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Progressive prime ministers emphasise need for European unity


19 Oct 2017


Social Europe & Jobs







Prime ministers and party leaders from the Party of European Socialists called for a united response to Europe’s challenges when they met to prepare common positions for the European Council meeting this afternoon.

Discussions among the socialist and social democrat leaders focused particularly on the upcoming social summit in Gothenburg on 17 November, and the urgent need to adopt not only a strong European pillar of social rights but an action plan to guarantee that its aims will actually be put into practice.

Leaders also exchanged views on approaches to a common migration strategy, and the importance of supporting development in Africa.

Chairing the meeting, PES president Sergei Stanishev said:

“We are disappointed to see that there is still no mention of Europe’s social issues on the agenda of today’s European Council meeting, despite the urgent need for action. PES will continue to seize every opportunity to promote these issues.

“At the same time as making progress towards a more social EU, we must also act in solidarity to tackle the other challenges we face. The migration crisis demands a comprehensive European approach based on the principles of shared responsibility, with strong cooperation with our partners in Africa and beyond. And we must ensure enough funding for the approach to be effective.

“The focus on the digital single market in today’s European Council agenda is very welcome. Progressive voices have a distinctive contribution to make here, to ensure that progress in the technological sphere does not come at the expense of workers’ rights or quality jobs. We will continue to fight for the decent jobs and strong social protections that the people of Europe deserve.”

Before the meeting, PES leaders met with hundreds of delegates at the ‘Together’ conference which brought together progressive parties and organisations from across Europe.

In attendance at the meeting were:

  • Sergei Stanishev, PES president (chair)
  • António Costa, prime minister of Portugal
  • Paolo Gentiloni, prime minister of Italy
  • Christian Kern, chancellor of Austria
  • Stefan Löfven, prime minister of Sweden
  • Joseph Muscat, prime minister of Malta
  • Bohuslav Sobotka, prime minister of Czech Republic
  • Alexis Tsipras, prime minister of Greece (observer)
  • Jean Asselborn, minister of foreign affairs, Luxembourg
  • Gianni Pittella, leader of the S&D group in the European Parliament
  • Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for foreign & security policy
  • Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs
  • Maroš Šefčovič, vice-president of the European Commission
  • Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the European Commission
  • Karl-Heinz Lambertz, president of the Committee of the Regions
  • Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Labour, UK
  • Fofi Gennimata, leader of PASOK, Greece
  • Jevgeni Ossinovski, leader of SD, Estonia
  • Nicholas Papadopoulos, leader of DIKO, Cyprus
  • Pedro Sánchez, leader of PSOE, Spain

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