PES history


The European socialists met for the first time under the name “Socialist International”. In 1957, to increase European integration, six European socialist parties founded the “Socialist Parties of the European Community”.


The Socialists in the European Parliament attempted to produce a common European Socialist Programme in 1961. Due to the application of Britain, Denmark, Ireland and Norway to join the European Communities, the common programme was put aside. A year later, in 1962, the Socialists pushed for democratization on the European level and powers for the European Parliament. The idea was considered in 1969.


The enlarged Socialist Congress met in 1973 and inaugurated the Confederation of the Socialist Parties of the European Community. The Congress passed a resolution on social policy, including the right to decent work, social security, democracy and equality in the European economy. In 1978, the Confederation approved the first common European election manifesto, which concentrated on jobs, pollution, discrimination, protecting the consumer, peace, human rights and civil liberties.



In 1980, Socialist Congress approved the first Statute of the Confederation of Socialist Parties. Four years later, another common socialist manifesto was approved, which proposed a socialist remedy for the economic crisis by establishing a link between industrial production, protection of the fundamental social benefits and the fight for an improved quality of life.



PES becomes a political party

The Confederation of Socialist Parties becomes the Party of European Socialists 

In 1992, the Confederation was transformed into the Party of European Socialists. The first programme of the party concentrated on job creation, democracy, gender equality, environmental and consumer protection, peace and security, the regulation of immigration, the fight against racism and fighting organised crime.





PES activists at PES Congress 2006, Porto

Activists at the PES Congress in 2006, Porto

In 2006, the PES Activists movement was created in order to connect European politics and citizens. The movement helps in local campaigns, communities and contributes to PES Congresses. Three years later, in 2009, the party members agreed to have a common candidate for the upcoming European Parliament elections.





Martin Schulz campaign

European election campaign, with PES Spitzencandidate Martin Schulz

In 2010, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) was created as the political foundation of the PES. In 2011, the PES Council made the decision that the next PES candidate for the European Commission President should be democratically elected. The then 27 member states, grouped together at the European Council, supported our idea and we run the 2014 European election with our common candidate Martin Schulz. He travelled over 10000 km to all corners of Europe meeting citizens and presenting the PES Manifesto. Later that year, he was re-elected as the President of the European Parliament.

In 2016, we launched the European Youth Plan Campaign, based on 4 pillars: jobs, education, culture and special guarantees for the needs of children. Learn more about it here.

Ahead of the European Elections of 23-26 May 2019, the PES elected Frans Timmermans as our common candidate and prepared a common Manifesto. The campaign mobilized thousands of activists and citizens all over Europe for a fairer EU with Frans Timmermans as President of the European Commission.

 Congress - Frans Timmermans as Common candidate