PES Presidency focuses on action for a fair and sustainable Europe

Pictured from left: PES Vice President Kati Piri, PES Treasurer Caroline Gennez, PES Executive Secretary General Giacomo Filibeck, PES Secretary General Achim Post, PES President Stefan Löfven, PES Executive Vice President Katarina Barley, PES Vice President Victor Negrescu, PES Deputy Secretary General Yonnec Polet.

Pictured from left: PES Vice President Kati Piri, PES Treasurer Caroline Gennez, PES Executive Secretary General Giacomo Filibeck, PES Secretary General Achim Post, PES President Stefan Löfven, PES Executive Vice President Katarina Barley, PES Vice President Victor Negrescu, PES Deputy Secretary General Yonnec Polet.

A Europe with strong social rights – as reinforced through EU social summits – and a sustainable future – as championed in the European Green Deal, these priorities were in focus today at a high-level meeting chaired by the President of the Party of European Socialists (PES) Stefan Löfven.

The PES Presidency – which is composed of the leadership of the PES and representatives of PES member parties and organisations – met this afternoon to adopt three declarations, further strengthening common positions of the PES family ahead of the European elections next year.

Supporting Ukraine, seizing the opportunity of the 2023 Porto Social Forum, and ensuring affordability and security of energy in Europe – these priorities were backed today in the three declarations.

Following the meeting of socialist prime ministers, European Commissioners and leaders earlier this morning in Brussels, the PES Presidency also held a strategic discussion on the next PES Congress and preparations for the upcoming European elections.

Supporting Ukraine one year into the war

Since the very beginning of the invasion the PES family has stood in full solidarity with Ukraine. The PES will continue its efforts to ensure that the EU continues supporting Ukraine while it fights not only for its survival, but for European values. The PES declaration states:

“The PES will continue to stand by Ukraine as long as it takes by supporting its military capabilities, by supporting the people who have been affected by war crimes and the humanitarian crisis that resulted from this horrific war, and by supporting its institutions in providing public services and rebuilding its infrastructure.”

Read the full declaration.

Porto Social Forum 2023: building bridges to a better future

Looking forward to the Social Forum in Porto in May hosted by Prime Minister Antonio Costa and the Portuguese government, the PES Presidency set out its priorities for social rights. The PES declaration begins:

“As Party of European Socialists, we are proud of the landmark advances that our political family has brought in the social agenda in this European mandate. We have brought social issues back to the heart of European policymaking, we have a renewed Youth Guarantee, we established a Child Guarantee and a European Care Strategy. We brought forward legislation for pay transparency and adequate minimum wages. It marked the return of a stronger, fairer Europe, ready to protect its citizens and people living in the EU. At the heights of the pandemic, SURE was put in place to save jobs that would otherwise have been lost in the lockdowns Covid-19 imposed on us. These are all the result of our political family’s fight, of our parties and governments, of our PES Commissioners and of the S&D Group in the European Parliament.”

Read the full declaration.

Energy affordability and energy security are EU imperatives

Europe has to focus its attention on speeding up the implementation of the EU Green Deal, phasing out reliance on fossil fuel, achieving strategic autonomy and ensuring long term energy affordability for all. The PES declaration states:

“We, as the socialist and social-democratic family, have the responsibility to build a new path for European energy policy, considering energy as a common good and giving priority to collective and solidarity solutions to tackle the energy transition and energy market failures.”

Read the full declaration.

Preparations for the upcoming period

The meeting discussed the next PES Congress and the process for member parties to indicate their interest in hosting the event. Work is ongoing to prepare the resolution for the event, in cooperations with member parties and organisations, engaging in consultation with civil society and trade unions, and building on the work already undertaken at the 2022 PES Congress in Berlin.

The PES Presidency further agreed to establish a working group to oversee the selection of a PES ‘spitzenkandidaten’ through a democratic, open and transparent process.

Supporting the rule of law in Georgia

PES Vice President Kati Piri led a discussion on developments in Georgia. The Presidency strongly criticised the Georgian government for its attempts to introduce a “Foreign Agent Law” and the rhetoric of several politicians of Georgian Dream, which have targeted the European Parliament, civil society and other actors defending the rule of law. The PES Presidency will continue to pay close attention to developments in the country and the actions of Georgian Dream.

Supporting progressive values in Slovakia

Ahead of the upcoming elections, the Presidency held an exchange with Smer-SD representatives on the situation in Slovakia. The PES Presidency expressed concern about the reported positions adopted by the leader of Smer-SD. The Presidency underlined that all PES member parties must live up to the values of the social democratic family, namely democracy, respect for international law, the rejection of acts of aggression, and clear support for progressive values.

Defending the rule of law in Israel

Earlier this month, MEP Evin Incir and PES Executive Secretary General Giacomo Filibeck travelled to Israel to visit PES observer member parties – the Israeli Labor Party and the Meretz Party – and show solidarity with progressives, who were demonstrating against far-right government reforms for the eleventh consecutive week. Today, the Presidency exchanged on developments in the country with Jonathan Cummings, International Affairs Advisor to Israeli Labor Party MK Merav Michaeli, and Uri Zaki, Chair of the Executive Board of the Meretz Party. The PES Presidency expressed its solidarity with their fight against the far-right judicial reforms proposed by the Israeli government.

Upcoming elections

The Presidency held a discussion on the upcoming elections, wishing success to Prime Minister Sanna Marin and SDP Finland ahead of the general election next month.

PASOK representative Eleni Chronopoulou provided an overview of developments in Greece, which faces an election in the coming months. The Presidency wished PASOK a strong result in the elections.

The Presidency held an exchange with CHP representative Kader Sevinç and HDP representative Fayik Yagizay on the upcoming elections in Turkey. The Presidency expressed its full support for Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and the Turkish opposition.

Ahead of the Swiss elections later this year, the Presidency held an exchange with Fabian Molina and wished success to the PES associate member party Parti Socialiste Suisse.

Free-to-use high-quality photographs from the event are available on the PES Flickr.

The PES Presidency brings together the PES leadership and representatives of PES member parties and organisations.