Europe’s progressives call for EPP and ECR to support democracy and prosperity for all Europeans

03/12/2020 - PES Presidency adopts three strong declarations on the importance of the Rule of Law; support for SMEs and fair taxation for digital giants; and eliminating gender-based violence, and issues a statement on accession negotiations with North Macedonia

PES Presidency meeting

PES presidency members meeting by videoconference today

Member parties and organisations of the Party of European Socialists today jointly called on the European People’s Party and the European Conservatives and Reformists to take swift and decisive action to protect the Rule of Law, democracy, and the social and economic recovery of Europe.

Unanimously adopting a declaration - PES Presidency call: support democracy and prosperity for all Europeans – the PES calls on the Hungarian and Polish governments, as well as those enabling their actions, to immediately stop vetoing the way forward for a social and sustainable recovery. The historic agreement on the long-term European Budget and the recovery package must be put in place, with Rule of Law conditionality.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“When it comes to austerity, Europe’s right-wing political parties cannot act soon enough. But when Europe’s citizens and businesses desperately need support, they sit on their hands and say nothing can be done. The Council reached agreement in July, Parliament fast-tracked its scrutiny, and yet we are now standing still on the recovery and MFF. The EPP and ECR have to take responsibility. They must stand up for democracy and prosperity. Citizens will not forgive them if they frustrate the recovery any longer.”

The PES Presidency – the decision-making body of the PES, bringing together member parties and organisations, full and associated – met online to discuss the recovery, support for Europe’s SMEs, gender-based violence, and accession negotiations with North Macedonia.

Presidency members discussed the need to create a level playing field for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are vital for economic growth and job creation. Alongside the impact of the pandemic, these businesses have to compete with ‘digital giants’ that pay little or no tax.  The Presidency adopted a declaration calling for fair taxation for large online businesses and more support for SMEs.

The meeting also adopted a declaration condemning gender-based violence. The PES is proud to stand up for gender equality as a fundamental value of the European Union. Following the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November, the PES, as progressive feminists, reiterates its commitment to fight for a Europe where everyone, no matter their gender, can lead a life free from violence. Read the full declaration.

The Presidency noted its disappointed that EU accession negotiations for the Republic of North Macedonia are facing an early setback, after the Bulgarian government moved to block the process. The meeting commended Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev for continuing to demonstrate courage and leadership as he looks for a way through the deadlock. The Presidency adopted a statement urging Bulgaria and North Macedonia to enter an in-depth dialogue and warned that the negotiation stalemate is leading to rising nationalism and right-wing rhetoric in both countries.

Presidency members also discussed the upcoming PES Congress, the Conference on the Future of Europe, and other upcoming PES events and activities.