The Congress will be a way to put forward our objectives - strengthening the Progressive shift that has started in Europe, rebuilding confidence between society and politics and better linking the local, national, and European levels - and completing the renewal process started in 2010.
Indeed, the reflection on the fundamental programme, as part of the renewal process, is a follow-up of the workshops organised at the Convention in November 2011 and of the policy Forums organised at the PS HQ in June 2012. The Congress will be divided in four themes of debate: active democracy, equal societies, a just world and a fair economy. The outcome of these debates will be the last part of the contribution phase to the Fundamental Programme and will kick start the drafting phase, which should continue into 2013.
Moreover, this Congress will also be a milestone before the 2014 European elections and before key national elections, which will take place in the coming months (in the Netherlands, in Germany and in Italy, to name a few). The time has come for our political family to regain power and to implement credible alternatives, in order to re-create growth and to fight youth unemployment and not have an austerity-only approach, which has so far not taken Europe out of the crisis. Together we will work towards the Europe we need!
Our values, justice, solidarity, equality and progress, have to be at the core of all our policies, in order to combat attacks on the democratic values and the rise of xenophobic and far-right movements. It is therefore crucial to remain the frontrunners of democracy and of its values.
Among these values, gender equality should be central, as it is not only a question of democracy and human rights, but also a way to ensure a more efficient economy, using the talents and skills of everyone.
That’s why PES Women will organise its Annual Conference on 27 September in Bucharest, prior to the Congress. In the context of the PES-PES Women-ECOSY campaign “your future is my future: a European Youth Guarantee now”, we would like to recall that women count when it comes to employment and consequently that a gender angle should be included in all the policies aiming at tackling youth unemployment.
This means looking at how to combat the specific causes of youth unemployment among women, namely gender segregation in education and on the labour market as well as the lack of work-life balance on the one hand and on the other hand to put the way to effectively ensure jobs for young women, through gender budgeting, the development of green economy and the inclusion of more women in scientific careers.
As you can see, PES Women will be very active in the autumn. So, before meeting again to continue our work for the Europe we need, I would like to wish you all a very relaxing summer break!