Party of European Socialists

The Party of European Socialists is a social-democratic European political party.
The PES comprises national-level political parties from all member states of the European Union plus Norway and the United Kingdom. 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 and from the Mediterranean region are also admitted to the PES as associate or observer parties. Most member, associate and observer parties are members of the wider Progressive Alliance or Socialist International.
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. The PES also operates in the European 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:
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.



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.


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. 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.


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.
Along with the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, the founding members of the PES were:
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 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, at the time chairman of the Bulgarian Socialist Party and former prime minister of Bulgaria.
On 28–29 September 2012, the PES Congress in Brussels Congress elected interim president Sergei Stanishev as full President, as well as four deputies: Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, Elena Valenciano, Jan Royall and Katarína Neveďalová. The same Congress elected Achim Post 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.
Sergei Stanishev was re-elected PES President on 22–23 June 2015 in Budapest. The Congress also approved Achim Post as the Secretary-General as well as the four Vice-Presidents: Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, Carin Jämtin, Katarína Neveďalová and Jan Royall.
On 7–8 December 2019, the PES Congress gathered in Lisbon to elect its leadership. Sergei Stanishev was confirmed as party President and Achim Post as Secretary General. Iratxe García was elected by the new presidency 1st Vice-President of the PES and Francisco André, Katarína Neveďalová and Marita Ulvskog were elected PES Vice-Presidents.


Member parties

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.

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.

International memberships

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

President and Presidency

The President 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, a PES European Commissioner and a representative from associate parties and organisations.
The list below shows PES presidents and the presidents of its predecessors.


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 shapes PES policy. The Congress also elects the party's President, Vice-Presidents and the Presidency.
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.

European election primaries

In December 2009, the PES decided to put forward a candidate for Commission President at all subsequent elections. On 1 March 2014, the PES organised for the first time a European election Congress where a Common Manifesto 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. With a strong manifesto and a mandate to work for fairer, more sustainable EU, PES member parties joined forces to campaign for Frans Timmermans, mobilizing thousands across Europe.

PES in the European institutions

Overview of the European institutions

European Parliament

European Commission

s are meant to remain independent, however there has been an increasing degree of politicisation within the Commission. In the current European Commission, nine of the Commissioners belong to the PES family.
PortfolioCommissionerStatePolitical partyPhoto
First Vice President and Executive Vice President;
European Green Deal

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security PolicyJosep Borrell

Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight

Jobs and Social RightsNicolas Schmit


EconomyPaolo Gentiloni

Cohesion and ReformsElisa Ferreira

EqualityHelena Dalli

Home AffairsYlva Johansson

International PartnershipsJutta Urpilainen


European Council

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 StateRepresentativeTitlePolitical partyMember of the Council sincePhoto
Prime MinisterSocial Democratic Party of Finland10 12 2019
Prime MinisterSocial Democrats27 June 2019
Pedro SánchezPrime MinisterSpanish Socialist Workers' Party7 1 2020
Prime MinisterLabour Party13 1 2020
Prime MinisterSocialist Party26 11 2015
Prime MinisterSocial Democratic Party3 10 2014

European Council and Council of Ministers

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, Portugal, Malta, Denmark, Finland and Sweden.
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.


Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Committee of the Regions

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