PES strengthens cooperation with national parties



PES holds a joint seminar with BSP on campaign management ahead of local elections in Bulgaria. A seminar on local elections, jointly organised by PES and the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) was held over the weekend in Varna, Bulgaria. The seminar attracted a large number of prominent participants, including PES President Sergei Stanishev and PES Secretary General Achim Post, BSP leadership including Chairman Mihail Mikov, Members of Parliament, local politicians, party activists and young people. During the seminar, experts from the socialist parties in Germany, Sweden and Croatia shared their experience on making local elections and campaigns.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said: "My goal is to bring PES closer to national parties so that it can continue to be a reliable platform for practical help and support for the whole network of the socialist family. PES will organise a number of events in the coming months to support its member parties".

PES Secretary General Achim Post said: "I strongly believe that it still makes a great difference whether one votes for the Left or the Right, be it on local, national or European level. In order to have the strong Europe we all want, we need the input and efforts of every single country". He added: "We are now stronger and more united in our positions than ever: stronger in the European Parliament, but also stronger in the European Council". Mr Post reminded of the strong Common candidate campaign for the last European elections which secured the positions of the socialists in the European Parliament while other groups suffered heavy losses.

PES President Stanishev also shared the view that BSP needs to face its right-wing opponent with a strong political debate on issues and policies of substance in order to differentiate and distinguish itself in the political spectrum, even more so in local elections. He said: "Decentralisation remains important and the municipalities should have the resources to address the local problems. As socialists and democrats, we remain focused on the concrete people and issues, not only on mega-projects".

Commenting on local issues raised during the seminar, Sergei Stanishev criticised the decision of the ruling majority in Bulgaria to seek 8 billion euro of additional loans. He reminded that growth and jobs cannot be created with additional debt and that Europe is now going in a different direction, seeking new solutions, such as the Investment plan and the European Fund for Strategic Investments, which were largely due to the efforts of the socialist family.