PES Council opens today in Sofia

Swoboda, Schulz and Stanishev arriving to the PES Council

Stanishev, Swoboda and Schulz in strong call for fairer Europe

The PES Council gathered today, 22 June, in Sofia (Bulgaria). Under the title “Building a fairer future for Europe”, this major event set the PES agenda for the months ahead and kick-started the preparations for the 2014 EU elections.

The Council reaffirmed the PES commitment to the values of democracy, equality and solidarity. These values are the cornerstone of the PES Fundamental Programme, a document that will be adopted by Council delegates and will serve as basis to the PES manifesto for the European elections of 2014.

As pointed out by PES President Sergei Stanishev in the opening speech; “the forthcoming European elections are our opportunity to put our solutions and core values at the very top of the EU agenda. We must give life back to the European idea and restore credibility in the institutions. Citizens want to believe that this crisis will not last forever, that a better, more social Europe is possible. We count on them and they count on us: we must bring Europe back to the citizens”.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz stressed that; “we need a new Europe that speaks to people's real concerns: they are waiting for our solutions to tackle youth unemployment; they expect a fairer, democratic and social Europe; and, above all, they demand a decent life for themselves and their children. People are waiting for answers now”.

Mr. Schulz also praised PES president Sergei Stanishev for his statesmanship under strong local pressures. He said that he was; “proud of Sergei's leadership of the PES and his open approach”.

President of the Socialists & Democrats (S&D) Group in the European Parliament Hannes Swoboda stated: “I am very happy to be in Sofia at the PES Council, to underline the importance of close cooperation of all progressive forces in Europe. Together we can steer Europe out of the crisis and create a fairer Europe, based on equality and social justice”.

Mr. Swoboda also addressed the need for cooperation on reforming the financial sector. "We need to fight tax havens. One trillion euro is lost every year, when this money should be used for investment in jobs and growth. Citizens want their money back".

During the meeting, PES leaders and delegates presented concrete proposals to develop a European industrial policy based on innovation and a highly skilled work-force. Instead of competing with emerging economies by reducing wages and workers' protection, the socialist and social democratic family pushed for investing in requalification of workers to boost sustainable growth and improve working conditions for all Europeans.

Furthermore, the PES Council issued an appeal for a European Youth Guarantee. After the intensive work of PES leaders, MEPs, MPs and thousands of highly motivated campaigners, today the Council echoed the mobilization generated by the PES throughout Europe in the last year and called for the European Youth Guarantee to be quickly implemented and its budget reinforced.