Party of European Socialists

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Party of European Socialists
President Sergei Stanishev (BG)
Parliament Leader Martin Schulz (President) (DE)
Hannes Swoboda (Group Leader) (AT)
Founded 1953 (Group)
1973 (Confederation)
9–10 November 1992 (Party)
Headquarters Rue du Trône/Troonlaan 98, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Youth wing Young European Socialists
Women's wing PES Women
Ideology Social democracy12
Political position Centre-left
International affiliation Socialist International,
Progressive Alliance
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colours Red
European Parliament
195 / 766
European Council
(Heads of Government)
10 / 28
Council of the European Union
(Participation in Government)
20 / 28
National Upper House Seats
706 / 2,422
National Lower House Seats
2,576 / 7,421
Politics of the European Union
Political parties

The Party of European Socialists (PES) is a social-democratic European political party.3 The PES comprises national-level political parties primarily from member states of the European Union (EU) and other nations of the European continent. The PES member parties are themselves members of the Socialist International. The Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) is the political group in the European Parliament of the PES. The PES also operates in the Committee of the Regions (in the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions) and the European Council. The PES is currently led by Sergei Stanishev, former Prime Minister of Bulgaria.


The party's English name is "Party of European Socialists". In addition, the following names are used in other languages:

  • Partia Socialiste Europiane – Albanian
  • Partija europskih socijalista – Bosnian
  • Партия на европейските социалисти – Bulgarian
  • Stranka europskih socijalista – Croatian
  • Evropská strana sociálně demokratická – Czech
  • De Europæiske Socialdemokrater – Danish
  • Partij van de Europese Sociaaldemocraten – Dutch
  • Euroopa Sotsialistlik Partei – Estonian
  • Euroopan sosialidemokraattinen puolue – Finnish
  • Parti socialiste européen – French
  • Sozialdemokratische Partei Europas – German
  • Ευρωπαϊκό Σοσιαλιστικό Κόμμα – Greek
  • Európai Szocialisták Pártja – Hungarian
  • Flokkur evrópskra sósíalista – Icelandic
  • Páirtí na Sóisialaithe Eorpach - Irish
  • Partito del Socialismo Europeo – Italian
  • Partit tas-Soċjalisti Ewropej – Maltese
  • Eiropas Sociāldemokrātiskā partija – Latvian
  • Europos socialistų partija – Lithuanian
  • Партија на европските социјалисти - Macedonian
  • Det europeiske sosialdemokratiske partiet – Norwegian
  • Partia Europejskich Socjalistów – Polish
  • Partido Socialista Europeu – Portuguese
  • Partidul Socialiștilor Europeni – Romanian
  • Партија европског социјализма – Serbian
  • Strana európskych socialistov – Slovak
  • Stranka evropskih socialistov – Slovenian
  • Partido Socialista Europeo – Spanish
  • Europeiska socialdemokratiska partiet – Swedish
  • Avrupa Sosyalistler Partisi – Turkish

In March 2014 following the congress in Rome, the PES added the suffix "Socialists and Democrats" to its name following the admission of the Democratic Party into the organisation.4



In 1961, the Socialists in the European Parliament attempted to produce a common European Socialist Programme but were neglected due to the applications of Britain, Denmark, Ireland and Norway to join the European Communities. The Socialist's 1962 congress pushed for greater democratisation and powers for Parliament though it was only in 1969 that this possibility was examined by the member states.


In 1973, Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined the European Community bringing in new parties from these countries. The enlarged Socialist Congress met in Bonn and inaugurated the Confederation of the Socialist Parties of the European Community. The Congress also passed a resolution on social policy, including the right to decent work, social security, democracy and equality in the European economy.5 In 1978, the Confederation of Socialist Parties approved the first common European election Manifesto. It focused on several goals among which the most important were to ensure a right to decent work, fight pollution, end discrimination, protect the consumer and promote peace, human rights and civil liberties.


The Luxembourg Congress approved the first Statue of the Confederation of Socialist Parties in 1980. The accession of Greece in 1981, followed by Spain and Portugal in 1986 brought in more parties. In 1984 another common Socialist election manifesto was approved at a congress in Luxembourg. The Manifesto 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.5


In 1992, with the European Communities becoming the European Union and with the Treaty of Maastricht establishing the framework for political parties at the European Level, the Confederation was able to mobilize a majority of delegates in favour of transforming the Confederation 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, regulation of immigration, discouragement of racism and fighting organised crime.5

Along with the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, the founding members of the PES were the Social Democratic Party of Austria, the Socialist Party (Francophone) and the Socialist Party (Flemish) of Belgium, the Social Democrats of Denmark, the Socialist Party of France, the Social Democratic Party of Germany, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement of Greece, the Labour Party of Ireland, the Italian Democratic Socialist Party, Italian Socialist Party and Democratic Party of the Left of Italy, the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party, the Labour Party of the Netherlands, Socialist Party of Portugal, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, Swedish Social Democratic Party and the Labour Party and Social Democratic and Labour Party of the UK.6


In 2004 Poul Nyrup Rasmussen defeated Giuliano Amato to be elected President of the PES, succeeding Robin Cook in the post. He was re-elected for a further 2.5 years at the PES Congress in Porto on 8 December 2006 and for another 2.5 years at the Prague Congress in 2009.

In 2010, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies was founded as the political foundation of the PES.

He resigned at the PES Progressive Convention of Brussels on 24 November 2011, and was replaced by Sergei Dmitrievich Stanishev, chairman of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), elected PES Interim President, by acclamation, by the PES Presidency.

On the same day, the PES Council made the decision that the next PES candidate for Commission President would be democratically elected through a PES presidential primary taking place in January 2014.

Brussels Congress, 28–29 September 2012

The Party of European Socialists (PES) held its latest Congress in Brussels on 28–29 September 2012.7 These congresses are organized every two and a half years,8 once during the year of the elections for the European Parliament, and once at mid-term. The latest Congress elected Sergei Stanishev as PES President, as well as four deputies: Jean-Christophe Cambadélis (1st Vice-President – PS), Elena Valenciano (PSOE), Jan Royall (Labour) and Katarina Nevedalova (Smer-SD) and prepared the 2014 European elections. The same Congress elected Achim Post (SPD) as new Secretary General.

The congress also adopted a process presented by the PES as more democratic and transparent9 for the selection of their candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission in 2014. The PES hope to succeed to José Manuel Barroso 10 benefiting from the failure of the European centre-right find a way out for the crisis in Europe.


Presidents of the Party of European Socialists and its predecessors.11

President State National party Term
1. Wilhelm Dröscher  Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany April 1974 January 1979
2. Robert Pontillon  France Socialist Party January 1979 March 1980
3. Joop den Uyl  Netherlands Labour Party March 1980 May 1987
4. Vítor Constâncio  Portugal Socialist Party May 1987 January 1989
5. Guy Spitaels  Belgium Socialist Party February 1989 May 1992
6. Willy Claes  Belgium Socialist Party November 1992 October 1994
7. Rudolf Scharping  Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany March 1995 May 2001
8. Robin Cook  United Kingdom Labour Party May 2001 24 April 2004
9. Poul Nyrup Rasmussen  Denmark Social Democrats 24 April 2004 24 November 2011
10. Sergei Stanishev  Bulgaria Bulgarian Socialist Party 24 November 2011


There are thirty-two full member parties from all the twenty-eight member states and Norway. There are a further eleven associate and ten observer parties. PES is an associated organisation of the Socialist International. Young European Socialists is the youth organisation of PES and PES Women is the party's women's organisation, led by Zita Gurmai MEP.12

The parties meet at the party Congress twice every five years to decide on political orientation, such as adopting manifestos ahead of elections. Every year that the Congress does not meet, the Council (a quarter Congress) shapes PES policy. The Congress also elects the party's President, Vice Presidents and the Presidency.12

The President (currently former Prime Minister of Bulgaria Sergei Stanishev) represents the party on a daily basis and chairs the Presidency, which also consists of the Secretary General, President of the S&D group in Parliament and one representative per full/associate member party and organisation. They may also be joined by the President of the European Parliament (if a PES member), a PES European Commissioner and a representatives from associate parties and organisations.12

The Leader's Conference brings together Prime Ministers and Party Leaders from PES parties three to four times a year to agree strategies and resolutions.12

In Decembre 2009, disappointed by the European elections results, the PES decided to put forward a candidate for Commission President at all subsequent elections.13 There is a campaign within the party to organise primaries to select this candidate.14

PES in the European institutions

Overview of the European institutions

Organisation Institution Number of seats
 European Union European Parliament
195 / 766
 European Union Committee of the Regions
116 / 344
 European Union European Commission
7 / 28
 European Union European Council
(Heads of Government)
10 / 28
 European Union Council of the European Union
(Participation in Government)
20 / 28
 Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
69 / 318

European Parliament

European Commission

European Commissioners are meant to remain independent, however there has been an increasing degree of politicisation within the Commission.15 Although the current Barroso Commission is dominated by Commissioners from the centre-right EPP (13/27) and the liberal ELDR (8/27), six of the twenty-seven Commissioners belong to PES.

Portfolio Commissioner State Political party Photo
High RepresentativeFirst Vice-President;
Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
AshtonCatherine Ashton
United Kingdom
United Kingdom
Labour Baroness Ashton headshot.jpg
AlmuniaJoaquín Almunia
PSOE Joaquin Almunia Mercosul.jpg
Inter-Institutional Relations and AdministrationVice-President;
Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration
SefčovičMaroš Šefčovič
SMER-SD Maroš Šefčovič.jpg
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries DamanakiMaria Damanaki
PA.SO.K. Maria Damanaki.jpg
Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy FüleŠtefan Füle
Czech Republic
Czech Republic
ČSSD Stefan File.jpg
Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion AndorLászló Andor
MSZP László Andor - World Economic Forum on Europe 2010.jpg
Consumer Protection MimicaNeven Mimica
SDP N mimica.jpg

European Council

The PES has 10 out of the 28 heads of State or Government that attend the PES summits in preparation for the European Council:

Member State Representative Title Political party Member of the Council since Photo
Werner Faymann
Federal Chancellor
Social Democratic Party of Austria
2 December 2008
Elio Di Rupo
Prime Minister
Socialist Party
6 December 2011
Elio Di Rupo - Press Conference.jpg
Plamen Oresharski
Bulgarian Socialist Party
29 May 2013
Plamen Oresharski.jpg
Zoran Milanović
President of the Government
Social Democratic Party of Croatia
23 December 2011
 Czech Republic
Bohuslav Sobotka
Chairman of the Government
Czech Social Democratic Party
29 January 2014
Bohuslav Sobotka 2009.JPG
Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Minister of State
Social Democrats
3 October 2011
François Hollande
Socialist Party
15 May 2012
François Hollande headshot.jpg
Matteo Renzi
President of the Council of Ministers
Democratic Party
22 February 2014
Matteo Renzi cropped.png
Joseph Muscat
Prime Minister
Labour Party
11 March 2013
Joseph Muscat.jpg
Robert Fico
Chairman of the Government
Direction – Social Democracy
4 April 2012
Robert Fico official gov portrait.jpeg

European Council and Council of Ministers

The states of the European Union by the European party affiliations of their leaders, as of 1 March 2014
Does not account for coalitions. Key to colours is as follows;
  Party of European Socialists

Party-alignment at the European Council is often loose, but has been the basis of some intergovernmental cooperation. At present ten countries are led by a PES-affiliated leader, who represents that state at the European Council: Austria (Werner Faymann), Belgium (Elio Di Rupo), Bulgaria (Plamen Oresharski), Croatia (Zoran Milanovic), the Czech Republic (Bohuslav Sobotka), Denmark (Helle Thorning-Schmidt), France (François Hollande), Italy (Matteo Renzi), Malta (Joseph Muscat) and Slovakia (Robert Fico).

The makeup of national delegations to the Council of Ministers is at some times subject to coalitions: for the above governments led by a PES party, that party may not be present in all Council configurations; in other governments led by non-PES parties a PES minister may be its representative for certain portfolios. PES is in coalition in a further six countries: Finland, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Slovenia.


Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Committee of the Regions

PES has 118 members in the Committee of the Regions as of 2012.16

Member parties

With 32 members it is the only political party to have a member from every EU state, although not all of them have elected MEPs.17

State Name abbr. European MPs National MPs
(lower house)
National MPs
(upper house)
 Austria Social Democratic Party of Austria SPÖ
5 / 19
57 / 183
22 / 62
 Belgium Socialist Party PS
3 / 22
26 / 150
13 / 74
Socialist Party – Differently sp.a
2 / 22
13 / 150
7 / 74
 Bulgaria Bulgarian Socialist Party BSP
4 / 18
84 / 240
 Croatia Social Democratic Party of Croatia SDP
5 / 12
60 / 151
 Cyprus Movement for Social Democracy EDEK
1 / 6
5 / 56
 Czech Republic Czech Social Democratic Party ČSSD
7 / 22
54 / 200
46 / 81
 Denmark Social Democrats A
5 / 13
45 / 179
 Estonia Social Democratic Party SDE
1 / 6
19 / 101
 Finland Social Democratic Party of Finland SDP
2 / 13
42 / 200
 France Socialist Party PS
13 / 74
274 / 577
128 / 348
 Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany SPD
23 / 99
193 / 631
33 / 69
. 1
 Greece Panhellenic Socialist Movement PASOK
8 / 22
27 / 300
 Hungary Hungarian Socialist Party MSZP
4 / 22
48 / 386
 Ireland Labour Party Labour
2 / 12
33 / 166
11 / 60
 Italy Democratic Party PD
23 / 73
293 / 630
108 / 315
Italian Socialist Party PSI
0 / 73
4 / 630
3 / 315
 Lithuania Social Democratic Party of Lithuania LSDP
3 / 12
38 / 141
 Luxembourg Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party LSAP
1 / 6
13 / 60
 Malta Labour Party PL
4 / 6
39 / 69
 Netherlands Labour Party PvdA
3 / 26
38 / 150
14 / 75
 Norway Labour Party Ap
64 / 169
 Poland Democratic Left Alliance SLD
5 / 51
25 / 460
0 / 100
Labour United UP
1 / 51
0 / 460
0 / 100
 Portugal Socialist Party PS
7 / 22
74 / 230
 Romania Social Democratic Party PSD
11 / 33
176 / 402
76 / 171
 Slovakia Direction – Social Democracy Smer-SD
5 / 13
83 / 150
 Slovenia Social Democrats SD
2 / 8
10 / 90
0 / 40
 Spain Spanish Socialist Workers' Party PSOE
23 / 54
110 / 350
65 / 266
 Sweden Swedish Social Democratic Party SAP
6 / 20
112 / 349
 United Kingdom Labour Party Labour
13 / 73
257 / 650
217 / 754
Social Democratic and Labour Party SDLP
0 / 73
3 / 650
0 / 754
Associated parties
State Name abbr. - National MPs
(lower house)
National MPs
(upper house)
 Albania Socialist Party of Albania PSS Associate
66 / 140
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina SDP Associate
8 / 42
 Bulgaria Party of Bulgarian Social Democrats PBS Associate
1 / 240
 Iceland Social Democratic Alliance N/A Associate
9 / 63
 Macedonia Social Democratic Union of Macedonia SDSM Associate
42 / 123
 Montenegro Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro DPS Associate
32 / 81
Social Democratic Party of Montenegro SDP Associate
6 / 81
 Serbia Democratic Party DS Associate
49 / 250
  Switzerland Social Democratic Party of Switzerland SP/PS Associate
46 / 200
11 / 46
 Turkey Republican People's Party CHP Associate
144 / 550
Peace and Democracy Party BDP Associate
19 / 550
Observer parties
State Name abbr. Status National MPs
(lower house)
National MPs
(upper house)
 Andorra Social Democratic Party PS Observer
6 / 28
 Israel Israeli Labor Party עבודה Observer
15 / 120
Meretz מרצ Observer
6 / 120
 Latvia Social Democratic Party "Harmony" SDPS Observer
28 / 100
Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party LSDSP Observer
0 / 100
 Moldova Democratic Party of Moldova PDM Observer
15 / 101
 Northern Cyprus Republican Turkish Party CTP Observer
21 / 50
 Palestine Fatah فتح Observer
45 / 132
 San Marino Party of Socialists and Democrats PSD Observer
18 / 60
 Tunisia Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties FDTL Observer
20 / 217
  1. ^ controlled votes through veto power in state coalition governments: 54 of 69


  1. ^ Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  2. ^ Richard Dunphy (2004). Contesting Capitalism?: Left Parties and European Integration. Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-6804-1. 
  3. ^ Robert Thomson (15 September 2011). Resolving Controversy in the European Union: Legislative Decision-Making Before and After Enlargement. Cambridge University Press. pp. 14–. ISBN 978-1-139-50517-8. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c "History". Socialist Group website. Retrieved 11 November 2007. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Together for the Europe we need!". Zita Gurmai, President of PES Woman. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "PES Statutes adopted by the 8th Congress". PES. December 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  9. ^ "Ethics in politics : For strong moral conduct through a strong moral code". PES Presidency declaration. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  10. ^ "Our common candidate for 2014. PES Resolution". PES Council. 24 November 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  11. ^ "Former PES Presidents". PES website. Retrieved 21 January 2008. dead link
  12. ^ a b c d "How does PES work?". PES website. Retrieved 7 November 2007. dead link
  13. ^ "A New Direction for Progressive Societies. Resolution N. 2 A new way forward. Adopted by the 8th PES Congress". PES. 8 December 2009. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 
  14. ^ Phillips, Leigh (12 August 2010). "Socialists want US-style primaries for commission president candidate". EU Observer. Retrieved 17 October 2010. 
  15. ^ Mahony, Honor (7 May 2007). "Brussels struggles with communication policy.". EU Observer. Retrieved 12 May 2007. 
  16. ^ "PES Group Members". Retrieved 2012-12-17. 
  17. ^ "PES Members". PES website. Retrieved 7 November 2007. dead link

External links

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