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PES leaders stand with Ukraine


17 Mar 2022


Global Europe

PES Leader Meeting videoconference

Leaders from the Party of European Socialists (PES) today expressed their full solidarity with Ukraine and its people.

The extraordinary PES Leaders’ Meeting convened to discuss how socialists can best support the self-defence of Ukraine, lead the humanitarian response in Europe, and build a stronger and more independent European Union on the world stage.

Meeting online, leaders reiterated their support for the PES statement on Ukraine adopted by representatives of PES member parties and organisations during the PES Presidency of 24 February 2022.

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“There are many strands to this conflict, and we must get each one right. Ukrainian territorial integrity and independence must be respected in a way that does not escalate or spread war. There must be action on the humanitarian catastrophe, for people in Ukraine and for refugees. Europe must adapt to the new situation and end reliance on Russia for energy whilst supporting our most vulnerable citizens. And we must strengthen Europe’s ability to defend itself and its principles on the world stage.

“Wherever socialists and democrats are in power, we are acting on each of these points. We are working for peace, humanity, sovereignty and a strong Europe. The EU has shown true unity in the face of this crisis. We must harness this momentum to strengthen our Union for the future.”

PES leaders hailed Europe’s unity and solidarity in its response to the war and called for this momentum to continue, to strengthen the European Union so it can meet future challenges.

The meeting reiterated support for a strong humanitarian response to the war, in the short and longer term. They praised humanitarian volunteers and those citizens who are taking refugees into their homes. The meeting agreed support must address the challenging situation in Ukraine for women, who are now at risk of poverty and sexual violence, and for children, who are fleeing to Europe at the rate of almost one child every second. The targeted attacks on hospitals in Ukraine mean many women, including pregnant women, have little or no access to healthcare and many babies are trapped in the country.  Women and children must be protected from exploitation and human traffickers.

Socialists have taken decisive steps to cut EU-Russian energy ties. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has suspended Nord Stream 2, whilst European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans has come forward with a plan for Europe’s energy sovereignty: REPowerEU. The green transition, alongside other actions in the immediate term, will be essential to ensure affordable and reliable energy for citizens.

Progressive governments have made clear commitments to strengthening defence. Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Sweden are also providing equipment to Ukraine.

High Representative Josep Borrell has coordinated a common EU political response to the crisis, whilst Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, has coordinated the EU’s humanitarian response and - in a historic first - secured the activation of the Temporary Protection Directive to secure residency, education, social, health, housing and employment rights for refugees. To put solidarity into action and to assist member states and regions to provide emergency support for people fleeing the invasion, Cohesion's Action for Refugees in Europe (CARE) has been proposed by Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira and Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit. Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni has been central to the imposition of EU sanctions which are having a devastating impact on Russia, the provision of a 1.2bn EUR Macro-Financial Assistance package to Ukraine, and action to protect the recovery for the European economy.

In the European Parliament, the S&D Group, led by Iratxe Garcia, has been united in pushing for strong support for Ukraine, and to address the social and economic consequences of the conflict, including the need for a green transition to energy independence for Europe.

Ukraine has been the focus of discussions in the PES PresidencyEPSCOEurope ministers’ meetingdevelopment and cooperation ministerialForeign Policy NetworkDemocracy Network, and Environment, Climate Change and Energy Network.

The PES Leaders’ Meeting was attended by:

  • Sergei Stanishev, President of the Party of European Socialists
  • Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, European Commission
  • Ylva Johansson, Commissioner for Home Affairs, European Commission
  • Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, European Commission
  • Pamela Rendi-Wagner, Leader of SPÖ Austria
  • Conner Rousseau, Leader of Vooruit Belgium
  • Peda Grbin, Leader of SDP Croatia
  • Lars Klingbeil, Co-Leader of SPD Germany
  • Nikos Androulakis MEP, Leader of PASOK Greece
  • Bertalan Toth, Co-Leader of MSZP Hungary
  • Enrico Letta, Leader of Partito Democratico Italy
  • Enzo Maraio, Leader of Italian Socialist Party
  • Tanja Fajon MEP, Leader of SD Slovenia
  • Maria Vasiliadou, Deputy President, EDEK Cyprus
  • Eduard Odinets MP, Secretary General, SDE Estonia
  • Antton Rönnholm, Secretary General, SDP Finland
  • Christophe Clergeau, member of the PES Presidency, PS France
  • Ivana Bacik TD, Labour Party Ireland
  • Nils Usakovs MEP, Saskana Latvia
  • Marc Angel MEP, LSAP Luxembourg
  • Andrzej Szejna, Vice President, Lewica Poland
  • José Luís Carneiro, Deputy Secretary General, PS Portugal
  • Juraj Blanar, Vice-Chairman of Smer-SD Slovakia
  • Helene Fritzon MEP, Vice President of the Party of European Socialists, SAP Sweden
  • Iratxe Garcia, President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament
  • Alicia Homs, President of the Young European Socialists
  • Andreas Schieder, Co-Chair of the Global Progressive Forum
  • Conny Reuter, Global Coordinator of the Progressive Alliance
  • Zefi Dimadama, Vice-President of PES Women
  • Maria Joao Rodrigues, President of FEPS
  • Christophe Rouillon, President of PES Group in the Committee of the Regions
  • Achim Post, Secretary General of the Party of European Socialists             
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General of the Party of European Socialists
  • Giacomo Filibeck, Deputy Secretary General of the Party of European Socialists


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