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PES leaders: only true social fairness can save the European dream from destructive populism


03 Feb 2017


Global Europe
Social Europe & Jobs

Leaders from the Party of European Socialists today undertook to combat populism with social reforms – and promised to use the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome as a catalyst to change the direction of the European Union.

Prime ministers, head of state and party leaders from across the PES family met in Malta to discuss the challenges of migration and the future of Europe. The meeting took place a few hours before the informal EU summit and was hosted by Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat.

They also agreed that the PES will hold a high-level progressive summit in Rome on 25 March, to coincide with the Treaty of Rome commemoration.

Sergei Stanishev, president of the Party of European Socialists, said:

"We cannot allow populism and nationalism on either side of the Atlantic to ruin the dream of generations of Europeans. Europe is only stronger together.

"We, the European Socialists and Democrats have to stand behind the values that this Union was built upon – peace, cooperation and solidarity. Now more than ever we need unity and common action in our political family."

On migration, leaders agreed that Europe should focus on stabilizing the countries in Africa which are the source of migration, in close cooperation with UNHCR and other international humanitarian organizations.

Leaders committed to a harmonised EU policy on asylum and migration, and strongly supported the work of Federica Mogherini in tackling the root causes of the migration crisis.

On the future of Europe, leaders held a fruitful discussion on next steps in the light of world political events. They agreed that the sixtieth anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which helped to create the European Union, is an opportunity to renew commitment to European cooperation and build a more inclusive, effective and socially just Europe.

Summarising the discussion, Party of European Socialists president Sergei Stanishev said:

"Socialist and social democrat leaders today underlined their commitment to progressive reform in Europe – especially as we approach the sixtieth anniversary of the EU’s founding treaty.

"We are determined that the progress of the last sixty years should not be reversed or threatened by short-sighted policies and destructive 'solutions', whether they are from the centre-right, populists, nationalists, or anyone else.

"But Europe cannot stand still either. We will not accept the status quo. We must change the direction of the EU so that social justice, equality and the European social model are at the top of the agenda. Only this will address the root causes of populism."


  • Sergei Stanishev, PES president
  • Joseph Muscat, prime minister of Malta (host)
  • François Hollande, president of France
  • Antonio Costa, prime minister of Portugal
  • Paolo Gentiloni, prime minister of Italy
  • Stefan Löfven, prime minister of Sweden
  • Alexis Tsipras, prime minister of Greece (observer)
  • Fofi Gennimata, leader of PASOK, Greece
  • Gianni Pittella MEP, president of S&D group
  • Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for foreign & security policy

For more information, please contact Toby Wardman, +32 491 86 97 48 


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