Greek Prime Minister and Socialist International (SI) President George Papandreou highlighted the SI's capabilities to contribute to the prosperity of citizens in the midst of the difficult times of globalisation, in a "globalised uniting action and cooperation", while addressing the SI's conference, that he presides over.

Papandreou made special reference to "the Group of 20" and the decisions that must be taken at international level.

"The solutions for the global balances must include issues such as the protection of labour, the handling of unemployment, support for women, combined with the safeguarding of the fundamental rights and the strategies for the decrease of poverty," he said.

Papandreou stressed the necessity for a global reform of systems governing and regulating international capitals, "a reform that must secure the political and economic rights of all the citizens of the world." Otherwise, as he said, "the leaders will have to face the outcry of billions of citizens."

He focused on the problems created by the strengthening of markets in front of the lack of political will on the part of leaders and spoke of the need for "a real economy, a real growth, capable of securing real jobs."

Papandreou pointed out that in a globalised economy there should also be globalised action, as is the aim of the Socialist International.

"We must act outside our borders. We must convince our fellow citizens, in the cities, in the regions, that there is a global prospect, a global mobilisation and a global support, for a better world, provided that we act united."

Making special reference to the Greek economic crisis for which he had to take difficult decisions, the prime minister said that the conservatives often claim that the problems come from the social protection system or the welfare state.

"It is certain that we want to make the system more effective. The problems, however, mainly come from the injustices and imbalances around the world: between working people and employers, between the countries, in the sector of natural resources, in pharmaceuticals and others. They are inequalities that create competitive disadvantages for some and advantages for others," he said.

Papandreou noted that "the Socialist International expresses the policies of change, solidarity, logic, of a policy with vision. We want open societies, with a better living standard for our citizens also through an environmental policy, believing in a human dimension for globalisation."

He concluded by saying that "for a large part of citizens worldwide day-to-day life is marked by the feeling of insecurity and fear. Such policies of fear have disastrous consequences in democratic life. The Socialist International's pursuit is to present a reliable alternative solution, something that we are trying sincerely."

SI Council meeting opens in Paris, chaired by Papandreou

A two-day meeting of the Council of the Socialist International (SI) opened in Paris on Monday, chaired by Greek prime minister and SI president George Papandreou, with the Global Economy, Climate Change and the forthcoming UN Climate Change conference (COP16) in Mexico, and Resolution of Conflicts as the three themes of the agenda.

The Paris meeting, being held at the Organisation for Economic and Cooperation (OECD) headquarters, is the SI Council's second meeting in 2010. The first was held at the UN headquarters in New York in June.

In the first main theme, under the title "The World Economy: mapping out a sustainable recovery that works for all", the Council will discuss the latest developments in the global economy, including the G20 Seoul Summit and its outcome. Looking at recovery from a social democratic perspective, contributions will be heard on ways to ensure that the recovery is fair, equitable and sustainable, and to the benefit of ordinary citizens.

The second theme is "Facing the Consequences of Climate Change: The urgent need for a meaningful agreement at COP16". With the Sixteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 to December 10 representing another vital opportunity for leaders of the world to unite and take meaningful action on climate change, the SI will once again put this theme at the heart of its agenda, to define the social democratic priorities on this most crucial of issues, which will shape the future of the planet.

The discussions on the third main theme, "Overcoming Conflict: Strengthening democracy and security", will concentrate on the positive effect that resolving conflicts wherever they occur can have on the ability of a country and a society to have a stable democracy and provide security for all. In 2010, the SI has actively promoted conflict resolution in the South Caucasus and the Middle East, continued to develop its platform on disarmament issues, supported democracy in different regions of the world and sent electoral observation missions.