Party of European Socialists
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Party of European Socialists

The Party of European Socialists (PES) is a social-democratic European political party.[6]

The PES comprises national-level political parties from all member states of the European Union (EU) plus Norway and the United Kingdom. This includes major parties such as the Social Democratic Party of Germany, the French Socialist Party, the British Labour Party, the Italian Democratic Party and the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party. Parties from a number of other European countries and from the Mediterranean region are also admitted to the PES as associate or observer parties.[7] Most member, associate and observer parties are members of the wider Progressive Alliance or Socialist International.[4][5]

The PES is currently led by its president Sergei Stanishev, a former Prime Minister of Bulgaria. Its political group in the European Parliament is the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D). The PES also operates in the European Committee of the Regions (in the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions) and the European Council.


The party's English name is "Party of European Socialists". In addition, the following names are used in other languages:

  • Albanian: Partia e Socialistëve Europianë
  • Bosnian: Stranka europskih socijalista
  • Bulgarian: ?
  • Croatian: Stranka europskih socijalista
  • Czech: Strana evropských socialist?
  • Danish: De Europæiske Socialdemokrater
  • Dutch: Partij van Europese Socialisten
  • Estonian: Euroopa Sotsialistlik Partei
  • Finnish: Euroopan sosialidemokraattinen puolue
  • French: Parti socialiste européen
  • German: Sozialdemokratische Partei Europas
  • Greek:
  • Hungarian: Európai Szocialisták Pártja
  • Icelandic: Flokkur evrópskra sósíalista
  • Irish: Páirtí na Sóisialaithe Eorpach
  • Italian: Partito del Socialismo Europeo
  • Latvian: Eiropas Soci?ldemokr?tisk? partija
  • Lithuanian: Europos socialist? partija
  • Luxembourgish: Partei vun den Europäesche Sozialisten
  • Macedonian: ? ?
  • Maltese: Partit tas-So?jalisti Ewropej
  • Norwegian: Det europeiske sosialdemokratiske partiet
  • Polish: Partia Europejskich Socjalistów
  • Portuguese: Partido Socialista Europeu
  • Romanian: Partidul Sociali?tilor Europeni
  • Serbian: ?
  • Slovak: Strana európskych socialistov
  • Slovene: Stranka evropskih socialistov
  • Spanish: Partido de los Socialistas Europeos
  • Swedish: Europeiska socialdemokratiska partiet

In March 2014 following the congress in Rome, the PES added the tagline "Socialists and Democrats" to its name following the admission of Italy's Democratic Party into the organisation.[8]



In 1961, the Socialists in the European Parliament attempted to produce a common 'European Socialist Programme' but this was neglected due to the applications of Britain, Denmark, Ireland and Norway to join the European Community. The Socialists' 1962 congress pushed for greater democratisation and powers for Parliament, though it was only in 1969 that this possibility was examined by the member states.[9]


In 1973, Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined the European Community, bringing in new parties from these countries. The enlarged Socialist Congress met in Bonn and inaugurated the Confederation of the Socialist Parties of the European Community. The Congress also passed a resolution on social policy, including the right to decent work, social security, democracy and equality in the European economy.[10] In 1978, the Confederation of Socialist Parties approved the first common European election Manifesto. It focused on several goals among which the most important were to ensure a right to decent work, fight pollution, end discrimination, protect the consumer and promote peace, human rights and civil liberties.


At its Luxembourg Congress in 1980, the Confederation of Socialist Parties approved its first Statute. The accession of Greece to the EU in 1981, followed by Spain and Portugal in 1986, brought in more parties.

In 1984, a common Socialist election manifesto proposed a socialist remedy for the economic crisis of the time by establishing a link between industrial production, protection of fundamental social benefits, and the fight for an improved quality of life.[10]


In 1992, with the European Community becoming the European Union and with the Treaty of Maastricht establishing the framework for political parties at a European level, the Confederation of Socialist Parties voted to transform itself into the Party of European Socialists. The party's first programme concentrated on job creation, democracy, gender equality, environmental and consumer protection, peace and security, regulation of immigration, discouragement of racism and fighting organised crime.[10]

Along with the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, the founding members of the PES were:[11]


In 2004 Poul Nyrup Rasmussen defeated Giuliano Amato to be elected President of the PES, succeeding Robin Cook in the post. He was re-elected for a further 2.5 years at the PES Congress in Porto on 8 December 2006 and again at the Prague Congress in 2009.


In 2010, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies was founded as the political foundation (think tank) of the PES.

Mr Rasmussen stood down at the PES Progressive Convention in Brussels on 24 November 2011. He was replaced as interim president by Sergei Stanishev, at the time chairman of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and former prime minister of Bulgaria.

On 28-29 September 2012, the PES Congress in Brussels[12] Congress elected interim president Sergei Stanishev as full President, as well as four deputies: Jean-Christophe Cambadélis (1st Vice-President - PS), Elena Valenciano (PSOE), Jan Royall (Labour) and Katarína Neve?alová (Smer-SD). The same Congress elected Achim Post (SPD) as its new secretary general, and adopted a process which it described as "democratic and transparent" for electing its next candidate for Commission President in 2014.[13]Sergei Stanishev was re-elected PES President on 22-23 June 2015 in Budapest. The Congress also approved Achim Post (SPD) as the Secretary-General as well as the four Vice-Presidents: Jean-Christophe Cambadélis (PS), Carin Jämtin (Swedish Social Democratic Party), Katarína Neve?alová (Smer-SD) and Jan Royall (Labour).

On 7-8 December 2019, the PES Congress gathered in Lisbon to elect its leadership. Sergei Stanishev was confirmed as party President and Achim Post (SPD) as Secretary General. Iratxe García (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party) was elected by the new presidency 1st Vice-President of the PES and Francisco André (Socialist Party (Portugal)), Katarína Neve?alová (Smer-SD) and Marita Ulvskog (Swedish Social Democratic Party) were elected PES Vice-Presidents.


Member parties

The PES has thirty-three full member parties from each of the twenty-seven EU member states, Norway and the UK. There are a further twelve associate and twelve observer parties from other European countries.[14]

State Name abbr. MEPs National MPs
 Austria Social Democratic Party of Austria
Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs
 Belgium Socialist Party
Parti socialiste
[. 1]
[. 1]
Socialist Party - Differently
Socialistische Partij Anders
[. 2]
[. 2]
 Bulgaria Bulgarian Socialist Party

Bulgarska sotsialisticheska partiya
 Croatia Social Democratic Party of Croatia
Socijaldemokratska partija Hrvatske
 Cyprus Movement for Social Democracy
Kinima Sosialdimokraton
 Czech Republic Czech Social Democratic Party
?eská strana sociáln? demokratická
 Denmark Social Democrats
 Estonia Social Democratic Party
Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Erakond
 Finland Social Democratic Party of Finland
Suomen sosialidemokraattinen puolue
Finlands socialdemokratiska parti
 France Socialist Party
Parti socialiste
 Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany
Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands
 Greece Panhellenic Socialist Movement
Panellínio Sosialistikó Kínima
 Hungary Hungarian Socialist Party
Magyar Szocialista Párt
 Ireland Labour Party
Páirtí an Lucht Oibre
 Italy Democratic Party
Partito Democratico
Italian Socialist Party
Partito Socialista Italiano
 Latvia Social Democratic Party "Harmony"[15]
Soci?ldemokr?tisk? partija "Saska?a"
 Lithuania Social Democratic Party of Lithuania
Lietuvos socialdemokrat? partija
 Luxembourg Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party
Lëtzebuerger Sozialistesch Aarbechterpartei
Parti ouvrier socialiste luxembourgeois
Luxemburger Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei
 Malta Labour Party
Partit Laburista
 Netherlands Labour Party
Partij van de Arbeid
 Norway Labour Party
AP Not in EU
 Poland Democratic Left Alliance
Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej
Labour United
Unia Pracy
 Portugal Socialist Party
Partido Socialista
 Romania Social Democratic Party
Partidul Social Democrat
 Slovakia Direction - Social Democracy
Smer - sociálna demokracia
 Slovenia Social Democrats
Socialni demokrati
 Spain Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
Partido Socialista Obrero Español
 Sweden Swedish Social Democratic Party
Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti
 United Kingdom Labour Party Lab (GB) Not in EU
Social Democratic and Labour Party
Páirtí Sóisialta Daonlathach an Lucht Oibre
SDLP (NI) Not in EU
Associated parties
State Name abbr. European MPs National MPs
 Albania Socialist Party of Albania
Partia Socialiste e Shqipërisë
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Socijaldemokratska partija Bosne i Hercegovine
 Bulgaria Party of Bulgarian Social Democrats

Partiya Bulgarski Sotsialdemokrati
 Iceland Social Democratic Alliance
 Moldova Democratic Party of Moldova
Partidul Democrat din Moldova
 Montenegro Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro
Demokratska partija socijalista Crne Gore
Social Democratic Party of Montenegro
Socijaldemokratska partija Crne Gore
 North Macedonia Social Democratic Union of Macedonia
Socijaldemokratski Sojuz na Makedonija
 Serbia Democratic Party
Demokratska stranka
(election boycott)
  Switzerland Social Democratic Party of Switzerland
Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz
Parti socialiste suisse
Partito Socialista Svizzero
Partida Socialdemocrata de la Svizra
 Turkey Republican People's Party
Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi
Peoples' Democratic Party
Halklar?n Demokratik Partisi
Partiya Demokratîk a Gelan
Observer parties
State Name abbr. European MPs National MPs
 Andorra Social Democratic Party
Partit Socialdemòcrata
 Armenia Armenian Revolutionary Federation
Hay Yeghap'vokhakan Dashnakts'ut'iwn
 Egypt Egyptian Social Democratic Party
al-?izb al-Ma?r? al-Dimuqr al-Ijtm
 Georgia Georgian Dream
? - ?
Kartuli ocneba - Demok'rat'iuli Sakartvelo
 Israel Israeli Labor Party
? ?
Mifleget HaAvoda HaYisrelit

 Latvia Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party
Latvijas Soci?ldemokr?tisk? str?dnieku partija
 Morocco Socialist Union of Popular Forces
? ?
Al-Ittihad Al-Ishtirakiy Lilqawat Al-Sha'abiyah
Union Socialiste des Forces Populaires
 Northern Cyprus Republican Turkish Party
Cumhuriyetçi Türk Partisi
 Palestine Fatah

 San Marino Party of Socialists and Democrats
Partito dei Socialisti e dei Democratici
 Serbia Party of Freedom and Justice
? ? ?
Stranka slobode i pravde
(election boycott)
 Tunisia Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties
at-Takattul ad-D?muqr min ajl il-'Amal wal-?urriyy?t
Forum démocratique pour le travail et les libertés
  1. ^ a b French-speaking seats
  2. ^ a b Flemish seats

Constituent organisations

The youth organisation of the PES is the Young European Socialists. PES Women is the party's women's organisation, led by Zita Gurmai. The LGBTI campaign organisation is Rainbow Rose.[16]

International memberships

PES is an associated organisation of Socialist International and the Progressive Alliance.

President and Presidency

The President (currently former Prime Minister of Bulgaria Sergei Stanishev) represents the party on a daily basis and chairs the Presidency, which also consists of the Secretary General, President of the S&D group in Parliament and one representative per full/associate member party and organisation. They may also be joined by the President of the European Parliament (if a PES member), a PES European Commissioner and a representative from associate parties and organisations.[16]

The list below shows PES presidents and the presidents of its predecessors.[17]

President State National party Term Photo
1. Wilhelm Dröscher  Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany April 1974 January 1979 No image.svg
2. Robert Pontillon  France Socialist Party January 1979 March 1980 No image.svg
3. Joop den Uyl  Netherlands Labour Party March 1980 May 1987 Joop den Uyl 1975.jpg
4. Vítor Constâncio  Portugal Socialist Party May 1987 January 1989 Vítor Constâncio 2017 (cropped).jpg
5. Guy Spitaels  Belgium Socialist Party February 1989 May 1992 No image.svg
6. Willy Claes  Belgium Socialist Party November 1992 October 1994 Willy Claes - Filip Naudts.jpg
7. Rudolf Scharping  Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany March 1995 May 2001 Scharping.jpg
8. Robin Cook  United Kingdom Labour Party May 2001 24 April 2004 Robin Cook-close crop.jpg
9. Poul Nyrup Rasmussen  Denmark Social Democrats 24 April 2004 24 November 2011 Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, Danmarks tidigare statsminister, numera EU-parlamentariker.jpg
10. Sergei Stanishev  Bulgaria Bulgarian Socialist Party 24 November 2011 - Sergey Stanishev 2009 elections diff crop.jpg


The parties meet at the party Congress twice every five years to decide on political orientation, such as adopting manifestos ahead of elections. Every year that the Congress does not meet, the Council (a smaller version of the Congress) shapes PES policy. The Congress also elects the party's President, Vice-Presidents and the Presidency.[16]

The Leader's Conference brings together Prime Ministers and Party Leaders from PES parties three to four times a year to agree strategies and resolutions.[16]

European election primaries

In December 2009, the PES decided to put forward a candidate for Commission President at all subsequent elections.[18] On 1 March 2014, the PES organised for the first time a European election Congress where a Common Manifesto[19] was adopted and the Common Candidate designate for the post of Commission President, Martin Schulz, was elected by over a thousand participants in Rome, Italy. In 2019, progressives elected Frans Timmermans as PES Common Candidate to the European Elections, during the Election Congress in Madrid on 22-23 February 2019.

PES in the European institutions

Overview of the European institutions

European Parliament

European Commission

European Commissioners are meant to remain independent, however there has been an increasing degree of politicisation within the Commission.[20] In the current European Commission, nine of the Commissioners belong to the PES family.

European Council

Of the 27 heads of state and government that are members of the European Council, 6 are from the PES, and therefore regularly attend PES summits to prepare for European Council meetings.

European Council and Council of Ministers

The states of the European Union by the European affiliations of their leaders, as of 15 January 2021
Does not account for coalitions. Key to colours is as follows: (AT, BG, CY, DE, GR, HR, HU, LV, RO, SI, SK) (BE, CZ, EE, IE, FR, LU, NL) (DK, ES, FI, MT, PT, SE)
  Independent (2)
(IT, LT) (PL)

Party-alignment at the European Council is often loose, but has been the basis of some intergovernmental cooperation. At present seven countries are led by a PES-affiliated leader, who represents that state at the European Council: Spain (Pedro Sánchez), Portugal (Antonio Costa), Malta (Robert Abela), Denmark (Mette Frederiksen), Finland (Sanna Marin) and Sweden (Stefan Löfven).

The makeup of national delegations to the Council of Ministers is at some times subject to coalitions: for the above governments led by a PES party, that party may not be present in all Council configurations; in other governments led by non-PES parties a PES minister may be its representative for certain portfolios. PES is in coalition in the following countries: Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and Luxembourg.


Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Committee of the Regions

PES has 122 members in the Committee of the Regions as of 2014.[21]


  1. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram (2019). "European Union". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 8 June 2017. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ a b Richard Dunphy (2004). Contesting Capitalism?: Left Parties and European Integration. Manchester University Press. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-7190-6804-1.
  3. ^ John Pinder, Simon Usherwood (2013). The European Union: A Very Short Introduction. OUP Oxford. ISBN 978-0-1915-03931.
  4. ^ a b "Member parties of the Progressive Alliance". 1 February 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Member parties of Socialist International". 1 February 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  6. ^ Robert Thomson (2011). Resolving Controversy in the European Union: Legislative Decision-Making Before and After Enlargement. Cambridge University Press. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-139-50517-8. Retrieved 2013.
  7. ^ "Member parties of the PES". 1 February 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  8. ^ "Il PSE "omaggia "il PD cambiando ufficialmente nome: PSE - Socialists&Democrats" (in Italian). 2 March 2014. Retrieved 2016.
  9. ^ "Northern European Social Democracy and European Integration, 1960-1972. Moving towards a New Consensus?". Retrieved 2013.
  10. ^ a b c "History". Socialist Group website. Archived from the original on 1 November 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  11. ^ Skrzypek, Ania (2013). "Europe, Our Common Future" Celebrating 20 years of the Party of European Socialists (PDF). Belgium: FEPS - Foundation for European Progressive Studies. ISBN 978-3-85464-037-0.
  12. ^ "Together for the Europe we need!". Zita Gurmai, President of PES Women. 26 July 2012. Archived from the original on 19 August 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  13. ^ "Ethics in politics : For strong moral conduct through a strong moral code" (PDF). PES Presidency declaration. 14 April 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 August 2011. Retrieved 2012.
  14. ^ "About the PES?". PES website. Retrieved 2016.
  15. ^ "Saska?a joins Party of European Socialists". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. LETA. 27 November 2017. Retrieved 2018.
  16. ^ a b c d "How does PES work?". PES website. Archived from the original on 30 October 2007. Retrieved 2007.
  17. ^ "Former PES Presidents". PES website. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 2008.
  18. ^ "A New Direction for Progressive Societies. Resolution N. 2 A new way forward. Adopted by the 8th PES Congress" (PDF). PES. 8 December 2009. Retrieved 2010.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "PES Manifesto Towards a New Europe. Adopted by Election Congress 2014 in Rome" (PDF). PES. 1 March 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  20. ^ Mahony, Honor (7 May 2007). "Brussels struggles with communication policy". EU Observer. Retrieved 2007.
  21. ^ "PES Group Members". Archived from the original on 6 January 2013. Retrieved 2015.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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