The Prime Ministers of Europe's new democracies have come to Bratislava with a common purpose. We have exchanged views on the progress of democracy in our countries and discussed the larger developments in Europe and the Euro-Atlantic since the end of the Cold War. More importantly, we have had an opportunity to define a vision of our common future, to reaffirm our shared commitment and mutual responsibility for attaining this future, and to rediscover the broad solidarity that exists between our nations.
A decade ago, the OSCE countries came together following the fall of the Berlin Wall to proclaim a new vision in the Charter of Paris of a Europe whole and free in which security would be indivisible and equal for all. They rejected past notions of security being based on of the rule of the strong in favor of the rule of law. They rejected notions of security based on spheres of influence and instead embraced the belief that integration could bring greater security for all. They underscored the rights of all states in the Euro-Atlantic community, large or small, to chose their own alliances and to enjoy the same degree of security.
We believe that the momentous political changes since 1989 have provided us with an historic opportunity to rejoin the European community and to build an undivided Europe, a Europe that will be whole and free, stable and peaceful, and democratic and prosperous. These ideas have exerted a poweful influence on our continent and in our countries. For the first time in history we have it within our grasp to create a Europe that is free, indisivisable and secure. As Prime Ministers of countries that have often been denied such rights in the past, we know firsthand the consequences for us and for Europe as a whole of having been involuntarily assigned to the spheres of influence of others.
Over the last decade, considerable progress has been made in acheiving this vision of a new Euro-Atlantic community. Today, much of Central Europe is not only free but now secure. The toppling of dictatorship in Serbia has created a new opportunity to strengthen regional cooperation in Southeastern Europe and to integrate this region into the European and Euro-Atlantic mainstream. And the ongoing progress of the three Baltic states in northeastern Europe continues to be an inspiration and successful example of post-communist transformation.
But the vision is not yet complete. We agree that this new Europe is as yet unfinished and will remain so without our active contribution. We are keenly aware that Europe's new democracies share with their partners from the EU and NATO not only the vision of Europe whole and free, but also the responsibility for attaining it.
We recognise that neither the process of political transition in Central and Eastern European countries, nor the process of political integration in Western Europe have been progressing without challenges and risks. The nations of the European Union and the nations represented here both face the problems of corruption and crime, the necesssary expense of military reform, and the dislocations of free market economies. Nevertheless, a failure to address these challenges poses a special threat to the civil societies of Europe's newer democracies, and we are firmly resolved to succeed in our efforts of reform and in the fight against corruption and organized crime.
We declare that all of Europe is our proper concern, with no part automatically excluded because of geography, history, or current instabilities. In this regard, we are delighted to welcome the Republic of Croatia to our discussions and to commend Croatia for the important steps that have been taken towards integration in the European Union and in preparing to join NATO's Membership Action Plan.
We consider European security to be indivisible, and equal security for all of Europe's democracies to be an essential part of a Europe whole and free. Therefore, we must contribute to the stabilisation and reconstruction of South Eastern Europe. Nations in this region have had to face the problems of transition we all face. But they have been confronted with additional risks and challenges arising from armed conflicts beyond their borders and historic instability. For this reason, we note with particular pride the firmness and temperate resolve that the Republic of Albania and the Republic of Macedonia have shown in the face of recent adversity.
We regard the EU and NATO as twin institutional pillars of the Euro-Atlantic. They have played a key role in the transition of new democracies and the integration of Europe. We believe, however, that NATO remains the core of transatlantic security and European stability and that the security dimension of the EU will serve to reinforce NATO's capability. These complementary and mutually reinforcing institutions represent the foundation of the Euro-Atlantic community and constitute the security framework on which our nations rely. The addition of three Central European states to NATO in 1999 has already contributed to the security, stability and cohesion of the new Europe, just as the EU's steps toward further enlargement have encouraged new democracies to embark on important political and economic reforms.
We believe that these processes must continue. As they do, the integration of each new democracy into the Alliance and the Europe Union will enlarge and strengthen the new Europe. The integration of each new democracy into the Alliance and the Union will be a major success towards the realisation of the historic chance that the Fall of the Berlin Wall has given to us all. We were particularly proud to have been joined in our discussions by President Havel whose words and example continue to inspire us in our work. In this regard, we note that the NATO Summit in Prague 2002 has been called "a rendezvous with history" and offers us the opportunity to take a major step towards the completion of the historic project begun by the leaders of Solidarity and Charter 77.
Finally, as a continuation of the political process that began in Vilnius in May 2000 and was reaffirmed by nine Prime Ministers in Bratislava today, we agreed that the Heads of State of our countries would hold a Summit of the New Democracies in Sofia, Bulgaria on October 5, 2001.