Party of European Socialists

This article is about the europarty established in 1992. For the European Parliament Group and its predecessors, see Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.
Party of European Socialists
President Sergei Stanishev (BG)
Secretary-General Achim Post (DE)
Founded 1973 (Confederation)
9–10 November 1992 (Party)
Headquarters Rue Guimard 10, 1040 Brussels, Belgium
Think tank Foundation for European Progressive Studies
Youth wing Young European Socialists
Women's wing PES Women
Ideology Social democracy[1][2]
Political position Centre-left[2]
International affiliation Progressive Alliance,
Socialist International
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colours Red
European Parliament
191 / 751
European Council
9 / 28
European Commission
8 / 28

The Party of European Socialists (PES) is a social-democratic European political party.[3] The PES comprises national-level political parties primarily from member states of the European Union (EU) and other nations of the European continent. The PES member parties are themselves mostly members of the Progressive Alliance or Socialist International. The political group in the European Parliament of the PES 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. The PES is currently led by Sergei Stanishev, former Prime Minister of Bulgaria.

The PES includes major parties such as the Italian Democratic Party (PD), the British Labour Party, French Socialist Party (PS), Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) and also has member parties in all EU states.


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: Partija europskih socijalista
  • Bulgarian: Партия на европейските социалисти
  • Croatian: Stranka europskih socijalista
  • Czech: Strana evropských socialistů
  • Danish: De Europæiske Socialdemokrater
  • Dutch: Partij van de Europese Sociaaldemocraten
  • Estonian: Euroopa Sotsialistlik Partei
  • Finnish: Euroopan sosialidemokraattinen puolue
  • French: Parti socialiste européen
  • German: Sozialdemokratische Partei Europas
  • Greek: Ευρωπαϊκό Σοσιαλιστικό Κόμμα
  • Hungarian: Európai Szocialisták Pártja
  • Icelandic: Flokkur evrópskra sósíalista
  • Irish: Páirtí na Sóisialaithe Eorpach
  • Italian: Partito del Socialismo Europeo
  • Maltese: Partit tas-Soċjalisti Ewropej
  • Latvian: Eiropas Sociāldemokrātiskā partija
  • Lithuanian: Europos socialistų partija
  • Macedonian: Партија на европските социјалисти
  • Norwegian: Det europeiske sosialdemokratiske partiet
  • Polish: Partia Europejskich Socjalistów
  • Portuguese: Partido Socialista Europeu
  • Romanian: Partidul Socialiștilor Europeni
  • Serbian: Партија европских социјалиста
  • Slovak: Strana európskych socialistov
  • Slovene: Stranka evropskih socialistov
  • Spanish: Partido Socialista Europeo
  • Swedish: Europeiska socialdemokratiska partiet
  • Turkish: Avrupa Sosyalistler Partisi

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.[4]



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.[5]


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.[6] 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.[6]


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.[6]

Along with the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, the founding members of the PES were the Social Democratic Party of Austria, the Socialist Party (Francophone) and the Socialist Party (Flemish) of Belgium, the Social Democrats of Denmark, the Socialist Party of France, the Social Democratic Party of Germany, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement of Greece, the Labour Party of Ireland, the Italian Democratic Socialist Party, Italian Socialist Party and Democratic Party of the Left of Italy, the Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party, the Labour Party of the Netherlands, Socialist Party of Portugal, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, Swedish Social Democratic Party and the Labour Party and Social Democratic and Labour Party of the UK.[7]


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 for another 2.5 years at the Prague Congress in 2009.

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

He resigned at the PES Progressive Convention of Brussels on 24 November 2011, and was replaced by Sergei Dmitrievich Stanishev, chairman of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), elected PES Interim President, by acclamation, by the PES Presidency.

On the same day, the PES Council made the decision that the next PES candidate for Commission President would be democratically elected through a PES presidential primary taking place in January 2014.

Brussels Congress, 28–29 September 2012

The Party of European Socialists held its latest Congress in Brussels on 28–29 September 2012.[8] These congresses are organized every two and a half years,[9] once during the year of the elections for the European Parliament, and once at mid-term. The latest Congress elected Sergei Stanishev as PES President, as well as four deputies: Jean-Christophe Cambadélis (1st Vice-President – PS), Elena Valenciano (PSOE), Jan Royall (Labour) and Katarina Nevedalova (Smer-SD) and prepared the 2014 European elections. The same Congress elected Achim Post (SPD) as new Secretary General.

The congress also adopted a process presented by the PES as more democratic and transparent[10] for the selection of their candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission in 2014.


Presidents of the Party of European Socialists and its predecessors.[11]

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


There are thirty-three full member parties from all the twenty-eight member states and Norway. There are a further thirteen associate and twelve observer parties.[12] PES is an associated organisation of the Socialist International. Young European Socialists is the youth organisation of PES and PES Women is the party's women's organisation, led by Zita Gurmai.[13]

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.[13]

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.[13]

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.[13]

In December 2009, the PES decided to put forward a candidate for Commission President at all subsequent elections.[14] On the 1st of March, 2014, the PES organised for the first time a European election Congress where a Common Manifesto [15] 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

Organisation Institution Number of seats
 European Union European Parliament
191 / 751
 European Union Committee of the Regions
131 / 350
 European Union European Commission
8 / 28
 European Union European Council
(Heads of Government)
9 / 28
 European Union Council of the European Union
(Participation in Government)
19 / 28
 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.[16] In the current European Commission, eight of the Commissioners belong to the PES family.

Portfolio Commissioner State Political party Photo
Frans Timmermans
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini
Energy Union
Maroš Šefčovič
Regional Policy Corina Crețu
Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici
Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella
International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica
Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis

European Council

The PES has eight out of the 28 heads of State or Government that attend the PES summits in preparation for the European Council:

Member State Representative Title Political party Member of the Council since Photo
Christian Kern
Federal Chancellor
Social Democratic Party of Austria
17 May 2016
 Czech Republic
Bohuslav Sobotka
Chairman of the Government
Czech Social Democratic Party
29 January 2014
François Hollande
Socialist Party
15 May 2012
Matteo Renzi
President of the Council of Ministers
Democratic Party
22 February 2014
Joseph Muscat
Prime Minister
Labour Party
11 March 2013
António Costa
Prime Minister
Socialist Party
26 November 2015
Robert Fico
Chairman of the Government
Direction – Social Democracy
4 April 2012
Stefan Löfven
Prime Minister
Social Democratic Party
3 October 2014

European Council and Council of Ministers

The states of the European Union by the European party affiliations of their leaders, as of 17 December 2016
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 eight countries are led by a PES-affiliated leader, who represents that state at the European Council: Austria (Christian Kern), the Czech Republic (Bohuslav Sobotka), France (François Hollande), Italy (Matteo Renzi), Lithuania (Algirdas Butkevičius), Malta (Joseph Muscat), Slovakia (Robert Fico), 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: Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and Slovenia.


State Governing parties Affiliated EU party Population
 Germany Christian Democratic Union
Social Democratic Party
Christian Social Union
80,585,700 29
 France Socialist Party
Radical Party of the Left
Europe Ecology – The Greens
65,397,900 29
 Italy Democratic Party
New Centre-Right
Union of the Centre
60,782,688 29
 Romania Social Democratic Party
Conservative Party
National Union for the Progress of Romania
21,355,800 14
 Netherlands People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
Labour Party
16,730,300 13
 Czech Republic Czech Social Democratic Party
ANO 2011
Christian and Democratic Union – Czechoslovak People's Party
10,513,209 12
 Sweden Swedish Social Democratic Party
Green Party
9,658,301 10
 Austria Social Democratic Party of Austria
Austrian People's Party
8,443,000 10
 Slovakia Direction – Social Democracy PES 5,404,300 7
 Finland National Coalition Party
Social Democratic Party of Finland
Left Alliance
Green League
Swedish People's Party of Finland
Christian Democrats
5,401,300 7
 Ireland Fine Gael
Labour Party
4,582,800 7
 Croatia Social Democratic Party of Croatia
Croatian People's Party – Liberal Democrats
Istrian Democratic Assembly
4,398,200 7
 Lithuania Lithuanian Peasant and Greens Union
Social Democratic Party of Lithuania
3,007,800 7
 Slovenia Positive Slovenia
Social Democrats
Civic List
Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia
2,055,500 4
 Luxembourg Democratic Party
Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party
The Greens
524,900 4
 Malta Labour Party PES 416,100 3

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Further information: Socialist Group

Committee of the Regions

PES has 122 members in the Committee of the Regions as of 2014.[17]

Member parties

It has 33 full members from 27 of the 28 EU states plus Norway, although not all of them have elected MEPs.[18]

State Name abbr. European MPs National MPs
 Austria Social Democratic Party of Austria SPÖ
5 / 18
52 / 183
24 / 62
 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]
 Bulgaria Bulgarian Socialist Party BSP
4 / 17
37 / 240
 Croatia Social Democratic Party of Croatia SDP
2 / 11
56 / 151
 Cyprus Movement for Social Democracy EDEK
2 / 6
5 / 56
 Czech Republic Czech Social Democratic Party ČSSD
4 / 21
50 / 200
 Denmark Social Democrats A
3 / 13
47 / 179
 Estonia Social Democratic Party SDE
1 / 6
15 / 101
 Finland Social Democratic Party of Finland SDP
2 / 13
34 / 200
 France Socialist Party PS
12 / 74
128 / 348
295 / 577
 Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany SPD
27 / 96
193 / 631
 Greece Panhellenic Socialist Movement PASOK
2 / 21
17 / 300
 Hungary Hungarian Socialist Party MSZP
4 / 21
29 / 199
Hungarian Social Democratic Party MSZDP
0 / 21
0 / 199
 Ireland Labour Party Labour
0 / 11
5 / 60
7 / 158
 Italy Democratic Party PD
31 / 73
114 / 315
309 / 630
Italian Socialist Party PSI
0 / 73
3 / 315
4 / 630
 Lithuania Social Democratic Party of Lithuania LSDP
2 / 11
38 / 141
 Luxembourg Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party LSAP
1 / 6
13 / 60
 Malta Labour Party PL
3 / 6
39 / 69
 Netherlands Labour Party PvdA
3 / 26
8 / 75
36 / 150
 Norway Labour Party AP Not in EU
55 / 169
 Poland Democratic Left Alliance SLD
4 / 51
0 / 100
0 / 460
Labour United UP
1 / 51
0 / 100
0 / 460
 Portugal Socialist Party PS
8 / 21
86 / 230
 Romania Social Democratic Party PSD
16 / 32
59 / 168
145 / 398
 Slovakia Direction – Social Democracy Smer-SD
4 / 13
83 / 150
 Slovenia Social Democrats SD
1 / 8
6 / 90
 Spain Spanish Socialist Workers' Party PSOE
14 / 54
67 / 266
85 / 350
 Sweden Swedish Social Democratic Party SAP
5 / 20
113 / 349
 United Kingdom Labour Party Labour
20 / 73
212 / 786
232 / 650
Social Democratic and Labour Party SDLP
0 / 73
0 / 786
3 / 650
Associated parties
State Name abbr. European MPs National MPs
 Albania Socialist Party of Albania PSS
66 / 140
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina SDP
0 / 15
3 / 42
 Bulgaria Party of Bulgarian Social Democrats PBS
0 / 8
1 / 240
 Iceland Social Democratic Alliance Samf.
9 / 63
 Latvia Social Democratic Party "Harmony" SDPS
1 / 8
24 / 100
 Macedonia Social Democratic Union of Macedonia SDSM
37 / 123
 Moldova Democratic Party of Moldova PDM
19 / 101
 Montenegro Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro DPS
31 / 81
Social Democratic Party of Montenegro SDP
6 / 81
 Serbia Democratic Party DS
12 / 250
  Switzerland Social Democratic Party of Switzerland SP/PS
46 / 200
 Turkey Republican People's Party CHP
131 / 550
Peoples' Democratic Party HDP
59 / 550
Observer parties
State Name abbr. European MPs National MPs
 Andorra Social Democratic Party PS
3 / 28
 Armenia Armenian Revolutionary Federation ARF
5 / 131
 Egypt Egyptian Social Democratic Party ESDP
0 / 567
 Georgia Georgian Dream
87 / 150
 Israel Israeli Labor Party עבודה
19 / 120
Meretz מרצ
5 / 120
 Latvia Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party LSDSP
0 / 8
0 / 100
 Morocco Socialist Union of Popular Forces USFP
24 / 270
39 / 395
 Northern Cyprus Republican Turkish Party CTP
21 / 50
 Palestine Fatah فتح
45 / 132
 San Marino Party of Socialists and Democrats PSD
10 / 60
 Tunisia Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties FDTL
0 / 217
  1. 1 2 French-speaking seats
  2. 1 2 Flemish seats


  1. Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  2. 1 2 Richard Dunphy (2004). Contesting Capitalism?: Left Parties and European Integration. Manchester University Press. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-7190-6804-1.
  3. 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 9 August 2013.
  4. "Il PSE "omaggia "il PD cambiando ufficialmente nome: PSE - Socialists&Democrats." (in Italian). 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2016-09-20.
  5. "Northern European Social Democracy and European Integration, 1960-1972. Moving towards a New Consensus?". Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  6. 1 2 3 "History". Socialist Group website. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
  7. 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.
  8. "Together for the Europe we need!". Zita Gurmai, President of PES Woman. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  9. "PES Statutes adopted by the 8th Congress" (PDF). PES. December 2009. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  10. "Ethics in politics : For strong moral conduct through a strong moral code" (PDF). PES Presidency declaration. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  11. "Former PES Presidents". PES website. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
  12. "About the PES?". PES website. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  13. 1 2 3 4 "How does PES work?". PES website. Archived from the original on 30 October 2007. Retrieved 7 November 2007.
  14. "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 17 October 2010.
  15. "PES Manifesto Towards a New Europe. Adopted by Election Congress 2014 in Rome" (PDF). PES. 1 March 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  16. Mahony, Honor (7 May 2007). "Brussels struggles with communication policy.". EU Observer. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
  17. "PES Group Members". Retrieved 2015-01-13.
  18. "Your party". PES. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
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