea region can – as indeed it must – become a model for a Europe of regions, where boundaries no longer separate, but direct and close cooperation create joint opportunities and facilitate the achievement of common goals.
Within an enlarging EU, Baltic policy will become increasingly important. The more it enlarges, the greater will be the importance of a common Baltic policy for the region and the adoption of a common voice in Brussels. Baltic cooperation must also provide opportunities for Non-EU Member States to influence European development.
For the Baltic Sea region, these are crucial factors for becoming a competent partner to the other large regions in Europe. Much is at stake: Unless the Northeast of Europe takes a common stand within an enlarged EU, it will be politically and economically marginalized.
This situation calls for the continued development of Baltic Sea cooperation through setting priorities and defining common aims. We must find the courage to move from Baltic cooperation towards a common Baltic policy. This is particularly the case for our Social Democratic parties. We see our prime task in supporting and intensifying cooperation in the Nordic region and the new democratic states.
Our goal is a European region:
• of democracy and human rights,
• of economic dynamism, social justice and sustainable development,
• characterized by a social market economy and the use of existing capacities for the benefit of the entire region.
The common dialogue of the social democratic sister-parties of the Baltic Sea region will try to strengthen the cooperation and to work on the following tasks. It is important to,
• discuss future economic, social and political developments in the Baltic Sea region together. This will include an annual “visionary conference” of the Social Democrats’ Northern Network;
• increase the trans-boundary cooperation of Social Democratic officers in local and regional parliaments, national parliaments, the European Parliament and the Conference of Regions in order to implement common initiatives for the development of the Baltic Sea Region both nationally and in Europe;
• establish a committee for founding a regional association of the SPE
• jointly debate options for transforming the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference into a parliamentary assembly, as well as options for placing cooperation between Social Democratic Delegates on a more formal basis;
• intensify cooperation between the various working groups and committees of our parties, thereby contributing to the development of civil society and democracy in the Baltic Sea region;
• optimize our Internet-based lines of communication, thereby rendering the dialogue on our aims and activities more transparent;
• support the Social Democratic parties in the new Baltic democracies through differentiated forms of cooperation;
• give new impulses to cooperation in the field of Social Democratic political education in the Baltic Sea region.