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As democratic values defeat nationalism across Europe, S&Ds to debate on how to strengthen democracy in the EU


28 Apr 2022


Justice & Home Affairs

EU values are increasingly a priority for European citizens, as also shown recently in France and Slovenia where pro-European forces defeated nationalist movements. This week, the S&D Group in the European Parliament will host election experts to debate how European political parties can strengthen democracy in the European Union.

With leading experts on European elections, the event will look at how to reinforce European political parties and their role in drawing up transnational lists in European Parliament elections with a lead candidate for the role of President of the European Commission.

The event, opened by S&D Group President Iratxe García Pérez, comes ahead of the final conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe this weekend, and ahead of the European Parliament vote on its proposals for a reform of the European electoral law in next week’s plenary session. You can view the full programme of the event here and follow the event live on the S&D website from 14.00 on Wednesday 27 April.

Gaby Bischoff, vice-president of the S&D Group and vice-chair of the constitutional affairs committee, said:

“The challenges we are currently facing do not stop at national borders. The aim of a fairer and more social Europe that has ambitious climate and energy targets is not a domestic issue and can only be reached if the European Union acts jointly. This is the reason why voters look beyond their national borders when casting their vote, above all in European elections. European political parties, like the Party of European Socialists, have to play a more central role in the elections process. European parties transcend domestic politics and seek to create a true European public sphere. Historically, it has not always been easy to find space for EU politics alongside the domestic political agenda, but with challenges that affect the European Union in its entirety such as climate change, Covid-19 or the war in Ukraine, citizens fully understand the urgent need for joint European solutions to shared problems. We need to enhance democracy and build a political environment that enables parties across Europe to become active actors in the public sphere.”

Domènec Ruiz Devesa, S&D spokesperson on constitutional affairs and rapporteur on European electoral reform, said:

“The election results this weekend showed that European ideals are at the forefront of voters’ minds when choosing the path they want their country to take. But in order to decrease the appeal of nationalist movements, we must do more to close the gap between citizens and the EU and enhance ownership in the European project. We believe in improving trust in the institutions through more accountability and consolidating the Spitzenkandidaten process that directly links the candidate for the President of the Commission to the European elections. With union-wide lists, we would strengthen European political parties giving visibility to the logos and programmes creating a real pan-European debate so that voters are given much more opportunity to look beyond the domestic politics that normally fills up their newspapers, TV screens and social media feeds.”