Progressive Leaders Draw Red Lines on Europe’s Future, Prioritise Stability in European Council

Date

09 Mar 2017

Sections

EU Priorities 2020
Global Europe
Social Europe & Jobs
Security

Press release

Heads of state and government from the Party of European Socialists met today in Brussels to discuss the future of Europe and preparations for the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome later this month.

Leaders from 10 European countries reached agreement on the future of Europe, migration, and a common defence and security policy.

At the top of the agenda was the future of Europe, with discussions framed by the five options presented in the Commission’s white paper.

Leaders rejected the so-called ‘status quo’, ‘single market only’ and ‘less Europe’ proposals (white paper options 1, 2, and 4), which they said risked harmful unravelling of progress of the last sixty years – or even the European Union’s disintegration.

And they reiterated their determination to match jobs and growth with a strong social pillar so that the benefits of economic growth can be fairly shared among all Europe’s citizens.

PES president Sergei Stanishev said:

“This fundamental debate about the future of Europe is long overdue. We recognise that this is only the start of the discussion process, but socialist and social democrat leaders can already set out our red lines.

“We are determined to seize this opportunity to implement the changes for which we argue: a binding social dimension, strong rights, and policies to promote quality jobs, equality and diversity. And we will not accept changes which threaten any of these objectives.

“Any form of enhanced cooperation must be constructed in such a way that solidarity among all EU countries is preserved, and must not lead to the creation of first-class and second-class member states.”

On the Presidency of the European Council, leaders expressed their dissatisfaction with the current situation, but emphasised the need for stability at the heart of the EU at such a crucial time for Europe’s future.

Mr Stanishev said:

“The EU needs political equilibrium, not for its own sake, but because that is the only way that we can possibly deliver on what citizens need.

“We are not entirely satisfied with the presidency of Donald Tusk and his lack of vision when it comes to social priorities. But it would be equally unacceptable to oppose his re-election, only to end up with an even more unhelpful right-wing candidate. Progressive national leaders will not be blackmailed because of an internal feud on the Polish political right.

“We will continue to put social issues at the top of the agenda when we host the EU summit in Rome later this month, and again in the autumn at the major EU conference on jobs and social priorities in Gothenburg, Sweden.”

Leaders also agreed that they will continue to seek ways to safeguard the priorities of socialists and social democrats in EU decision-making.

On defence and security, the leaders warmly welcomed progress towards an effective common security and defence policy, as envisaged by Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. They reaffirmed their commitment to a genuinely shared policy which manages the challenges of migration, fighting terrorism and cross-border crime, while protecting the rights and freedoms which are crucial to open and democratic societies.

Regarding the situation in the Balkans and particularly in Macedonia, PES leaders continue to support strongly the struggle for democracy, the application of the rule of law and the respect of human rights, and called on all parties to respect the outcome of the election.

Also in attendance were members of the European Commission and the leader of the Socialist & Democrat MEPs, Gianni Pittella.

The PES meeting took place in advance of the full European Council later today. In attendance were:

  • François Hollande, President of France
  • Antonio Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal
  • Paolo Gentiloni, Prime Minister of Italy
  • Sorin Grindeanu, Prime Minister of Romania
  • Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden
  • Christian Kern, Chancellor of Austria
  • Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister of Czech Republic
  • Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luxembourg
  • Alexis Tsipras (observer), Prime Minister of Greece
  • Fofi Gennimata, President of PASOK, Greece
  • Gianni Pittella, leader of the S&D group in the European Parliament
  • Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy
  • Frans Timmermans, European Commission
  • Pierre Moscovici, European Commission
  • Corina Cretu, European Commission
  • Karl-Heinz Lambertz, Committee of the Regions

 

For more information, please contact Toby Wardman
toby.wardman@pes.eu, +32 491 86 97 48 

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