PES Council sends Europe a message of Fairness, Sustainability, and Respect
Social and economic inequality, the climate crisis, challenges to European values – citizens want action, and socialists and social democrats have the answers.
Fairness, Sustainability, Respect – these are the three pillars of the progressive offering to voters. This was the message today as heads of state and government, European Commissioners and leaders from the Party of European Socialists (PES) took to the stage for the annual PES Council.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, and Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela, joined the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli, European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, S&D Leader Iratxe García Pérez, and other high-level progressives at the event.
PES President Sergei Stanishev said:
“Social democracy is on the rise, as demonstrated by election wins, at national and local level, in Germany, Norway, Italy, Portugal and elsewhere. Look how many prime ministers we have here with us today. And I am convinced we will have even more soon. People around Europe are turning more and more towards what we provide - social equality, fairness, justice, policies to strengthen our economies after the coronavirus crisis, these are our achievements.
“Our key leaders, our prime ministers, our European Commissioners, our party leaders, are here today to do two things. To celebrate our political achievements this year. It was not an easy year, but it was a very successful year for the social democratic political family. We have had many victories, we are delivering policies which are needed by citizens. And we are here today to propose a vision about the future. Politics is about the future, and we want to show after these painful years of the pandemic, of economic and social downturn, that there is a new path. A progressive path that can create prosperity for all, distributed in a fair way. We must create the feeling in every citizen that no one is left behind.”
Drawing inspiration from recent electoral successes in Germany, Norway, Italy, Portugal and elsewhere, the European socialist and democratic political family set out the progressive vision for the future of Europe.
From leading bold changes to improve social fairness by implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights, to spearheading the world-leading European Green Deal, to defending European values from right-wing attacks, the Council set out PES priorities for the second half of the European electoral cycle.
As part of the PES’s commitment to a sustainable future for Europe, the Council has been certified as a sustainable event, meaning the CO2 emissions of the Council will be offset. The Council will, in fact, have a net positive impact as the PES has agreed to plant 500 trees in Spain – more than needed to cover the emissions from the event, which are low because it has been organised in a way to minimise its environmental impact.
Alongside heads of state and government from the PES political family, keynote speeches were delivered by European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans and S&D Leader Iratxe García Pérez.
European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni, Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, Leader of PD Italy Enrico Letta, and Leader of PS Belgium Paul Magnette spoke on the first panel: For a sustainable future. European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit, Leader of SPÖ Austria Pamela Rendi-Wagner, Leader of Syriza Greece Alexis Tsipras, and President of the Young European Socialists Alicia Homs MEP spoke on the second panel: For fair chances. The third panel – For a Europe of respect – featured European Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli, Leader of KinAl/PASOK Nikos Androulakis MEP, Leader of SD Slovenia and Chair of the PES Democracy Network Tanja Fajon MEP, and Vice-President of the European Parliament Katarina Barley MEP.
The Council resolution was presented by Chair of the PES Social Europe Network Agnes Jongerius MEP, Chair of the PES Energy and Climate Change Network Javi López MEP, Chair of the PES Democracy Network and Leader of SD Slovenia Tanja Fajon MEP, Chair of the PES Financial and Economic Network and President of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies Maria João Rodrigues, Vice President of the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions Enrico Rossi, President of PES Women Zita Gurmai MP, President of the Young European Socialists Alicia Homs MEP, President of the European Senior Organisation Jos Bertrand, and President of Rainbow Rose Camila Garfias.
The streamlined event – which has been organised with strictly reduced physical participation given the continuing COVID-19 health risks – took place in Brussels, Belgium, at the Square Conference Centre and in full compliance with COVID-19 regulations.