Our values

Our values

Since the beginning of the PES movement, our fundamental values have been democracy, freedom, equality, peace and justice. These values belong together and, combined, they form a moral compass to build progressive societies. We are committed to fighting for social justice, growth and jobs, consumer rights, clear rules for the financial sector and human rights and sustainable development around the world. We are working to shape progressive European policies and make Europe work for its people.

We have come a long way and continue our fight for a better, more progressive Europe. Let’s work for democracy, freedom, equality, peace and justice. Let’s work for a better Europe, together!

Read our declaration of principles

Our Values

  • Democracy

    For 150 years we have been spreading democracy all over Europe. For us, democracy means many things. It is the rule of law, the freedom of speech, information and deliberation, the fight against discrimination, the respect of privacy and human dignity.

    Democracy is voting

    Europe is experiencing a decline in civic participation, decreases in political and social capital, lower levels of voter turnout and a lack of trust in politics and politicians. We see the problem of voting abstention as a major political challenge and we are ready to present policy initiatives to address it.

    Democracy is also engagement

    It is important to give citizens a chance to participate in European policies. Without an active engagement of citizens, democracy will not only cease to improve, but past success will also be threatened. In 2010 we created the Network of Migration and Integration where specialists and stakeholders meet to debate about the best possible practices, proposals and positions towards a common European Migration and Integration strategy. In 2013 we launched the PES Democracy Network to promote democracy and support all aspects of democratization by strengthening freedom, equality, solidarity, justice and the rule of law. We have launched the “My Democracy Matters!” initiative to promote discussions and let the voice of citizens to be heard and to involve citizens for the future of democracy.

    Democracy is a fundamental right

    Europe is witnessing the rise of extremist movement on the fringes of the political spectrum with ideologies promoting intolerance, disrespecting minorities and polarizing our societies. Austerity policies, the accountability deficit and continuing economic challenges for citizens have weakened trust in political institutions and in democracy. This has created fertile ground for the re-emergence of nationalism, hate speech and the politics of fear. Europe needs a coordinated and collective answer to these threats that respects fundamental liberties.

  • Freedom

    Freedom is a central concept of every democratic society. We support the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the European Chart of Human Rights.

    Freedom of movement

    Freedom of movement is a fundamental right and founding principle of European Union. Voluntary mobility is at the core of European citizenship and is one of the keys to the success of the single market. We cannot close European borders, we rather need to strengthen the management of our common external border. The free movement of people according to Schengen agreement is a fundamental right and one of our most valued achievements for people’s everyday lives. We believe in inclusive, free and open societies.

  • Equality

    No one should be excluded on the basis of their origin, religion, or political opinion. All citizens must have the same rights and duties. Equality is the cornerstone of our values and the fight against all forms of inequality remain at the heart of the PES political actions. Our objective is that no one is ever left behind.

    Equality in the economics

    The economy must always serve the society, and not the other way around. Europeans, women and men, must have access to decent job with decent pay, so they can rely on themselves. Europe needs stronger rules which guarantee equal pay for equal work and which pave the way for decent minimum wages in all Member States.

    We fight to make the gender pay gap become a thing of the past, so that women are fully represented in all sectors and levels of society.

    Today, nearly 19 million Europeans who want to work cannot find a job, including nearly a quarter of all young people. 120 million in Europe are near or under the poverty threshold. Creating jobs for young people is a challenge which will define Europe, for this generation and the next, and will remain a key priority for us as part of our long-term commitment to full employment.

    Equality in the society

    We are fighting for a Europe that leaves no one behind. A decent income, the quality and affordability of education, of housing, including social housing, of healthcare; childcare and care for the elderly, as well as the adequacy of pensions are crucial components of our social systems. The European Union must support Member States in the effective and fair redistribution of wealth and the creation of fair opportunities for all. The European Union needs to become a real Social Union as much as it is an Economic Union because economic freedom cannot outweigh social rights. The principle of equality must be at the heart of what it means to be a European citizen.

    Discrimination has to end

    We are fighting for a Europe that respects everybody’s rights. Europe must ensure that all Europeans live under the Rule of Law, without any kind of discrimination based on race, religion, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation or any other. Europe must also live up to its moral and legal obligation to offer safe access, protection and asylum to those who are fleeing war, dictatorship or persecution.

  • Peace

    The European Union must carry the universal principles of democracy, peace and respect for human rights. In a globalized and changing world, with conflicts and growing inequalities, Europe must be a global player and build a strong alliance to respond to challenges. We want Europe to have a strong voice and the proper tools to lead in promoting peace, democracy and shared prosperity throughout the world. Europe must combine defence, development, trade and diplomacy efforts to maximize the positive effects in its foreign policy. The European Union must be an effective agent of peace abroad and an efficient promoter of defence cooperation.

    Peace is international

    Europe has a major role to play on the international scene and must therefore show its commitment vis-à-vis the rest of the world. We are deeply involved in international issues and committed to making this world a safer place, a place of shared prosperity, and a place where human rights and human dignity are at the centre of our everyday life. With policies that support the rule of law, the European Union can help develop stable and peaceful societies. The European Union needs to support actively democratic reforms where needed and promote an agenda of social justice, universal social protection and inclusive socioeconomic development. While it is imperative that our citizens live in a secure and peaceful environment, we have to tread carefully in order not to compromise our fundamental rights and freedoms. The European Union has not only to defend itself, but also to support peacebuilding efforts worldwide, favouring non-violent, civilian conflict solutions.

    Sustainable and social development is a new name for peace. The European Union should speak with one voice and act accordingly when it comes to peace, security and human rights.

    Peace is a cooperation

    In the long run, ensuring stability on the European continent can only be achieved through cooperation. Together with our member parties, we have an important role to play in building alliances with political parties and regional networks around the world. We believe that the role of the European Union has to be a strong point of reference in promoting the values of peace, justice and democracy all over the world. Respect for democracy, human rights, gender equality and the rule of law should be at the heart of European policy. We are supporting strong relations with the Mediterranean region and we support the Eastern Partnership as an important instrument to bring countries closer to the European Union.

  • Justice

    Justice is the rule of law

    Promoting and safeguarding our core values with the right balance between freedom, security and privacy is our main challenge. The European Union is faced with significant challenges in standing up for the Rule of Law. The governments and institutions of some Member States have been particularly problematic. We plead for the introduction of an EU Democracy Scoreboard to monitor whether Member States are complying with our common values and fundamental rights. This is nothing new, all the members of the Union committed themselves to live by these principles when they joined the EU.

    United against fear

    We believe that the European Union must guarantee the safety of all its citizens. Strengthening the cooperation between the Member States is essential to be able to fight terrorism effectively, in full respect of the citizens’ fundamental rights. Combatting terrorism and radicalization must go hand in hand with an intensified dialogue to promote truly inclusive societies.