Party of European Socialists

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
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colours Red
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.[3]

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.[4] Most member, associate and observer parties are members of the wider Progressive Alliance or Socialist International.[5][6]

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.


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 socialdemokraters parti

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 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.MEPsNational MPs
 Austria Social Democratic Party of Austria SPÖ
5 / 18
52 / 183
20 / 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
80 / 240
 Croatia Social Democratic Party of Croatia SDP
2 / 11
36 / 151
 Cyprus Movement for Social Democracy EDEK
2 / 6
3 / 56
 Czech Republic Czech Social Democratic Party ČSSD
4 / 21
15 / 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
35 / 200
 France Socialist Party PS
10 / 74
86 / 348
27 / 577
 Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany SPD
27 / 96
153 / 709
 Greece Panhellenic Socialist Movement PASOK
2 / 21
18 / 300
 Hungary Hungarian Socialist Party MSZP
4 / 21
28 / 199
Hungarian Social Democratic Party MSZDP
0 / 21
0 / 199
 Ireland Labour Party Lab
0 / 11
5 / 60
7 / 158
 Italy Democratic Party PD
26 / 73
54 / 315
112 / 630
Italian Socialist Party PSI
0 / 73
3 / 315
3 / 630
 LatviaSocial Democratic Party "Harmony"SDPS
1 / 8
24 / 100
 Lithuania Social Democratic Party of Lithuania LSDP
2 / 11
17 / 141
 Luxembourg Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party LSAP
1 / 6
13 / 60
 Malta Labour Party PL
3 / 6
37 / 69
 Netherlands Labour Party PvdA
3 / 26
8 / 75
9 / 150
 Norway Labour Party AP Not in EU
49 / 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
67 / 168
154 / 398
 Slovakia Direction – Social Democracy Smer-SD
4 / 13
49 / 150
 Slovenia Social Democrats SD
1 / 8
6 / 90
 Spain Spanish Socialist Workers' Party PSOE
14 / 54
62 / 266
84 / 350
 Sweden Swedish Social Democratic Party SAP
5 / 20
113 / 349
 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 MPsNational MPs
 AlbaniaSocialist Party of AlbaniaPSS
74 / 140
 Bosnia and HerzegovinaSocial Democratic Party of Bosnia and HerzegovinaSDP
0 / 15
3 / 42
 BulgariaParty of Bulgarian Social DemocratsPBS
0 / 8
1 / 240
 IcelandSocial Democratic AllianceSamf.
7 / 63
 MacedoniaSocial Democratic Union of MacedoniaSDSM
49 / 120
 MoldovaDemocratic Party of MoldovaPDM
19 / 101
 MontenegroDemocratic Party of Socialists of MontenegroDPS
31 / 81
Social Democratic Party of MontenegroSDP
6 / 81
31 / 120
 SerbiaDemocratic PartyDS
12 / 250
  SwitzerlandSocial Democratic Party of SwitzerlandSP/PS
46 / 200
 TurkeyRepublican People's PartyCHP
131 / 550
Peoples' Democratic PartyHDP
50 / 550
Observer parties
StateNameabbr.European MPsNational MPs
 AndorraSocial Democratic PartyPS
3 / 28
 ArmeniaArmenian Revolutionary FederationARF
7 / 131
 EgyptEgyptian Social Democratic PartyESDP
4 / 596
 GeorgiaGeorgian Dream
115 / 150
 IsraelIsraeli Labor Partyעבודה
19 / 120
5 / 120
 LebanonArmenian Revolutionary FederationARF
2 / 128
 LatviaLatvian Social Democratic Workers' PartyLSDSP
0 / 9
0 / 100
 MoroccoSocialist Union of Popular ForcesUSFP
24 / 270
20 / 395
 Nagorno KarabakhArmenian Revolutionary FederationARF
7 / 33
 Northern CyprusRepublican Turkish PartyCTP
20 / 50
45 / 132
 San MarinoParty of Socialists and DemocratsPSD
3 / 60
 TunisiaDemocratic Forum for Labour and LibertiesFDTL
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.[14]

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.[14]

The list below shows PES Presidents and the presidents of its predecessors.[15]

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


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.[14]

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.[14]

European election primaries

In December 2009, the PES decided to put forward a candidate for Commission President at all subsequent elections.[16] On 1 March 2014, the PES organised for the first time a European election Congress where a Common Manifesto [17] 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
 European UnionEuropean Parliament
191 / 751
 European UnionCommittee of the Regions
131 / 350
 European UnionEuropean Commission
8 / 28
 European UnionEuropean Council
(Heads of Government)
5 / 28
 European UnionCouncil of the European Union
(Participation in Government)
12 / 28
 Council of EuropeParliamentary 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.[18] 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

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

Member State Representative Title Political party Member of the Council since Photo
 Malta Joseph Muscat Prime Minister Labour Party 11 March 2013
 Portugal António Costa Prime Minister Socialist Party 26 November 2015
 Slovakia Robert Fico Prime Minister Direction – Social Democracy 4 April 2012
 Spain Pedro Sánchez Prime Minister Spanish Socialist Workers' Party 1 June 2018
 Sweden Stefan Löfven Prime Minister Social Democratic Party 3 October 2014

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

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 (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: Estonia, France, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania and Slovenia.


State Governing parties Affiliated EU party Population
 Germany Christian Democratic Union
Social Democratic Party
Christian Social Union
80,585,700 29
 France La République En Marche!
Democratic Movement
The Republicans
Socialist Party
Radical Party of the Left
66,661,621 29
 Spain Spanish Socialist Workers' Party PES 46,354,321 27
 Romania Social Democratic Party
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats
21,355,800 14
 Portugal Socialist Party PES 10,341,330 12
 Sweden Swedish Social Democratic Party
Green Party
9,658,301 10
 Slovakia Direction – Social Democracy PES 5,404,300 7
 Lithuania Lithuanian Farmers 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
 Estonia Estonian Centre Party
Social Democratic Party
Pro Patria and Res Publica Union
ALDE Party
1,315,944 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

Committee of the Regions

PES has 122 members in the Committee of the Regions as of 2014.[19]


  1. Nordsieck, Wolfram. "Parties and Elections in Europe".
  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. "Member parties of the PES". 2017-02-01. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  5. "Member parties of the Progressive Alliance". 2017-02-01. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  6. "Member parties of Socialist International". 2017-02-01. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  7. "Il PSE "omaggia "il PD cambiando ufficialmente nome: PSE - Socialists&Democrats" (in Italian). 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2016-09-20.
  8. "Northern European Social Democracy and European Integration, 1960-1972. Moving towards a New Consensus?". Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  9. 1 2 3 "History". Socialist Group website. Archived from the original on 1 November 2007. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
  10. 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.
  11. "Together for the Europe we need!". Zita Gurmai, President of PES Women. 26 July 2012. Archived from the original on 19 August 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  12. "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 8 August 2012.
  13. "About the PES?". PES website. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  14. 1 2 3 4 "How does PES work?". PES website. Archived from the original on 30 October 2007. Retrieved 7 November 2007.
  15. "Former PES Presidents". PES website. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
  16. "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.
  17. "PES Manifesto Towards a New Europe. Adopted by Election Congress 2014 in Rome" (PDF). PES. 1 March 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  18. Mahony, Honor (7 May 2007). "Brussels struggles with communication policy". EU Observer. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
  19. "PES Group Members". Archived from the original on 6 January 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2015.

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