Party of European Socialists explained

Party Name:Party of European Socialists
Party Name It:Partito Socialista Europeo
Party Name De:Sozialdemokratische Partei Europas
Party Name Dk:De Europæiske Socialdemokrater
Party Name Fr:Parti socialiste européen
Party Name Sk:Strana socialistických eurokokotov
Party Name Pt:Partido socialista europeu
Party Name Es:Partido socialista europeo
Party Name Bg:Партия на европейските социалисти
Party Name Gr:Ευρωπαϊκό Σοσιαλιστικό Κόμμα
Party Name Pl:Partia Europejskich Socjalistów
Party Articletitle:Party of European Socialists
President:Poul Nyrup Rasmussen MEP (party)
Martin Schulz MEP (group)
Foundation:1953 (group)
1973 (confederation)
1992 (party)
Ideology:Social democracy,
Third Way,
Democratic socialism
International:Socialist International
Europarl:Forms own group
Headquarters:Rue du Trône/Troonlaan, 98
1050 Brussels, Belgium

The Party of European Socialists (PES) is a European political party comprising of thirty-three socialist, social democratic and labour parties from each European Union member state and other European nations such as Norway. PES forms a parliamentary group in the European Parliament, the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, which is the second largest grouping with over 200 MEPs.

The Party was founded in 1992 and is led by Poul Nyrup Rasmussen MEP. However the history of the Socialist Group goes back to the beginning of the European Parliament in 1953. Until the 1999 European election it had been the largest group elected in Parliament. The group is currently led by Martin Schulz MEP.


In 1952 the Socialist Group was formed and in 1973 the Confederation of Socialist Parties was founded, later becoming the Party of European Socialists in 1992. The party had done well in elections, being the largest single group in Parliament, until 1999 after the Santer Commission crisis.


In 1953, the European Parliament had been established (as the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community), socialist Paul Henri Spaak was elected as its first President. The social democrats within the chamber established the Socialist Group to work and vote together. Guy Mollet MEP was elected as its first chair and a bureau and secretariat was established in Luxembourg. In 1961 the socialists attempted to produce a common European Socialist Programme but were eclipsed by the applications for enlargement. Their 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 1964 the first woman chair was elected: Käte Strobel MEP. In 1971, once more a socialist, Walter Behrendt, is elected President of the Parliament.[1]

In 1973, Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined the European Community bringing in new parties from these states. The enlarged Socialist Congress meet 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. In 1975 Socialist Georges Spénale was elected President of the Parliament.[1]


With the first direct elections to Parliament coming in 1979, the Confederation approved the first common European election manifesto. The manifesto had aims to ensure a right to decent work, fight pollution, end discrimination, protect the consumer and promote peace, human right and civil liberties. They following year they won 113 of the 411 seats making them the largest single group. The Confederation approved its first statue in 1980 and the accession of Greece, then Spain and Portugal in that decade brought in more parties. Socialist Piet Dankert served as Parliament president between 1983 and 1984. In the 1984 election they won 164 of the 518 seats.[1]

In 1987 the Single European Act comes into force the Socialist Group begin co-operation with the People's Party Group in order to generate the majorities demanded under the cooperation procedure.[2] With the exception of the 1999-2004 People's-Liberal coalition[3] the post of President of the Parliament has been split between the EPP and PES from this point on, with the PES Presidents being Enrique Barón Crespo MEP, Klaus Hänsch MEP and Josep Borrell Fontelles MEP. This left-right coalition has dominated Parliament for this period.[4]

Creation of the party

In the 1989 election they won 180 of the 518 seats. In 1992, with the creation of the European Union, the Confederation was transformed into the Party of European Socialists. The first manifesto of the party concentrated on job creation, gender equality, environmental and consumer protection, peace and security, regulation of immigration, discouragement of racism, fighting organised crime and democracy. They went onto win 215 of the 626 seats in the 1994 election, the largest and most cohesive group, and Pauline Green MEP was elected Group President, its second female leader.[1]

In 1999, the Parliament sparked a crisis when it refused to approve the Commission's handling of the EU budget. Allegations of corruption centred on two socialist members of the Commission (Commissioner Édith Cresson and Commissioner Manuel Marín), leading PES to view it as an attempt to discredit them ahead of the 1999 elections. So while the People's Party withdrew support from the Commission to force the member's resignation, the Socialists defended the Commission and attempted to bloc that move with Pauline Green MEP attempting a vote of confidence in the Commission. During this period the two parties took on a rare government-opposition dynamic with the Socialists taking on the position of the government-supporting party. However they eventually withdrew their support which forced the resignation of the Santer Commission.[5]

In the following elections, the People's Party defeated the Socialists, taking 233 seats to the Socialists' 180.[6] 2004 brought in a further 10 member states and new parties with them. In the 2004 election the Party lost again, winning just 200 of the 732 seats.[1]

Historical leaders

Presidents of the Party of European Socialists and its predecessors.[7]

colspan=2PresidentStateNational partycolspan=2Term
1.Wilhelm Dröscher GermanySocial Democratic PartyApril 1974January 1979
2.Robert Pontillon FranceSocialist PartyJanuary 1979March 1980
3.Joop den Uyl NetherlandsLabour PartyMarch 1980May 1987
4.Victor Constancio PortugalSocialist PartyMay 1987January 1989
5.Guy Spitaels BelgiumSocialist PartyFebruary 1989May 1992
6.Willy Claes BelgiumSocialist Party DifferentNovember 1992October 1994
7.Rudolf Scharping GermanySocial Democratic PartyMarch 1995May 2001
8.Robin Cook United KingdomLabour PartyMay 2001April 2004
9.Poul Nyrup Rasmussen DenmarkSocial DemocratsApril 2004-

Presidents of the Socialist Group in Parliament;[1]

colspan=2PresidentStateNational partycolspan=2Term
1.Guy Mollet FranceFrench Section of the Workers' International19531956
2.Hendrik Fayat BelgiumSocialist Party19561958
3.Pierre Lapie FranceFrench Section of the Workers' International19581959
4.Willi Birkelbach GermanySocial Democratic Party19591964
5.Käte Strobel GermanySocial Democratic Party19641967
6.Francis Vals FranceFrench Section of the Workers' International19671974
7.Georges Spénale FranceSocialist Party19741975
8.Ludwig Spénale GermanySocial Democratic Party19751979
9.Ernest Glinne BelgiumSocialist Party19791984
10.Rudi Arndt GermanySocial Democratic Party19841989
11.Jean-Pierre Cot FranceSocialist Party19891994
12.Pauline Green United KingdomLabour Party19941999
13.Enrique Barón Crespo SpainSpanish Socialist Workers' Party19992004
14.Martin Schulz GermanySocial Democratic Party2004-


PES is of course founded by socialist parties and hence carries that tradition. Their headline policy is New Social Europe, of a "fairer, more inclusive, and more dynamic society" for Europe. It is based on a report written by PES President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen and former President of the European Commission Jacques Delors[8] and has ten principles;


There are thirty-three member parties from all the twenty-seven member states and Norway (however, the Smer party is currently suspended). There are a further six associate and seven 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.[10]

The parties meet in 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.[10]

The President (currently Poul Nyrup Rasmussen MEP) 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 (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.[10]

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.[10]

Parliamentary Group

The parliamentary group consists of 215 MEPs, the second largest group in Parliament, from all but two member states.[11] It is led by a President, currently Martin Schulz MEP, and a Bureau of Vice-Presidents.[12]

Other institutions

European Commissioners are meant to remain independent, however there has been an increasing degree of politicisation within the Commission.[13] Six of the twenty-seven Commissioners belong to PES. These are First Vice-President Margot Wallström, Vice-President Günter Verheugen (Enterprise & Industry), Commissioner Joaquín Almunia (Economy), Commissioner Peter Mandelson (Trade), Commissioner Vladimír Špidla (Social) and Commissioner László Kovács (Taxation).[14]

Parties in the Council of Ministers and the European Council are some times subject to coalitions. At present the following countries are led PES members (European Council member in brackets): Bulgaria (Sergey Stanishev), Hungary (Ferenc Gyurcsány), Portugal (José Sócrates), Slovakia (Robert Fico), Spain (José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero) and United Kingdom (Gordon Brown). PES is in coalition in a further six countries: Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Italy and Luxembourg.[14] PES is, like the other parties, also present in other minor institutions such as the Committee of the Regions. There it has 110 members as of 2007.[14]

Member parties

With 33 members it is the only political party to have a member from every EU state, although not all of them have elected MEPs (note: the EPP-ED is the only group to have elected MEPs from every country, but is not a single party).[15]

StateName (original language)Name (English)abbr.MEPs
Sozialdemokratische Partei ÖsterreichsSocial Democratic Party of AustriaSPÖ7
(Flanders)Socialistische Partij AndersSocialist Party Differentsp.a3
(Wallonia)Parti SocialisteSocialist PartyPS4
Българска социалистическа партия
Bălgarska Socialističeska Partija
Bulgarian Socialist PartyBSP5
Κίνημα Σοσιαλδημοκρατών
Kínima Sosialdimokratón
Movement for Social DemocracyEDEK0
Česká strana sociálně demokratickáCzech Social Democratic PartyČSSD2
SocialdemokraterneSocial DemocratsS5
Sotsiaaldemokraatlik ErakondSocial Democratic PartySDE3
Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen PuolueSocial Democratic Party of FinlandSDP3
Parti SocialisteSocialist PartyPS31
Sozialdemokratische Partei DeutschlandsSocial Democratic Party of GermanySPD23
Πανελλήνιο Σοσιαλιστικό Κίνημα
Panellínio Sosialistikó Kínima
Panhellenic Socialist MovementPASOK8
rowspan=2Magyar Szocialista PártHungarian Socialist PartyMSZP9
Magyarországi Szociáldemokrata PártSocial Democratic Party of HungaryMSZDP0
Páirtí an Lucht OibreLabour PartyLab.1
Partito SocialistaSocialist PartyPS4
Latvijas Sociāldemokrātiskā Strādnieku PartijaSocial Democratic Workers' Party of LatviaLSDSP0
Lietuvos Socialdemokratų PartijaSocial Democratic Party of LithuaniaLSDP2
Lëtzebuerger Sozialistesch ArbechterparteiLuxembourg Socialist Workers' PartyLSAP1
Partit LaburistaLabour PartyPL3
Partij van de ArbeidLabour PartyPvdA7
Det norske ArbeiderpartiNorwegian Labour PartyDNAN/A[16]
rowspan=2Sojusz Lewicy DemokratycznejDemocratic Left AllianceSLD5
Unia PracyLabour UnionUP0
Partido SocialistaSocialist PartyPS12
Partidul Social DemocratSocial Democratic PartyPSD10
Smer – sociálna demokracia[17] Direction - social democracySmer3
Socialni demokratiSocial DemocratsSD1
Partido Socialista Obrero EspañolSpanish Socialist Workers' PartyPSOE24
Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetarepartiSocial Democratic Workers' Party of SwedenS5

(Great Britain)
colspan=2Labour PartyLabour19

(Northern Ireland)
colspan=2Social Democratic and Labour PartySDLP0
colspan=5Non-PES parties who sit with the PES Group in the European Parliament
Партия Български социалдемократи
Partija Balgarski socialdemokrati
Party of Bulgarian Social DemocratsPBS1
rowspan=3colspan=2Giulietto ChiesaIND1
Partito DemocraticoDemocratic PartyPD9[18]
Sinistra DemocraticaDemocratic LeftSD3
rowspan=2Socjaldemokracja PolskaSocial Democracy of PolandSDPL3
Samoobrona Rzeczpospolitej PolskiejSelf-Defense of the Republic of PolandSRP1

Associate and observer parties

StateName (original language)Name (English)abbr.Status
Partit SocialdemòcrataSocial Democratic PartyPSObserver
Socijaldemokratska Partija BiHSocial Democratic PartySDPObserver
Партия Български социалдемократи
Partija Balgarski socialdemokrati
Party of Bulgarian Social DemocratsPBSAssociate
Socijaldemokratska Partija HrvatskeSocial Democratic Party of CroatiaSDPAssociate
SamfylkinginSocial Democrat AllianceSObserver
Labour PartyLPObserver
Vitality - TogetherMYObserver
Социјалдемократски Сојуз на Македонија
Socijaldemokratski Sojuz na Makedonija
Social Democratic Union of MacedoniaSDSMAssociate
Partito dei Socialisti e dei DemocraticiParty of Socialists and DemocratsPSDObserver
Демократска странка
Demokratska stranka
Democratic PartyDSObserver
Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz /
Parti socialiste suisse
Social Democratic Party of SwitzerlandSP/PSAssociate
rowspan=2Cumhuriyet Halk PartisiRepublican People's PartyCHPAssociate
Demokratik Toplum PartisiDemocratic Society PartyDTPAssociate

External links

Notes and References

  1. Web site: History. Socialist Group website. 2007-11-11.
  2. Web site: EPP-ED Chronology - 1981-1990. EPP-ED Group website. 2007-11-07.
  3. Web site: Interview: Graham Watson, leader of group of Liberal Democrat MEPs. Euractiv. 2004-06-15. 2007-11-01.
  4. Web site: Settembri. Pierpaolo. Is the European Parliament competitive or consensual ... "and why bother"?. PDF. Federal Trust. 2007-02-02. 2007-10-07.
  5. Web site: Ringer. Nils F.. The Santer Commission Resignation Crisis. University of Pittsburgh. February. 2003. PDF. 2007-10-07.
  6. Web site: EPP-ED Chronology - 1991-2000. EPP-ED Group website. 2007-11-07.
  7. Web site: Former PES Presidents. PES website. 2008-01-21.
  8. Web site: [h The New Social Europe]. Party of European Socialists. 2007-12-10.
  9. Web site: New Social Europe: Ten principles for our common future. PDF. 2006-12-08. 2007-12-10.
  10. Web site: How does PES work?. PES website. 2007-11-07.
  11. Web site: MEPs by Member State and political group – sixth parliamentary term. Europa (web portal). 2007-11-07.
  12. Web site: Presentation. Socialist Group website. 2007-11-07.
  13. Web site: Mahony. Honor. EU Observer. Brussels struggles with communication policy.. 2007-05-07. 2007-05-12.
  14. Web site: The Socialist Family in the EU. PES CoR Group website. 2007-11-07.
  15. Web site: PES Members. PES website. 2007-11-07.
  16. Norway is outside the European Union, hence this party does not participate in European elections.
  17. Membership suspended from 12 October 2006 until 14 February 2008 due to Smer's coalition with the ultra-nationalist Slovenská národná strana.
  18. Your MEPs : By country and political group