Progressive Leaders united on future of Europe

09/03/2017

Family photo - 9 March 2017

Heads of state and government from the Party of European Socialists met today in Brussels to discuss the future of Europe and preparations for the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome later this month.

Also in attendance were members of the European Commission and the leader of the Socialist & Democrat MEPs, Gianni Pittella.

At the top of the agenda was the future of Europe.

Following discussions, we reiterate our determination to match jobs and growth with a strong social pillar so that the benefits of economic growth can be fairly shared among all Europe’s citizens. From the Commission’s white paper, we believe that the so-called ‘status quo’, ‘single market only’ and ‘less Europe’ proposals (white paper options 1, 2, and 4) risk harmful unravelling of progress of the last sixty years – or even the European Union’s disintegration.

PES president Sergei Stanishev said:

“This fundamental debate about the future of Europe is long overdue. We recognise that this is only the start of the discussion process, but socialist and social democrat leaders can already set out our red lines.

“We are determined to seize this opportunity to implement the changes for which we argue: a binding social dimension, strong rights, and policies to promote quality jobs, equality and diversity. And we will not accept changes which threaten any of these objectives.

“Any form of enhanced cooperation must be constructed in such a way that solidarity among all EU countries is preserved, and must not lead to the creation of first-class and second-class member states.”

Following discussions about the Presidency of the European Council, we believe Europe needs stability at such a crucial time for its future.

Mr Stanishev said:

“The EU needs stability at this moment, but it will also require political equilibrium in the EU institutions. We must find a way for progressive voices to be heard there, so that the Union's social agenda can be safeguarded.

 “We will continue to put social issues at the top of the agenda when we host the EU summit in Rome later this month, and again in the autumn at the major EU conference on jobs and social priorities in Gothenburg, Sweden.”

Leaders also agreed that they will continue to seek ways to safeguard the priorities of socialists and social democrats in EU decision-making.

On defence and security, we warmly welcome progress towards an effective common security and defence policy, as envisaged by Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. We are committed to a genuinely shared policy which manages the challenges of migration, fighting terrorism and cross-border crime, while protecting the rights and freedoms which are crucial to open and democratic societies.

Leaders also discussed the situation in the Western Balkans and clearly underlined the importance of the European Union's continued attention and concern. Only through support from the EU can these countries achieve the stability and progress they need.

The PES meeting took place in advance of the full European Council later today. In attendance were:

  • François Hollande, President of France
  • António Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal
  • Paolo Gentiloni, Prime Minister of Italy
  • Sorin Grindeanu, Prime Minister of Romania
  • Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden
  • Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta
  • Christian Kern, Chancellor of Austria
  • Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister of Czech Republic
  • Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luxembourg
  • Alexis Tsipras (observer), Prime Minister of Greece
  • Fofi Gennimata, President of PASOK, Greece
  • Gianni Pittella, leader of the S&D group in the European Parliament
  • Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy
  • Frans Timmermans, European Commission
  • Pierre Moscovici, European Commission
  • Corina Cretu, European Commission
  • Karl-Heinz Lambertz, Committee of the Regions