We, the Progressive Alliance, have gathered in Tbilisi, Georgia – one of the great cities of the Caucasus, a traditional meeting place for different nations and cultures, a city in which East and West, North and South have come together and left their very distinctive marks over the centuries, as well as a unique culture of tolerance. Here, we want to reaffirm our commitment to international and regional cooperation. Georgia in its history has always thrived when trade routes were open, peace was secured, and tolerance was practiced. Likewise, we believe that the sole path to global stability and prosperity can be found in international cooperation.
The countries of Eastern Partnership have received global attention in the last 30 years due to important social-political and economic transformation, and for continuing fight of societies for democracy and freedom. Constant strive of these countries towards establishing stronger democracies with more resilient societies and economic freedom is compromised by tragic and unresolved conflicts in the region. There is no alternative to peace and political negotiations over territorial conflicts based on the principles of international law, region’s traditions for tolerance and mutual respect, and shall be guided by the interests and well-being of the societies. The peaceful conflict resolution, however, is not being promoted by great power politics approach used by Russian Federation and by its covert or revealed role in inciting and sustaining conflicts.
In spite of challenges and geopolitical context the countries of Eastern Partnership, especially those having signed association agreements with the EU have also been a source of good news demonstrating remarkable democratic breakthrough, promoting progress and serving as source of inspiration worldwide. We welcome important democratic changes taking place in Armenia, that is the result of restless fight of the society for democracy and freedom.
Although populism and authoritarianism are seemingly on the rise globally, democracy is attractive and vibrant. It is an ideal worth fighting for, and we stand ready to continue the fight.
In their fight for a more democratic, more secure, more just and sustainable future, people in the countries of the Eastern Partnership are inspired by the example of the European Union. The EU – seen from the region – is a beacon of hope for many, a remarkable contrast to very different views currently held by many inside the EU. Progressive, social democratic and socialist parties from the EU should be encouraged by the EU enthusiasm so widespread in the countries of the Eastern Partnership to develop the European project further, expand its success stories, and combat its weaknesses. The process of EU integration, of co-operation between former enemies, has not lost its shining appeal outside of the EU – it is time to bring it back inside.