PES President to ETUC Congress: trade unions and socialists deliver for workers

Pictured on screen: President Löfven addresses the ETUC Congress in Berlin, 24 May 2023

Pictured on screen: President Löfven addresses the ETUC Congress in Berlin, 24 May 2023

Shoulder to shoulder, the trade union movement and Europe’s socialists stand together for a fair deal for workers. This was the message that the President of the Party of European Socialists (PES) Stefan Löfven delivered today at the Congress of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) in Berlin, Germany.

Addressing the ETUC Congress, PES President Stefan Löfven said:

“One very important message is that you, as trade unionists, trade union representatives, are active in politics. We have an upcoming election next year where we will decide what kind of Europe we want to build, what kind of society do we want Europe to be.

“We can build a society where we bring out the best of ourselves, and that’s a society with solidarity that makes sure that we’re leaving no one behind. And there will be a green transition that we can handle because we do it together. So, we have to do this together. Take part in politics, make sure that we decide – with all your trade unions members – that we want a society built on solidarity and not on hostility.”

Beginning his career as a welder for a manufacturer of railcars, Stefan Löfven was a trade union representative, rising to become the President of IF Metal (2006–2012), a Swedish trade union for industrial workers and metalworkers. With this strong trade union experience he entered politics, becoming Leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party (SAP) (2012-2021) and then Prime Minister of Sweden (2014-2021). He has been President of the PES since 2022.

Speaking on the second day of the ETUC Congress, President Löfven focused on how socialists – working with the trade union movement – can strengthen EU action to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and precarious work.

Thanks to efforts of socialist European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, and the S&D Group in the European Parliament, the EU has improved life for workers during this mandate. This includes the Directive on adequate minimum wages, the SURE Instrument to support workers through economic shocks, the European Just Transition Fund to support workers as we make Europe’s economy sustainable, the Directive on Work-Life Balance and much more.

The ETUC is the voice of workers and represents 45 million members from 93 trade union organisations in 41 European countries, plus 10 European sectoral trade union federations. Around 600 national trade union delegates from across Europe – including many General Secretaries and Presidents – will take part in the Congress.

For more on the ETUC Congress, visit the ETUC website.