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Party of European Socialists
Sozialdemokratische Partei Europas
Parti socialiste européen
Partito Socialista Europeo
Partido socialista europeo
Ευρωπαϊκό Σοσιαλιστικό Κόμμα
Partia Europejskich Socjalistów
Partido socialista europeu
Sosyalist Partinin Avrupa
De Europæiske Socialdemokrater
Партия на европейските социалисти
Páirtí Sóisialach na hEorpa
Partidul Socialiştilor Europeni
President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen MEP
Founded 1953 (Group)
1973 (Confederation)
1992 (Party)
Headquarters Rue du Trône/Troonlaan, 98, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Ideology Social democracy
International affiliation Socialist International
European Parliament Group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Official colours Red
Politics of the European Union
Political parties

The Party of European Socialists (PES) is a European political party comprising thirty-two socialist, social democratic and labour parties from each European Union member state and Norway. The PES is led by President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen MEP. Its aims include:

  • The strengthening of the socialist and social democratic movement in the Union and throughout Europe.
  • The development of close working relationships between the national parties, the national parliamentary groups, the Parliamentary Group of the PES, PES Women, ECOSY, and other socialist and social democratic organisations.
  • The definition of common policies for the European Union.
  • The adoption of a common manifesto for elections to the European Parliament.



In 1961, the Socialists in the European Parliament attempted to produce a common European Socialist Programme but were neglected due to the applications of Britain, Denmark, Ireland and Norway to join the European Communities. The Socialist's 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.

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.[1]

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. The Luxembourg Congress approved the first Statue of the Confederation of Socialist Parties in 1980. The accession of Greece in 1981, followed by Spain and Portugal in 1986 brought in more parties. In 1984 another common Socialist election manifesto was approved at a congress in Luxembourg. The Manifesto proposed a socialist remedy for the economic crisis by establishing a link between industrial production, protection of the fundamental social benefits and the fight for an improved quality of life.[1]

In 1992, with the European Communities becoming the European Union and with the Treaty of Maastricht establishing the framework for political parties at the European Level, the Confederation was able to mobilize a majority of delegates in favour of transforming the Confederation into the Party of European Socialists. The first programme of the party concentrated on job creation, democracy, gender equality, environmental and consumer protection, peace and security, regulation of immigration, discouragement of racism and fighting organised crime.[1]

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.


Presidents of the Party of European Socialists and its predecessors.[2]

President State National party Term
1. Wilhelm Dröscher  Germany Social Democratic Party (SPD) April 1974 January 1979
2. Robert Pontillon  France Socialist Party (PS) January 1979 March 1980
3. Joop den Uyl  Netherlands Labour Party (PvdA) March 1980 May 1987
4. Vítor Constâncio  Portugal Socialist Party (PS) May 1987 January 1989
5. Guy Spitaels  Belgium Socialist Party (PS) February 1989 May 1992
6. Willy Claes  Belgium Socialist Party (SP) November 1992 October 1994
7. Rudolf Scharping  Germany Social Democratic Party (SPD) March 1995 May 2001
8. Robin Cook  United Kingdom Labour Party May 2001 April 2004
9. Poul Nyrup Rasmussen  Denmark Social Democrats (SD) April 2004 -


Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, the current PES President

There are thirty-two member parties from all the twenty-seven member states and Norway. There are a further five associate and six observer parties. PES is an associated organisation of the Socialist International. Ecosy is the youth organisation of PES and PES Women is the party's women's organisation, led by Zita Gurmai MEP.[3]

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 quarter Congress) shapes PES policy. The Congress also elects the party's President, Vice Presidents and the Presidency.[3]

The most recent Council was held in Madrid in December 2008 and the next Congress with be held in Prague in late 2009.

The President (currently former Danish Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen) represents the party on a daily basis and chairs the Presidency, which also consists of the Secretary General, President of the PES group in Parliament (the PSE, see below) and one representative per full 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 representatives from associate parties and organisations.[3]

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.[3]

PES in 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.[4] Although the current Barroso Commission is dominated by conservatives and liberals, five of the twenty-seven Commissioners belong to PES. These are First Vice-President Margot Wallström, Commissioner Joaquín Almunia (Economy), Commissioner Catherine Ashton (Trade), Commissioner Vladimír Špidla ( Social) and Commissioner László Kovács (Taxation).[5]

European Council

Party-alignment at the European Council is often loose, but has been the basis of some intergovernmental cooperation. At present the following countries are led by a PES-affiliated leader, who represents that state at the European Council: Bulgaria (Sergey Stanishev), Hungary (Gordon Banjai)Portugal (José Sócrates), Slovakia (Robert Fico), Spain (José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero) and United Kingdom (Gordon Brown). 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 a further six countries: Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Italy and Luxembourg.[5]

Committee of the Regions

PES has 110 members in the Committee of the Regions as of 2007.[5]

Member parties

With 32 members it is the only political party to have a member from every EU state, although not all of them have elected MEPs.[6]

State Name (national language) Name (English) abbr. MEPs
 Austria Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs Social Democratic Party of Austria SPÖ 7
 Belgium (Flemish Community) Socialistische Partij Anders Socialist Party Different SPa 3
 Belgium (French Community) Parti Socialiste Socialist Party PS 4
 Bulgaria Българска социалистическа партия
Bălgarska Socialističeska Partija
Bulgarian Socialist Party BSP 5
 Cyprus Κίνημα Σοσιαλδημοκρατών
Kínima Sosialdimokratón
Movement for Social Democracy EDEK 1[7]
 Czech Republic Česká strana sociálně demokratická Czech Social Democratic Party ČSSD 2
 Denmark Socialdemokraterne Social Democrats SD 5
 Estonia Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Erakond Social Democratic Party SDE 1
 Finland Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue Social Democratic Party of Finland SDP 3
 France Parti Socialiste Socialist Party PS 14
 Germany Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands Social Democratic Party of Germany SPD 24[8]
 Greece Πανελλήνιο Σοσιαλιστικό Κίνημα
Panellínio Sosialistikó Kínima
Panhellenic Socialist Movement PASOK 8
 Hungary Magyar Szocialista Párt Hungarian Socialist Party MSZP 4
Magyarországi Szociáldemokrata Párt Hungarian Social Democratic Party MSZDP 0
 Ireland Páirtí an Lucht Oibre / Labour Party Labour Party Lab. 3
 Italy Partito Socialista Italiano Italian Socialist Party PSI 4
 Latvia Latvijas Sociāldemokrātiskā Strādnieku Partija Social Democratic Workers' Party of Latvia LSDSP 0
 Lithuania Lietuvos Socialdemokratų Partija Social Democratic Party of Lithuania LSDP 2
 Luxembourg Lëtzebuerger Sozialistesch Arbechterpartei Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party LSAP 1
 Malta Partit Laburista Labour Party PL 3
 Netherlands Partij van de Arbeid Labour Party PvdA 7
 Norway Det norske Arbeiderparti Norwegian Labour Party DNA N/A[9]
 Poland Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej Democratic Left Alliance SLD 5
Unia Pracy Labour Union UP 0
 Portugal Partido Socialista Socialist Party PS 12
 Romania Partidul Social Democrat Social Democratic Party PSD 10
 Slovakia Smer – sociálna demokracia[10] Direction - social democracy Smer 5
 Slovenia Socialni demokrati Social Democrats SD 1
 Spain Partido Socialista Obrero Español Spanish Socialist Workers' Party PSOE 24
 Sweden Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti Social Democratic Workers' Party of Sweden SAP 5
 United Kingdom
(Great Britain)
Labour Party Labour Party LP 19
 United Kingdom
(Northern Ireland)
Páirtí Sóisialta Daonlathach an Lucht Oibre Social Democratic and Labour Party SDLP 0

Associated parties

State Name (original language) Name (English) abbr. Status
 Albania Partia Socialiste e Shqipërisë Socialist Party PSS Associate
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Socijaldemokratska Partija BiH Social Democratic Party SDP Associate
 Bulgaria Партия Български социалдемократи
Partija Balgarski socialdemokrati
Party of Bulgarian Social Democrats PBS Associate
 Croatia Socijaldemokratska Partija Hrvatske Social Democratic Party of Croatia SDP Associate
 Iceland Samfylkingin Social Democrat Alliance S Associate
 Macedonia Социјалдемократски сојуз на Македонија
Socijaldemokratski sojuz na Makedonija
Social Democratic Union of Macedonia SDSM Associate
 Montenegro Demokratska Partija Socijalista Crne Gore Democratic Party of Socialists DPS Associate
 Montenegro Socijaldemokratska Partija Crne Gore Social Democratic Party SDP Associate
 Serbia Демократска странка
Demokratska stranka
Democratic Party DS Associate
 Switzerland Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz /
Parti socialiste suisse
Social Democratic Party of Switzerland SP/PS Associate
 Turkey Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi Republican People's Party CHP Associate
 Turkey Demokratik Toplum Partisi Democratic Society Party DTP Associate

Observer parties

State Name (original language) Name (English) abbr. Status
 Andorra Partit Socialdemòcrata Social Democratic Party PS Observer
 Israel העבודה
Labour Party LP Observer
Vitality - Together MY Observer
 San Marino Partito dei Socialisti e dei Democratici Party of Socialists and Democrats PSD Observer
 Turkey Cumhuriyetçi Türk Partisi Republican Turkish Party CTP Observer


  1. ^ a b c "History". Socialist Group website. Retrieved 2007-11-11.  
  2. ^ "Former PES Presidents". PES website. Retrieved 2008-01-21.  
  3. ^ a b c d "How does PES work?". PES website.,en/. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  
  4. ^ Mahony, Honor (2007-05-07). "Brussels struggles with communication policy.". EU Observer. Retrieved 2007-05-12.  
  5. ^ a b c "The Socialist Family in the EU". PES CoR Group website. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  
  6. ^ "PES Members". PES website.,en/. Retrieved 2007-11-07.  
  7. ^ Kyriacos Mavronicholas, since June 2009
  8. ^, Linke Europa-Politikern tritt zur SPD über, 14. Mai 2009
  9. ^ Norway is outside the European Union, hence this party does not participate in European elections.
  10. ^ Membership suspended from 12 October 2006 until 14 February 2008 due to Smer's coalition with the Slovenská národná strana.

External links


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