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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 Norwaymarker. 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, Denmarkmarker, Irelandmarker and the United Kingdommarker joined the European Community bringing in new parties from these countries. The enlarged Socialist Congress met in Bonnmarker 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 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 Greecemarker in 1981, followed by Spainmarker and Portugalmarker 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.

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.

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.

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


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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 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).

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: Bulgariamarker (Sergey Stanishev), Hungarymarker (Gordon Banjai)Portugalmarker (José Sócrates), Slovakiamarker (Robert Fico), Spainmarker (José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero) and United Kingdommarker (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: Belgiummarker, Cyprusmarker, Finlandmarker, Germanymarker, Italymarker and Luxembourgmarker.

Committee of the Regions

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

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.
State Name (national language) Name (English) abbr. MEPs
Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs Social Democratic Party of Austria SPÖ 7
(Flemish Community) Socialistische Partij Anders Socialist Party Different SPa 3
(French Community) Parti Socialiste Socialist Party PS 4
Българска социалистическа партия

Bălgarska Socialističeska Partija
Bulgarian Socialist Party BSP 5
Κίνημα Σοσιαλδημοκρατών

Kínima Sosialdimokratón
Movement for Social Democracy EDEK 1
Česká strana sociálně demokratická Czech Social Democratic Party ČSSD 2
Socialdemokraterne Social Democrats SD 5
Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Erakond Social Democratic Party SDE 3
Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue Social Democratic Party of Finland SDP 3
Parti Socialistemarker Socialist Party PS 14
Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands Social Democratic Party of Germany SPD 24
Πανελλήνιο Σοσιαλιστικό Κίνημα

Panellínio Sosialistikó Kínima
Panhellenic Socialist Movement PASOK 8
Magyar Szocialista Párt Hungarian Socialist Party MSZP 4
Magyarországi Szociáldemokrata Párt Hungarian Social Democratic Party MSZDP 0
Páirtí an Lucht Oibre / Labour Party Labour Party Lab. 3
Partito Socialista Italiano Italian Socialist Party PSI 4
Democratici di Sinistra Democrats of the Left DS N/A
Latvijas Sociāldemokrātiskā Strādnieku Partija Social Democratic Workers' Party of Latvia LSDSP 0
Lietuvos Socialdemokratų Partija Social Democratic Party of Lithuania LSDP 2
Lëtzebuerger Sozialistesch Arbechterpartei Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party LSAP 1
Partit Laburista Labour Party PL 3
Partij van de Arbeid Labour Party PvdA 7
Det norske Arbeiderparti Norwegian Labour Party DNA N/A
Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej Democratic Left Alliance SLD 5
Unia Pracy Labour Union UP 0
Partido Socialista Socialist Party PS 12
Partidul Social Democrat Social Democratic Party PSD 10
Smer – sociálna demokracia Direction - social democracy Smer 5
Socialni demokrati Social Democrats SD 1
Partido Socialista Obrero Español Spanish Socialist Workers' Party PSOE 24
Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti Social Democratic Workers' Party of Sweden SAP 5

(Great Britainmarker)
Labour Party LP 19

(Northern Irelandmarker)
Páirtí Sóisialta Daonlathach an Lucht Oibre Social Democratic and Labour Party SDLP 0

Associated parties

State Name (original language) Name (English) abbr. Status
Партия Български социалдемократи

Partija Balgarski socialdemokrati
Party of Bulgarian Social Democrats PBS Associate
Socijaldemokratska Partija Hrvatske Social Democratic Party of Croatia SDP Associate
Социјалдемократски сојуз на Македонија

Socijaldemokratski sojuz na Makedonija
Social Democratic Union of Macedonia SDSM Associate
Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz /

Parti socialiste suisse
Social Democratic Party of Switzerland SP/PS Associate
Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi Republican People's Party CHP Associate
Demokratik Toplum Partisi Democratic Society Party DTP Associate

Observer parties

State Name (original language) Name (English) abbr. Status
Partit Socialdemòcrata Social Democratic Party PS Observer
Socijaldemokratska Partija BiH Social Democratic Party SDP Observer
Samfylkingin Social Democrat Alliance S Observer

Labour Party LP Observer

Vitality - Together MY Observer
Partito dei Socialisti e dei Democratici Party of Socialists and Democrats PSD Observer
Демократска странка
Demokratska stranka
Democratic Party DS Observer


  1. Kyriacos Mavronicholas, since June 2009
  2. Linke Europa-Politikern tritt zur SPD über, 14. Mai 2009
  3. Norway is outside the European Union, hence this party does not participate in European elections.
  4. Membership suspended from 12 October 2006 until 14 February 2008 due to Smer's coalition with the ultra-nationalist Slovenská národná strana.

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