The Confederation of Socialist Parties becomes the Party of European Socialists


The PES is rooted in the labour movements that originated in the 19th century and has a proud history of fighting for workers’ rights and good living conditions for everyone. We are the sum of 33 European full member parties from the EU and beyond, who have been working together for over 30 years to make Europe fairer, more democratic, and more sustainable.

  • 1950s

    The European socialists met for the first time under the name “Socialist International”. To increase European integration, After the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, six European socialist parties from the European Communities founded the “Socialist Parties of the European Community”, a precursor of the PES.

  • 1960s

    A first attempt of a common European Socialist Programme fails in 1961.

    A year later, socialists push for democratisation on the European level and for powers for a directly-elected European Parliament, an idea finally considered in 1969.

  • 1970s

    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 throughout Europe. First common European election manifesto approved ahead of the first EU direct election, in 1979.


    Conference of European socialist leaders at the Marriot Hotel in Amsterdam, April 1977

  • 1980s

    First Statute of the Confederation of Socialist Parties is approved in 1980. EC socialist leaders agree to support the plan for a Single Market, provided that there is a parallel “social dimension” to it, in a special meeting hosted by François Mitterrand during the presidency of 1984.

    Olof Palme Former Prime Minister of Sweden

    Olof Palme, social democrat Prime Minister of Sweden from 1969 to 1976 and 1982 to 1986

  • 1990s

    The Confederation of Socialist Parties becomes the Party of European Socialists

    The Confederation of Socialist Parties becomes the Party of European Socialists

    The fall of the Berlin Wall increases the need for cooperation in the old member states to prepare for the historical developments set in motion. The Confederation evolves into the Party of European Socialists.

    The first programme of the party concentrates on job creation, democracy, gender equality, environmental and consumer protection, and peace and security. The “Women’s Committee” is born.

  • 2000s

    A PES activists movement, consisting of activists from the member parties is formed. After the financial crisis, the PES launches a European campaign for a Financial Transaction Tax to limit speculation and raise money for public use. Party members agree to have a common candidate for the upcoming European Parliament elections.

    Activists at the PES Congress in 2006, Porto

    Activists at the PES Congress in 2006, Porto

  • 2010s

    In 2010, the political foundations linked to our parties come together to form the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS). A PES project, the “Youth Guarantee” addressing youth unemployment, becomes EU law. In 2014 Martin Schulz runs as PES common candidate for the European Parliament elections. The PES campaigns for the extension of the Youth Guarantee into a “European Youth Plan”, for jobs, education, culture and special guarantees for the needs of children. The European Social Pillar is proclaimed in Goteborg in 2017. In 2019, Frans Timmermans runs as PES common candidate for the European Parliament elections.

    Congress - Frans Timmermans as Common candidate

    Congress – Frans Timmermans as Common candidate

  • 2020s

    Our programme and Frans Timmermans’ campaign for the European election becomes the basis for the European Green Deal, the most ambitious bid for sustainability ever enacted. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit Europe’s healthcare systems and economies, the PES campaigns for an ambitious recovery plan, resulting in the Next Generation EU plan. Following Russia’s war of aggression on Ukraine, the REPowerEU plan, presented by Frans Timmermans in 2022, aimed at reducing Europe’s energy dependency by up to two thirds.