Party of European Socialists

The Party of European Socialists (PES) is a social democratic European political party.[6]

Party of European Socialists
PresidentSergey Stanishev (BG)
Secretary-GeneralAchim Post (DE)
Founded1973 (Confederation)
9–10 November 1992 (Party)
HeadquartersRue Guimard 10, 1040 Brussels, Belgium
Think tankFoundation for European Progressive Studies
Youth wingYoung European Socialists
Women's wingPES Women
IdeologySocial democracy[1][2]
Political positionCentre-left[2][3]
International affiliationProgressive Alliance[4]
Socialist International[5]
European Parliament groupProgressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Colours  Red
European Parliament
145 / 705
European Council
6 / 27
European Commission
9 / 27
European Lower Houses
2,327 / 9,874
European Upper Houses
645 / 2,714

The PES comprises national-level political parties from all member states of the European Union (EU) plus Norway and the United Kingdom. This includes major parties such as the Social Democratic Party of Germany, the French Socialist Party, the British Labour Party, the Italian Democratic Party and the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party. Parties from a number of other European countries and from the Mediterranean region are also admitted to the PES as associate or observer parties.[7] Most member, associate and observer parties are members of the wider Progressive Alliance or Socialist International.[4][5]

The PES is currently led by its president Sergey 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 European 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: Stranka europskih socijalista
  • Bulgarian: Партия на европейските социалисти
  • Croatian: Stranka europskih socijalista
  • Czech: Strana evropských socialistů
  • Danish: De Europæiske Socialdemokrater
  • Dutch: Partij van Europese Socialisten
  • 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
  • Latvian: Eiropas Sociāldemokrātiskā partija
  • Lithuanian: Europos socialistų partija
  • Luxembourgish: Partei vun den Europäesche Sozialisten
  • Macedonian: Партија на европските социјалисти
  • Maltese: Partit tas-Soċjalisti Ewropej
  • 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 de los Socialistas Europeos
  • 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.[8]



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.[9]


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.[10] 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.[10]


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.[10]

Along with the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, the founding members of the PES were:[11]


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

On 28–29 September 2012, the PES Congress in Brussels[12] Congress elected interim president Sergey 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.[13]Sergey Stanishev was re-elected PES President on 22–23 June 2015 in Budapest. The Congress also approved Achim Post (SPD) as the Secretary-General as well as the four Vice-Presidents: Jean-Christophe Cambadélis (PS), Carin Jämtin (Swedish Social Democratic Party), Katarína Neveďalová (Smer-SD) and Jan Royall (Labour).

On 7–8 December 2019, the PES Congress gathered in Lisbon to elect its leadership. Sergey Stanishev was confirmed as party President and Achim Post (SPD) as Secretary General. Iratxe García (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party) was elected by the new presidency 1st Vice-President of the PES and Francisco André (Socialist Party (Portugal)), Katarína Neveďalová (Smer-SD) and Marita Ulvskog (Swedish Social Democratic Party) were elected PES Vice-Presidents.


Member partiesEdit

The PES has thirty-three full member parties from each of the twenty-seven EU member states, Norway and the UK. There are a further twelve associate and twelve observer parties from other European countries.[14]

State Name abbr. MEPs National MPs
  Austria Social Democratic Party of Austria
Sozialdemokratische Partei Österreichs
5 / 19
40 / 183
21 / 62
  Belgium Socialist Party
Parti socialiste
2 / 8
[. 1]
23 / 63
9 / 24
[. 1]
Forward, Socialist Movement
Vooruit, socialistische beweging
1 / 13
[. 2]
13 / 87
5 / 35
[. 2]
  Bulgaria Bulgarian Socialist Party
Българска социалистическа партия
Bulgarska sotsialisticheska partiya
5 / 17
43 / 240
  Croatia Social Democratic Party of Croatia
Socijaldemokratska partija Hrvatske
4 / 12
29 / 151
  Cyprus Movement for Social Democracy
Κίνημα Σοσιαλδημοκρατών
Kinima Sosialdimokraton
2 / 6
3 / 56
  Czech Republic Czech Social Democratic Party
Česká strana sociálně demokratická
0 / 21
15 / 200
  Denmark Social Democrats
3 / 14
47 / 179
  Estonia Social Democratic Party
Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Erakond
2 / 7
10 / 101
  Finland Social Democratic Party of Finland
Suomen sosialidemokraattinen puolue
Finlands socialdemokratiska parti
2 / 14
40 / 200
  France Socialist Party
Parti socialiste
6 / 79
73 / 348
27 / 577
  Germany Social Democratic Party of Germany
Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands
16 / 96
153 / 709
20 / 69
  Greece Panhellenic Socialist Movement
Πανελλήνιο Σοσιαλιστικό Κίνημα
Panellínio Sosialistikó Kínima
2 / 21
18 / 300
  Hungary Hungarian Socialist Party
Magyar Szocialista Párt
1 / 21
15 / 199
  Ireland Labour Party
Páirtí an Lucht Oibre
0 / 13
5 / 60
6 / 160
  Italy Democratic Party
Partito Democratico
18 / 76
54 / 315
112 / 630
Italian Socialist Party
Partito Socialista Italiano
0 / 76
1 / 315
1 / 630
  Latvia Social Democratic Party "Harmony"[15]
Sociāldemokrātiskā partija "Saskaņa"
2 / 8
22 / 100
  Lithuania Social Democratic Party of Lithuania
Lietuvos socialdemokratų partija
2 / 11
17 / 141
  Luxembourg Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party
Lëtzebuerger Sozialistesch Aarbechterpartei
Parti ouvrier socialiste luxembourgeois
Luxemburger Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei
1 / 6
13 / 60
  Malta Labour Party
Partit Laburista
4 / 6
37 / 69
  Netherlands Labour Party
Partij van de Arbeid
6 / 29
8 / 75
9 / 150
  Norway Labour Party
AP Not in EU
49 / 169
  Poland Democratic Left Alliance
Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej
5 / 52
0 / 100
24 / 460
Labour Union
Unia Pracy
0 / 52
0 / 100
0 / 460
  Portugal Socialist Party
Partido Socialista
9 / 21
108 / 230
  Romania Social Democratic Party
Partidul Social Democrat
8 / 33
47 / 136
110 / 330
  Slovakia Direction – Social Democracy
Smer – sociálna demokracia
3 / 14
26 / 150
  Slovenia Social Democrats
Socialni demokrati
2 / 8
12 / 90
  Spain Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
Partido Socialista Obrero Español
21 / 58
139 / 266
123 / 350
  Sweden Swedish Social Democratic Party
Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti
5 / 21
100 / 349
  United Kingdom Labour Party Lab (GB) Not in EU
180 / 794
198 / 632
Social Democratic and Labour Party
Páirtí Sóisialta Daonlathach an Lucht Oibre
SDLP (NI) Not in EU
0 / 794
2 / 18
Associated parties
State Name abbr. European MPs National MPs
  Albania Socialist Party of Albania
Partia Socialiste e Shqipërisë
74 / 140
  Bosnia and Herzegovina Social Democratic Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Socijaldemokratska partija Bosne i Hercegovine
1 / 15
5 / 42
  Bulgaria Party of Bulgarian Social Democrats
партия Български социалдемократи
Partiya Bulgarski Sotsialdemokrati
0 / 17
1 / 240
  Iceland Social Democratic Alliance
7 / 63
  Moldova Democratic Party of Moldova
Partidul Democrat din Moldova
19 / 101
  Montenegro Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro
Demokratska partija socijalista Crne Gore
31 / 81
Social Democratic Party of Montenegro
Socijaldemokratska partija Crne Gore
6 / 81
  North Macedonia Social Democratic Union of Macedonia
Социјалдемократски сојуз на Македонија
Socijaldemokratski Sojuz na Makedonija
49 / 120
  Serbia Democratic Party
Демократска странка
Demokratska stranka
0 / 250
(election boycott)
   Switzerland Social Democratic Party of Switzerland
Sozialdemokratische Partei der Schweiz
Parti socialiste suisse
Partito Socialista Svizzero
Partida Socialdemocrata de la Svizra
39 / 200
9 / 46
  Turkey Republican People's Party
Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi
131 / 550
Peoples' Democratic Party
Halkların Demokratik Partisi
Partiya Demokratîk a Gelan
50 / 550
Observer parties
State Name abbr. European MPs National MPs
  Andorra Social Democratic Party
Partit Socialdemòcrata
3 / 28
  Armenia Armenian Revolutionary Federation
Հայ Յեղափոխական Դաշնակցութիւն
Hay Yeghap’vokhakan Dashnakts’ut’iwn
0 / 131
  Egypt Egyptian Social Democratic Party
الحزب المصرى الديمقراطى الاجتماعى
al-Ḥizb al-Maṣrī al-Dimuqrāṭī al-Ijtmāʿī
4 / 596
  Georgia Georgian Dream
ქართული ოცნება – დემოკრატიული საქართველო
Kartuli ocneba – Demok’rat’iuli Sakartvelo
92 / 150
  Israel Israeli Labor Party
מִפְלֶגֶת הָעֲבוֹדָה הַיִּשְׂרְאֵלִית
Mifleget HaAvoda HaYisrelit
7 / 120
6 / 120
  Latvia Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party
Latvijas Sociāldemokrātiskā strādnieku partija
0 / 8
0 / 100
  Morocco Socialist Union of Popular Forces
الاتحاد الاشتراكي للقوات الشعبية
Al-Ittihad Al-Ishtirakiy Lilqawat Al-Sha'abiyah
Union Socialiste des Forces Populaires
24 / 270
20 / 395
  Northern Cyprus Republican Turkish Party
Cumhuriyetçi Türk Partisi
20 / 50
  Palestine Fatah
45 / 132
  San Marino Party of Socialists and Democrats
Partito dei Socialisti e dei Democratici
3 / 60
  Serbia Party of Freedom and Justice
Странка слободе и правде
Stranka slobode i pravde
0 / 250
(election boycott)
  Tunisia Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties
التكتل الديمقراطي من أجل العمل والحريات
at-Takattul ad-Dīmuqrāṭī min ajl il-‘Amal wal-Ḥurriyyāt
Forum démocratique pour le travail et les libertés
0 / 217
  1. ^ a b French-speaking seats
  2. ^ a b Flemish seats

Constituent organisationsEdit

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.[16]

International membershipsEdit

PES is an associated organisation of Socialist International and the Progressive Alliance.

President and PresidencyEdit

The President (currently former Prime Minister of Bulgaria Sergey 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.[16]

The list below shows PES presidents and the presidents of its predecessors.[17]

President State National party Term Photo
1. Wilhelm Dröscher   West 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. Sergey 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.[16]

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.[16]

European election primariesEdit

In December 2009, the PES decided to put forward a candidate for Commission President at all subsequent elections.[18] On 1 March 2014, the PES organised for the first time a European election Congress where a Common Manifesto[19] 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. In 2019, progressives elected Frans Timmermans as PES Common Candidate to the European Elections, during the Election Congress in Madrid on 22–23 February 2019.

PES in the European institutionsEdit

Overview of the European institutionsEdit

Organisation Institution Number of seats
  European Union European Parliament
148 / 751
Committee of the Regions
131 / 350
European Commission
9 / 27
European Council
(Heads of Government)
6 / 27
Council of the European Union
(Participation in Government)
13 / 27
  Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
69 / 318

European ParliamentEdit

European CommissionEdit

European Commissioners are meant to remain independent, however there has been an increasing degree of politicisation within the Commission.[20] In the current European Commission, nine of the Commissioners belong to the PES family.

Portfolio Commissioner State Political party Photo
First Vice President and Executive Vice President;

European Green Deal

Frans Timmermans
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell
Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight
Maroš Šefčovič
Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit

Economy Paolo Gentiloni
Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira
Equality Helena Dalli
Home Affairs Ylva Johansson
International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen

European CouncilEdit

Of the 27 heads of state and government that are members of the European Council, 6 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
  Finland Sanna Marin Prime Minister Social Democratic Party of Finland 10 December 2019  
  Denmark Mette Frederiksen Prime Minister Social Democrats 27 June 2019  
  Spain Pedro Sánchez Prime Minister Spanish Socialist Workers' Party 7 January 2020  
  Malta Robert Abela Prime Minister Labour Party 13 January 2020  
  Portugal António Costa Prime Minister Socialist Party 26 November 2015  
  Sweden Stefan Löfven Prime Minister Social Democratic Party 3 October 2014  

European Council and Council of MinistersEdit

The states of the European Union by the European affiliations of their leaders, as of 24 July 2021
Does not account for coalitions. Key to colours is as follows: (AT, CY, DE, GR, HR, LV, RO, SI, SK) (BE, CZ, EE, IE, FR, LU, NL) (DK, ES, FI, MT, PT, SE)
  Independent (4)
(BG, HU, IT, LT) (PL)

Party-alignment at the European Council is often loose, but has been the basis of some intergovernmental cooperation. At present seven countries are led by a PES-affiliated leader, who represents that state at the European Council: Spain (Pedro Sánchez), Portugal (António Costa), Malta (Robert Abela), Denmark (Mette Frederiksen), Finland (Sanna Marin) 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 the following countries: Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and Luxembourg.


State Governing parties Affiliated EU party Population
  Germany Christian Democratic Union
Social Democratic Party
Christian Social Union
  Italy Five Star Movement
Democratic Party
Free and Equal
  Spain Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
United Left
Catalonia in Common
  Portugal Socialist Party PES 10,341,330
  Czech Republic ANO
Czech Social Democratic Party
  Sweden Swedish Social Democratic Party
Green Party
  Denmark Social Democrats PES 5,824,857
  Finland Social Democratic Party of Finland
Centre Party
Green League
Left Alliance
Swedish People's Party of Finland
  Luxembourg Democratic Party
Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party
The Greens
  Malta Labour Party PES 514,564

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of EuropeEdit

Committee of the RegionsEdit

PES has 122 members in the Committee of the Regions as of 2014.[21]

Stalinist Crimes Denial by PESEdit

In PES official EU publication 'Politics of the Past: the Use and Abuse of History (Hannes Swoboda& Jan Marinus Wiersma, 2009, p. 11), the Party of European Socialists minimized the number of Ukrainian victims of the Holodomor (Famine Genocide of Ukrainians by Stalin) to merely 'hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian farmers'. This is a blatant denial of the widely held consensus of mainstream Western historians, for example, Timothy Snyder and others, that at least '3.3 million distinct Ukrainian peasants [were] starved by the Soviet regime in 1932-1933'.


  1. ^ Nordsieck, Wolfram (2019). "European Union". Parties and Elections in Europe. Archived from the original on 8 June 2017. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b Richard Dunphy (2004). Contesting Capitalism?: Left Parties and European Integration. Manchester University Press. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-7190-6804-1.
  3. ^ John Pinder, Simon Usherwood (2013). The European Union: A Very Short Introduction. OUP Oxford. ISBN 978-0-1915-03931.
  4. ^ a b "Member parties of the Progressive Alliance". 1 February 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Member parties of Socialist International". 1 February 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Member parties of the PES". 1 February 2017. Retrieved 8 August 2017.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "Il PSE "omaggia "il PD cambiando ufficialmente nome: PSE – Socialists&Democrats" (in Italian). 2 March 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Northern European Social Democracy and European Integration, 1960–1972. Moving towards a New Consensus?". Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  10. ^ a b c "History". Socialist Group website. Archived from the original on 1 November 2007. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ "About the PES?". PES website. Retrieved 14 September 2016.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Saskaņa joins Party of European Socialists". Public Broadcasting of Latvia. LETA. 27 November 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  16. ^ a b c d "How does PES work?". PES website. Archived from the original on 30 October 2007. Retrieved 7 November 2007.
  17. ^ "Former PES Presidents". PES website. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 21 January 2008.
  18. ^ "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.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "PES Manifesto Towards a New Europe. Adopted by Election Congress 2014 in Rome" (PDF). PES. 1 March 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  20. ^ Mahony, Honor (7 May 2007). "Brussels struggles with communication policy". EU Observer. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
  21. ^ "PES Group Members". Archived from the original on 6 January 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2015.

External linksEdit