Progressives put pivotal change on the EU’s 2020 agenda, PES conferences and Congress will drive this change forward


Pedro Marques MEP at the PES Presidency meeting in Brussels

Pedro Marques MEP at the PES Presidency meeting in Brussels (right)

Europe’s socialist and democratic political family discussed strategy, the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), its upcoming Congress and a series of conferences on its main priorities this year, at a PES Presidency meeting in Brussels today.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

"Our political family has a strong ambition. We want to transform Europe, to make it fairer, more sustainable, and more democratic.

"We campaigned for pivotal change, we put it on the European Commission’s programme, and now we will implement it. At our initiative, the Social Pillar, the Just Transition, the Gender Equality Strategy, and the Child and Youth Guarantees have all been taken up by the Commission. In order to start working on all that, we need a swift agreement on the MFF at the next European Council.

"The series of conferences we are planning will bring our political family together to work on these and new initiatives to transform Europe, so our continent is able to meet the challenges of the future. These events will culminate in a Congress, where our members will endorse this progressive vision for Europe."

The Presidency – which is made up of representatives from the PES, its full member parties and organisations - agreed priorities for the PES for 2020.

These priorities address three transitions Europe is facing – a Just Transition which leaves no one behind as we work to avert climate catastrophe, a digital transition for society and the economy, and a democratic transition focused on gender equality, anti-discrimination, citizen participation, and defence of the rule of law.

PES Presidency meeting in Brussels

Pictured from left: PES Deputy Secretary General Yonnec Polet, PES President Sergei Stanishev, PES Secretary General Achim Post and Andreas Schieder MEP 

The Presidency agreed nine priorities for the progressive political family: better jobs and stronger social rights; a transformative European Green Deal; shaping the digital revolution; an economy based on fairness; a European semester which brings together social, environmental and economic priorities; strong cohesion; gender equality; democracy and home affairs; and, Europe as a constructive international partner.

The PES conferences planned for this year will reflect these priorities and the challenges facing Europe. The first event - on the Future of Europe - will be held in conjunction with Italian PES member party Partito Democratico. Other conferences will take place later this year, focusing on Social Europe, sustainability in Europe, enlargement, and Europe’s role in the world.

The PES conferences will be supported by PES Activists events across Europe. These will engage PES member parties’ activist networks, harnessing their campaigning power at the local level to push for pivotal change.

Following our Presidency discussion today, the PES urges the EU Council to reach an agreement on the MFF at the Special European Council meeting on 20 February, that is able to respect the positions of the European Parliament. We need an ambitious MFF with means to implement our political priorities, to promote cohesion and convergence and the European Green Deal.

PES Presidency meeting in Brussels

Pictured from left: Maj Jensen, Alicia Homs, Kristian Vigenin and UK Labour MP Chi Onwurah at the Presidency meeting in Brussels

The Presidency agreed that the PES Congress – the supreme organ of the PES – will be held in the autumn, the exact date and the host country will be announced after the discussion among all member parties. The Congress will elect the PES President and adopt resolutions and recommendations which will set the strategic direction of the party.

The Presidency was attended by Pedro Marques MEP - S&D and PES Coordinator for the implementation of our progressive Commission Work Programme - who provided an overview on the Commission Work Programme, and S&D Group Secretary General Michael Hoppe, who presented the group’s priorities for this mandate.

Representatives from member parties provided national overviews, and the meeting welcomed recent progressive successes in Croatia, Spain and Emilia-Romagna in Italy, and the unification of the Polish left.


Notes to editors

Photographs from the event are available on Flickr.

About the PES Congress

The Congress is the supreme organ of the PES and lays down the political guidelines of the PES. It elects the President of the PES, confirms the members of the Presidency of the PES, adopts resolutions and recommendations, adopts the report on the activity of the PES, and discusses and takes note of the report of activity submitted by the S&D Group in the European Parliament.

Representatives from full member parties, a representative from each national delegation of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, representatives from the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions, two representatives from each other full member organisation, and the members of the PES Presidency take part with voting rights. All delegations must be gender-balanced.

Congresses are held twice during each parliamentary term of the European Parliament.

About the PES Presidency

The PES Presidency consists of the President (who chairs the meetings), the four Vice-Presidents, one representative of each of the full member parties, one representative from each full-member organisation, the Secretary General, the party Treasurer and the President of Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament. The President of the European Parliament, when they are a member of the Socialist & Democrats Group as is currently the case, also becomes a member of the PES Presidency. One representative per associate party and organisation also takes part.