PES leadership discusses 2019 manifesto, outlines common candidate process

16/03/2018

PES presidency

Members of the PES presidency chaired by Sergei Stanishev

Senior representatives from progressive parties across Europe met today to discuss the party’s manifesto for the 2019 European elections.

In the PES Presidency meeting, partner organisations affiliated to the PES also pledged their support for the campaign, including the Socialists & Democrats Group in the European Parliament, PES Women, the PES group in the European Committee of the Regions, and the Young European Socialists.

PES president Sergei Stanishev said:

"We know that our priorities — social justice, solidarity, equality — are the right priorities for the future of Europe. That’s why the entire progressive family is mobilised to fight in 2019.

"To resist the rise of populism and the far right, European citizens desperately need an alternative to the failed conservative-led austerity policies of the past. We can only make these changes if we have a strong progressive voice at the heart of the European Union."

Discussions on the manifesto built on the comprehensive resolution on the future of Europe agreed at the PES Council in December 2017.

Members of the PES Presidency also discussed the current state of social democracy across Europe following recent elections and events, and extended their support in particular to member parties in Germany and Italy. We wish success to the SPD as it enters a new government in Germany, and we stand firm with PD Italy and its acting leader Maurizio Martina.

Presidency members were also briefed on the common candidate (Spitzenkandidat) process for 2019. The PES is firmly committed to this process, which brings more democracy and transparency to the European institutions by putting the power to choose the president of the Commission in the hands of citizens at the ballot box when they vote in the European elections.

Earlier today, the first meeting of the PES common candidate working group was chaired by Ruairi Quinn. The role of the working group is to propose how the PES will select its common candidate, including exploring the possibility of holding primaries if there is more than one internal candidate.

Ruairí Quinn, PES treasurer and chair of the common candidate working group, said:

"It’s clear that the common candidate process brings democracy and transparency to the election of the President of the Commission. It was a clear success in the 2014 elections and it would be an extraordinary backwards step to try to reverse this progress.

"That's why we are fully committed to improving democracy and transparency, both in the way the President of the Commission is elected, and in how we choose our own PES candidate for this position."

The PES presidency unanimously decided to send a high-level fact-finding mission to Bulgaria regarding the position of the Bulgarian Socialist Party opposing the ratification of the Istanbul Convention.

The Presidency also adopted a statement on the situation in Afrin, Syria and its region, regretting the current failure of the peace process and urging all the involved parties to find a way to cooperate in order to achieve a peaceful, sustainable solution to the conflict and save lives.