PES Democracy Network: socialists will push back against far-right normalisation

Participants in the PES Democracy Network meeting by videoconference

Participants in the PES Democracy Network meeting by videoconference

Rising far-right influence – enabled by Christian democrats – presents a fundamental challenge to the European project, members of the Democracy Network of the Party of European Socialists (PES) warned today.

Rights for women, asylum seekers, the LGBTI community, and other minority groups – fundamental values of the EU – are threatened. And fundamental EU policies – such as a just green transition – are subject to coordinated attacks.

European socialists will fight to defend the European project, representatives of member parties and organisations, MEPs and others affirmed today in the PES Democracy Network.

Chair of the Network, Italian MP Lia Quartapelle, said:

“As history teaches us, the fight against the far-right is never easy. It starts with pushing back against the normalisation of any and all far-right impulses.

“Our Union can be built on our best instincts: bringing people together, for the benefit of all. Or it can be based on our worst instincts: creating fear and division in society.

“Our history as socialists and democrats is to bring people together, behind positive solutions that offer security and a better life for all. Other political families prefer to stoke fear and division. As evidenced by cooperation in Italy, Sweden, Finland and Spain, citizens can no longer count on Christian democrat parties to reject far-right parties.”

The meeting also exchanged on emerging technologies and their impact on democracy. The Network welcomed Brando Benifei, Member of the European Parliament and head of the Italian Delegation, to the meeting to provide a briefing on the EU AI Act. MEP Benifei successfully navigated the file through the European Parliament this month as co-rapporteur.

MP Lia Quartapelle added:

“The EU must set global standards and ensure that the benefits of technologies that have so much to contribute to our societies are available to all.

“However, it is also our job to protect citizens from the potential dangers of such emerging technologies for citizens and democracy. Thanks to socialists and democrats and our relentless efforts to build a society that is forward-looking, but also fair, democratic and safe, the EU is in a position to set global standards for such emerging technologies. Thanks to MEP Brando Benifei and the social democrat family, the European Parliament is entering the trilogues with a very strong position.”

The Network welcomed the vote on the EU AI Act in the Parliament as a step towards properly regulated artificial intelligence which benefits European citizens, without compromising their security, and fundamental and social rights. Socialists and democrats are pushing for the EU – once again – to set the global standard, as it did with the GDPR, the Digital Services Act, and the Digital Markets Act.

The meeting also held an exchange on proposals for a new EU ethics body, presented by the European Commission earlier this month. Ahead of the European elections next year, it is crucial to ensure strong public confidence in the integrity of the EU institutions and European democracy.