Party of European Socialists

Last updated
Party of European Socialists
President Sergei Stanishev (BG)
Secretary-General Achim Post (DE)
Founded1973 (Confederation)
9–10 November 1992 (Party)
HeadquartersRue Guimard 10, 1040 Brussels, Belgium
Think tank Foundation for European Progressive Studies
Youth wing Young European Socialists
Women's wingPES Women
Ideology Social democracy [1] [2]
Political position Centre-left [2]
International affiliation Progressive Alliance [3]
Socialist International [4]
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
European Parliament
191 / 751
European Council
5 / 28
European Commission
8 / 28
European Lower Houses
2,327 / 9,874
European Upper Houses
645 / 2,714

The Party of European Socialists (PES) is a social-democratic European political party. [5]

Social democracy is a political, social, and economic ideology that supports economic and social interventions to promote social justice within the framework of a liberal democratic polity and capitalist economy. The protocols and norms used to accomplish this involve a commitment to representative and participatory democracy; measures for income redistribution and regulation of the economy in the general interest; and welfare state provisions. Social democracy thus aims to create the conditions for capitalism to lead to greater democratic, egalitarian and solidaristic outcomes. Due to longstanding governance by social democratic parties and their influence on socioeconomic policy development in the Nordic countries, in policy circles social democracy has become associated with the Nordic model in the latter part of the 20th century.

European political party type of political party operating on a pan-European level

A European political party is a type of political party organisation operating transnationally in Europe and in the institutions of the European Union. They are regulated and funded by the European Union and are usually made up of national parties, not individuals. Europarties have the exclusive right to campaign during the European elections and express themselves within the European Parliament by their affiliated political groups and their MEPs. Europarties, through coordination meetings with their affiliated heads of state and government, influence the decision-making process of the European Council. Europarties also work closely and co-ordinate with their affiliated members of the European Commission and, according to the Lisbon Treaty the Europarty that wins the European elections has the right to nominate to the European Council its candidate for President of the European Commission.


The PES comprises national-level political parties from all member states of the European Union (EU) plus Norway. This includes major parties such as the Italian Democratic Party, the British Labour Party, the French Socialist Party, Social Democratic Party of Germany and the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party. Parties from a number of other European countries are also admitted to the PES as associate or observer parties. [6] Most member, associate and observer parties are members of the wider Progressive Alliance or Socialist International. [3] [4]

Member state of the European Union state that is party to treaties of the European Union (EU)

The European Union (EU) consists of 28 member states. Each member state is party to the founding treaties of the union and thereby subject to the privileges and obligations of membership. Unlike members of most international organisations, the member states of the EU are subjected to binding laws in exchange for representation within the common legislative and judicial institutions. Member states must agree unanimously for the EU to adopt policies concerning defence and foreign policy. Subsidiarity is a founding principle of the EU.

European Union Economic and poitical union of states located in Europe

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,475,757 km2 (1,728,099 sq mi) and an estimated population of about 513 million. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.

Democratic Party (Italy) political party in Italy

The Democratic Party is a social-democratic political party in Italy.

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 Committee of the Regions (in the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions) and the European Council.

Sergei Stanishev Bulgarian politician

Sergei Dmitrievich Stanishev is a Bulgarian politician who has served as President of the Party of European Socialists since November 2011 and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Bulgaria. He previously served as Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 2005 to 2009, Leader of the Socialist Party from 2001 to 2014 and Member of the National Assembly from 1997 to 2014.

Prime Minister of Bulgaria

The Prime Minister of Bulgaria is the head of government of Bulgaria. He or she is the leader of a political coalition in the Bulgarian parliament – known as the National Assembly of Bulgaria – and the leader of the cabinet.

Political groups of the European Parliament Wikimedia list article

The political groups of the European Parliament are the parliamentary groups of the European Parliament. The European Parliament is unique among supranational assemblies in that its members (MEPs) organise themselves into ideological groups as in traditional national legislatures. The members of other supranational assemblies form national groups. The political groups of the European Parliament are sometimes the formal representation of a European political party in the Parliament. In other cases, they are political coalitions of a number of European parties, national parties, and independent politicians.


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

Albanian language Indo-European language

Albanian is a language of the Indo-European family, in which it occupies an independent branch. It is an official language in Albania, Kosovo, and the Republic of North Macedonia. It also has an official minority status in Italy, Romania, Montenegro, Serbia, and others. The language has an official status in Ulcinj, southern Montenegro. Albanian is also spoken by large Albanian communities elsewhere in Europe, the Americas and Australia.

Bosnian language South Slavic language

The Bosnian language is the standardized variety of Serbo-Croatian mainly used by Bosniaks. Bosnian is one of three such varieties considered official languages of Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with Croatian and Serbian, and also an officially recognized minority or regional language in Serbia, Montenegro, and the Republic of Kosovo.

Bulgarian language South Slavic language

Bulgarian, is an Indo-European language and a member of the Southern branch of the Slavic language family.

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. [7]

In entertainment, a tagline is a short text which serves to clarify a thought for, or is designed with a form of, dramatic effect. Many tagline slogans are reiterated phrases associated with an individual, social group, or product. As a variant of a branding slogan, taglines can be used in marketing materials and advertising.



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. [8]


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. [9] 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. [9]


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. [9]

Along with the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, the founding members of the PES were: [10]


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, chairman of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and former prime minister of Bulgaria.

On 28-29 September 2012, the PES Congress in Brussels [11] 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 Neveďalová (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. [12] The PES had already agreed in 2011 to use a PES presidential primary for the election.


Member parties

The PES has thirty-four full member parties from each of the twenty-eight EU member states and Norway. There are a further thirteen associate and twelve observer parties from other European countries. [13]

StateNameabbr. MEPs National MPs
Flag of Austria.svg  Austria Social Democratic Party of Austria SPÖ
5 / 18
52 / 183
20 / 62
Flag of Belgium.svg  Belgium Socialist Party PS
3 / 8
[. 1]
23 / 63
9 / 24
[. 1]
Socialist Party – Differently sp.a
1 / 13
[. 2]
13 / 87
5 / 35
[. 2]
Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria Bulgarian Socialist Party BSP
4 / 17
80 / 240
Flag of Croatia.svg  Croatia Social Democratic Party of Croatia SDP
2 / 11
36 / 151
Flag of Cyprus.svg  Cyprus Movement for Social Democracy EDEK
2 / 6
3 / 56
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic Czech Social Democratic Party ČSSD
4 / 21
15 / 200
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark Social Democrats A
3 / 13
47 / 179
Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia Social Democratic Party SDE
1 / 6
15 / 101
Flag of Finland.svg  Finland Social Democratic Party of Finland SDP
2 / 13
35 / 200
Flag of France.svg  France Socialist Party PS
10 / 74
86 / 348
27 / 577
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany SPD
27 / 96
153 / 709
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece Panhellenic Socialist Movement PASOK
2 / 21
18 / 300
Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary Hungarian Socialist Party MSZP
4 / 21
28 / 199
Hungarian Social Democratic Party MSZDP
0 / 21
0 / 199
Flag of Ireland.svg  Ireland Labour Party Lab
0 / 11
5 / 60
7 / 158
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Democratic Party PD
26 / 73
54 / 315
112 / 630
Italian Socialist Party PSI
0 / 73
1 / 315
1 / 630
Flag of Latvia.svg  Latvia Social Democratic Party "Harmony" [14] SDPS
0 / 8
22 / 100
Flag of Lithuania.svg  Lithuania Social Democratic Party of Lithuania LSDP
2 / 11
17 / 141
Flag of Luxembourg.svg  Luxembourg Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party LSAP
1 / 6
13 / 60
Flag of Malta.svg  Malta Labour Party PL
3 / 6
37 / 69
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands Labour Party PvdA
3 / 26
8 / 75
9 / 150
Flag of Norway.svg  Norway Labour Party APNot in EU
49 / 169
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland Democratic Left Alliance SLD
4 / 51
0 / 100
0 / 460
Labour United UP
1 / 51
0 / 100
0 / 460
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal Socialist Party PS
8 / 21
86 / 230
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania Social Democratic Party PSD
16 / 32
67 / 168
154 / 398
Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia Direction – Social Democracy Smer-SD
4 / 13
49 / 150
Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia Social Democrats SD
1 / 8
6 / 90
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain Spanish Socialist Workers' Party PSOE
14 / 54
62 / 266
84 / 350
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Swedish Social Democratic Party SAP
5 / 20
100 / 349
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom Labour Party Lab (GB)
20 / 70
202 / 793
262 / 632
Social Democratic and Labour Party SDLP (NI)
0 / 3
0 / 793
0 / 18
Associated parties
StateNameabbr. European MPs National MPs
Flag of Albania.svg  Albania Socialist Party of Albania PSS
74 / 140
Flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina.svg  Bosnia and Herzegovina Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina SDP
0 / 15
3 / 42
Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria Party of Bulgarian Social Democrats PBS
0 / 8
1 / 240
Flag of Iceland.svg  Iceland Social Democratic Alliance Samf.
7 / 63
Flag of Moldova.svg  Moldova Democratic Party of Moldova PDM
19 / 101
Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro DPS
31 / 81
Social Democratic Party of Montenegro SDP
6 / 81
Flag of North Macedonia.svg  North Macedonia Social Democratic Union of Macedonia SDSM
49 / 120
Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia Democratic Party DS
12 / 250
Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland Social Democratic Party of Switzerland SP/PS
46 / 200
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey Republican People's Party CHP
131 / 550
Peoples' Democratic Party HDP
50 / 550
Observer parties
StateNameabbr. European MPs National MPs
Flag of Andorra.svg  Andorra Social Democratic Party PS
3 / 28
Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia Armenian Revolutionary Federation ARF
7 / 131
Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt Egyptian Social Democratic Party ESDP
4 / 596
Flag of Georgia.svg  Georgia Georgian Dream
115 / 150
Flag of Israel.svg  Israel Israeli Labor Party עבודה
19 / 120
Meretz מרצ
5 / 120
Flag of Lebanon.svg  Lebanon Armenian Revolutionary Federation ARF
2 / 128
Flag of Latvia.svg  Latvia Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party LSDSP
0 / 9
0 / 100
Flag of Morocco.svg  Morocco Socialist Union of Popular Forces USFP
24 / 270
20 / 395
Flag of Artsakh.svg  Nagorno Karabakh Armenian Revolutionary Federation ARF
7 / 33
Flag of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.svg  Northern Cyprus Republican Turkish Party CTP
20 / 50
Flag of Palestine.svg  Palestine Fatah فتح
45 / 132
Flag of San Marino.svg  San Marino Party of Socialists and Democrats PSD
3 / 60
Flag of Tunisia.svg  Tunisia Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties FDTL
0 / 217
  1. 1 2 French-speaking seats
  2. 1 2 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. [15]

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. [15]

The list below shows PES Presidents and the presidents of its predecessors. [16]

PresidentStateNational partyTerm
1. Wilhelm Dröscher Flag of Germany.svg Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany April 1974January 1979
2. Robert Pontillon Flag of France.svg France Socialist Party January 1979March 1980
3. Joop den Uyl Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands Labour Party March 1980May 1987
4. Vítor Constâncio Flag of Portugal.svg Portugal Socialist Party May 1987January 1989
5. Guy Spitaels Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium Socialist Party February 1989May 1992
6. Willy Claes Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium Socialist Party November 1992October 1994
7. Rudolf Scharping Flag of Germany.svg Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany March 1995May 2001
8. Robin Cook Flag of the United Kingdom.svg United Kingdom Labour Party May 200124 April 2004
9. Poul Nyrup Rasmussen Flag of Denmark.svg Denmark Social Democrats 24 April 200424 November 2011
10. Sergei Stanishev Flag of Bulgaria.svg Bulgaria Bulgarian Socialist Party 24 November 2011


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. [15]

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. [15]

European election primaries

In December 2009, the PES decided to put forward a candidate for Commission President at all subsequent elections. [17] On 1 March 2014, the PES organised for the first time a European election Congress where a Common Manifesto [18] 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. PES member parties across Europe joined forces to campaign for the European elections, and a mass grassroots movement sprang up in support of Martin Schulz, aiming to ‘knock the vote’ in support of his candidacy.

PES in the European institutions

Overview of the European institutions

OrganisationInstitutionNumber of seats
Flag of Europe.svg  European Union European Parliament
191 / 751
Flag of Europe.svg  European Union Committee of the Regions
131 / 350
Flag of Europe.svg  European Union European Commission
8 / 28
Flag of Europe.svg  European Union European Council
(Heads of Government)
5 / 28
Flag of Europe.svg  European Union Council of the European Union
(Participation in Government)
12 / 28
Flag of Europe.svg  Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
69 / 318

European Parliament

European Commission

European Commissioners are meant to remain independent, however there has been an increasing degree of politicisation within the Commission. [19] In the current European Commission, eight of the Commissioners belong to the PES family.

Portfolio Commissioner State Political party Photo
Frans Timmermans
Flag of the Netherlands.svg
PvdA Frans Timmermans 2013.jpg
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini
Flag of Italy.svg
PD Federica Mogherini Official.jpg
Energy Union
Maroš Šefčovič
Flag of Slovakia.svg
SMER-SD Maroš Šefčovič.jpg
Regional Policy Corina Crețu
Flag of Romania.svg
PSD Corina Cretu.jpg
Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici
Flag of France.svg
PS Pierre Moscovici en mai 2010.png
Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella
Flag of Malta.svg
LP KarmenuVellaPolitician.jpg
International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica
Flag of Croatia.svg
SDP N mimica.jpg
Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis
Flag of Lithuania.svg
SDP Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis.jpg

European Council

Of the 28 heads of state and government that are members of the European Council, five are from the PES, and therefore regularly attend PES summits to prepare for European Council meetings.

Member StateRepresentativeTitlePolitical partyMember of the Council sincePhoto
Flag of Malta.svg  Malta Joseph Muscat Prime Minister Labour Party 22 March 2018 Joseph Muscat, cropped.jpg
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal António Costa Prime Minister Socialist Party 26 November 2015 António Costa 2014 (cropped).jpg
Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia Peter Pellegrini Prime Minister Direction – Social Democracy 22 March 2018 Peter Pellegrini - 2015.jpg
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain Pedro Sánchez Prime Minister Spanish Socialist Workers' Party 2 June 2018 Pedro Sánchez in 2018.jpg
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Stefan Löfven Prime Minister Social Democratic Party 3 October 2014 Stefan Löfven 2014-09-13.jpg

Although the prime minister of Romania, Mihai Tudose, is also a member of the PES (and his Social Democratic Party is a PES member party), Romania instead sends its president to the European Council.

European Council and Council of Ministers

The states of the European Union by the European party affiliations of their leaders, as of 14 February 2019
Does not account for coalitions. Key to colours is as follows;
European People's Party
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party
Party of European Socialists
Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe
Party of the European Left Party affiliations in the European Council (1 July 2018).png
The states of the European Union by the European party affiliations of their leaders, as of 14 February 2019
Does not account for coalitions. Key to colours is as follows;

Party-alignment at the European Council is often loose, but has been the basis of some intergovernmental cooperation. At present five countries are led by a PES-affiliated leader, who represents that state at the European Council: Spain (Pedro Sánchez), Portugal (Antonio Costa), Malta (Joseph Muscat), Slovakia (Peter Pellegrini), 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 a further seven countries: Estonia, France, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania and Slovenia.


StateGoverning partiesAffiliated EU partyPopulation
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany Christian Democratic Union
Social Democratic Party
Christian Social Union
Flag of France.svg  France La République En Marche!
Democratic Movement
The Republicans
Socialist Party
Radical Party of the Left
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain Spanish Socialist Workers' Party PES46,354,32127
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania Social Democratic Party
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats
Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal Socialist Party PES10,341,33012
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden Swedish Social Democratic Party
Green Party
Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia Direction – Social Democracy PES5,404,3007
Flag of Lithuania.svg  Lithuania Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union
Social Democratic Party of Lithuania
Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia Positive Slovenia
Social Democrats
Civic List
Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia
Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia Estonian Centre Party
Social Democratic Party
Pro Patria and Res Publica Union
ALDE Party
Flag of Luxembourg.svg  Luxembourg Democratic Party
Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party
The Greens
Flag of Malta.svg  Malta Labour Party PES416,1003

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Committee of the Regions

PES has 122 members in the Committee of the Regions as of 2014. [20]

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