The 2004 Council in Vienna marked our first anniversary as an independent European political party.
We begun our Council with a first session on “Our Europe”, a discussion on the common vision social democrats should now develop on the role and direction of the European Union. This debate was of particular importance after the results of the referenda in France and the Netherlands. We are faced with the challenge of reaching out to people’s concerns with a strong vision for the future of Europe.
The PES Council continued our work of strengthening the PES as a political actor at EU level, championing the priorities of European social democrats. Following the adoption of our PES declaration on the EU policy agenda 2005-2009 in December of last year, the PES Council set out our political priorities for the implementation of this agenda in 2006. This is highly important in enabling a timely and relevant influence on the policies pursued by the EU institutions.
Since our Leaders’ meeting of December 2004, the PES has also been implementing our decision to set up an initiative on tackling Europe’s demographic challenges and for a new Growth and Investment Strategy for Europe. The Council allowed us a first opportunity to debate these two highly important political issues.