Party of European Socialists

Party of European Socialists

party_name = Party of European Socialists
party_name_it = Partito Socialista Europeo
party_name_de = Sozialdemokratische Partei Europas
party_name_fr = Parti socialiste européen
party_name_sk = Strana socialistických eurokokotov
party_name_pt = Partido socialista europeu
party_name_es = Partido socialista europeo
party_name_bg = Партия на европейските социалисти
party_name_gr = Ευρωπαϊκό Σοσιαλιστικό Κόμμα
party_name_pl = Partia Europejskich Socjalistów
party_articletitle = Party of European Socialists
president = Poul Nyrup Rasmussen MEP (party)
Martin Schulz MEP (group)
foundation = 1953 (group)
1973 (confederation)
1992 (party)
ideology = Social democracy,
Democratic socialism,
Third Way
international = Socialist International
europarl = Forms own group
colours = Red
headquarters = Rue du Trône/Troonlaan, 98
1050 Brussels, Belgium
website = []

The Party of European Socialists (PES) is a European political party comprising of thirty-three socialist, social democratic and labour parties from each European Union member state and Norway. PES forms a parliamentary group in the European Parliament, the Socialist Group, which is the second largest grouping with over 200 MEPs.

The Party was founded in 1992 and is led by Poul Nyrup Rasmussen MEP. However the history of the Socialist Group goes back to the beginning of the European Parliament in 1953. Until the 1999 European election it had been the largest group elected in Parliament. The group is currently led by Martin Schulz MEP.


In 1952 the Socialist Group was formed and in 1973 the Confederation of Socialist Parties was founded, later becoming the Party of European Socialists in 1992. The party had done well in elections, being the largest single group in Parliament, until 1999 after the Santer Commission crisis.


In 1953, the European Parliament had been established (as the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community), socialist Paul Henri Spaak was elected as its first President. The social democrats within the chamber established the Socialist Group to work and vote together. Guy Mollet MEP was elected as its first chair and a bureau and secretariat was established in Luxembourg. In 1961 the socialists attempted to produce a common "European Socialist Programme" but were eclipsed by the applications for enlargement. Their 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 1964 the first woman chair was elected: Käte Strobel MEP. In 1971, once more a socialist, Walter Behrendt, is elected President of the Parliament.cite web|last=|first=|title=History|publisher=Socialist Group website|date=|url=|format=|accessdate = 2007-11-11]

In 1973, Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom joined the European Community bringing in new parties from these states. The enlarged Socialist Congress meet 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. In 1975 Socialist Georges Spénale was elected President of the Parliament.


With the first direct elections to Parliament coming in 1979, the Confederation approved the first common European election manifesto. The manifesto had aims to ensure a right to decent work, fight pollution, end discrimination, protect the consumer and promote peace, human right and civil liberties. They following year they won 113 of the 411 seats making them the largest single group. The Confederation approved its first statue in 1980 and the accession of Greece, then Spain and Portugal in that decade brought in more parties. Socialist Piet Dankert served as Parliament president between 1983 and 1984. In the 1984 election they won 164 of the 518 seats.

In 1987 the Single European Act comes into force the Socialist Group begin co-operation with the People's Party Group in order to generate the majorities demanded under the cooperation procedure.cite web|title=EPP-ED Chronology - 1981-1990|publisher=EPP-ED Group website|url=|accessdate = 2007-11-07] With the exception of the 1999-2004 People's-Liberal coalitioncite web|title = Interview: Graham Watson, leader of group of Liberal Democrat MEPs |url=|publisher=Euractiv|date=2004-06-15|accessdate=2007-11-01] the post of President of the Parliament has been split between the EPP and PES from this point on, with the PES Presidents being Enrique Barón Crespo MEP, Klaus Hänsch MEP and Josep Borrell Fontelles MEP. This left-right coalition has dominated Parliament for this period.cite web|last=Settembri|first=Pierpaolo|title = Is the European Parliament competitive or consensual ... "and why bother"?|url=|format=PDF|publisher=Federal Trust|date=2007-02-02|accessdate=2007-10-07]

Creation of the party

In the 1989 election they won 180 of the 518 seats. In 1992, with the creation of the European Union, the Confederation was transformed into the "Party of European Socialists". The first manifesto of the party concentrated on job creation, gender equality, environmental and consumer protection, peace and security, regulation of immigration, discouragement of racism, fighting organised crime and democracy. They went onto win 215 of the 626 seats in the 1994 election, the largest and most cohesive group, and Pauline Green MEP was elected Group President, its second female leader.

In 1999, the Parliament sparked a crisis when it refused to approve the Commission's handling of the EU budget. Allegations of corruption centred on two socialist members of the Commission (Commissioner Édith Cresson and Commissioner Manuel Marín), leading PES to view it as an attempt to discredit them ahead of the 1999 elections. So while the People's Party withdrew support from the Commission to force the member's resignation, the Socialists defended the Commission and attempted to bloc that move with Pauline Green MEP attempting a vote of confidence in the Commission. During this period the two parties took on a rare government-opposition dynamic with the Socialists taking on the position of the government-supporting party. However they eventually withdrew their support which forced the resignation of the Santer Commission.cite web | last =Ringer | first =Nils F. | title =The Santer Commission Resignation Crisis | publisher =University of Pittsburgh | month =February | year =2003 | url = | format =PDF | accessdate = 2007-10-07 ]

In the following elections, the People's Party defeated the Socialists, taking 233 seats to the Socialists' 180.cite web|title=EPP-ED Chronology - 1991-2000|publisher=EPP-ED Group website|url=|accessdate = 2007-11-07] 2004 brought in a further 10 member states and new parties with them. In the 2004 election the Party lost again, winning just 200 of the 732 seats.

Historical leaders

Presidents of the Party of European Socialists and its predecessors.cite web|title=Former PES Presidents|publisher=PES website|url=|accessdate = 2008-01-21]

Associate and observer parties


External links

* [ Party of European Socialists] , official website
* [ Parliamentary Group of the Party of European Socialists] , official website
* [ 2009 Manifesto consultation] , PES website
* [ PES Manifesto] , PES blog
* [ PES Group in the Committee of the Regions] , official website

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