PES President hails ‘heroes of democracy’ at Tunis EuroMed Conference

Date

29 Apr 2011

Sections

Social Europe & Jobs

Press release

Rasmussen also criticises Sarkozy and Berlusconi –

“What if we had said after the Berlin wall came down; now it is time for a fence?”

28 April 2011 - Tunis

Party of European Socialists (PES) President, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen today gave strong support to representatives of the ‘Arab Spring’. Speaking in Tunis, at a PES organised conference, he urged the European Union to “act now and act together” in supporting democracy in North Africa and the Middle East.

Mr. Rasmussen was thanked by Tunisian Socialist leader Mustapha Ben Jaafar, who praised the PES for the long years of support. Mr. Rasmussen stated that; “This is a crossroads moment for a generation”. He asked; “Do we go the road of fear or the road of solidarity? Thousands of new “heroes of democracy” are waiting to see”.

The PES President launched a stinging attack on the reactions of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to the refugee situation in North Africa. On Tuesday the Conservative leaders had attempted to destabilise the European Schengen agreement of freedom of movement.

In response Mr. Rasmussen said that; “Italian and French conservative cynicism will not derail us. What if we had said after the Berlin wall came down; now it is time for a fence?” He emphasised that; “Sarkozy and Berlusconi will not succeed in damaging the value of our Schengen agreement”.

The PES Conference will issue a concluding declaration at 12h00 on Friday 29 April.

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For further information please contact Brian Synnott on +32 474 98 96 75 (brian.synnott@pes.org)

The PES brings together 33 socialist, social democratic, labour and progressive parties in the European Union and Norway, a parliamentary group in the European Parliament (184 MEPs) and in the Committee of the Regions (247 members) - plus observer and associate parties and organizations from all over Europe. ECOSY and PES Women are respectively the Youth and the Women's organizations of the PES.