Monday, 8 June 2009

We need more, not less PES

While we await the final results of the European elections, it is obvious our socialist and social democratic family had a disappointing result.

We face a more conservative European Parliament, with a right that is more euro-sceptic and more nationalistic than before.

The low participation rate was a huge problem, especially for us. Our voters stayed away. They simply didn’t see the relevance of these elections. They did not see the political choices at European level - perhaps not surprising since these elections were mainly fought over national political disputes.

We had a European alternative, but it was not visible enough. Europe still needs a new direction. We are in the middle of a recession, and it will not go away. Wage earners are not to blame but they may end up paying the price. We will have 27 million unemployed next year unless we have a new and stronger European recovery effort. So we will continue our fight for more and better-coordinated investments in new jobs, and to save jobs. We will continue to stand up for social justice and equality. We will continue our fight for a global new deal, including a new strong global climate agreement in the coming months.

We have suffered a loss but we remain the second largest group in the European Parliament. We lost 3 percentage points overall, but we gained in ten member states including in the Czech Republic, in Sweden, in Greece and in Ireland where we are in opposition, and in Slovakia and Slovenia where we are in Government.

We need to reflect, and for our common European party to come forward with a renewed strategy and new ideas. But I say no to those who announce a profound crisis in European socialism. European citizens still depend on social democratic values for decent work, good schools, good health care and a clean environment. Europe still needs a society where everyone can participate, contribute and benefit. This is no time for dismantling our welfare states, it is time for strengthening them.

The centre-right cannot claim a victory for their policies. People are still worried about the crisis, and the crisis remains our number one priority.

The far-right made worrying gains in the elections. People still need us to stand up for respect and tolerance for all, and to continue to fight to protect all workers from the recession.

We need more PES, not less PES. We will make new efforts to strengthen our European political party because we must engage more than ever as a political family in European politics.


David T said...


Your AIFM Directive is an absolute disgrace. You hijacked the desperate financial crisis to push a form of regulation for which there is absolutely no prudential justification. What is worse, you're clearly determined to cut off private equity funding, just at the time that the European economy needs it most.

Thank heavens that we have a Labour government that will stand against this hugely damaging initiative

Sunder Katwala said...


Thank you for the message, and especially for all of your efforts across the EU during this campaign.

Despite your own personal efforts and those of your PES colleagues, in Britain, we can not really claim that we made a European argument, not in this campaign, nor for the last 10 years. Perhaps we have done this a bit more since the economic crisis, but we have hardly done it. So we risk losing the argument about the EU without fighting it.

Yes, the issues of our time demand social democratic values - but if this is not a crisis of our politics then it does require profound reflection. Neither of the stock responses that modernising social democracy has lost us our traditional base, or (sometimes) alternatively that we have not modernised enough, seem to me to recognise the scale or complexity of the challenge of building an effective politics of support for putting social democratic values into practice.


FloTom said...

What is clear from last nights elections is that whilst in Scotland is moving closer to the EU the people of England and Wales no matter what eurosceptic party they voted for are against the EU.

No amount of quibbling about a low turnout will change that. Political partys have continually claimed that partys like UKIP are "just protest votes" and the more they say it the more people vote for them.

The fact is if we had not been members of the EU we would not have had these elections and would not now have fascists from this country elected to it.

Furthermore we now have a Prime Minister and is it 7 ministers now with NO democratic legitimacy in England. How can these people speak with any moral authority against those fascists who now do have it.

Furthermore after reneging on the promise for a referendum on the Lisbon / Constitution he then appoints an UNELECTED Minster Glenys Kinnock to take it through Parliament. Again where is the democratic legitimacy in that?

Time to withdraw before the EU totally destroys this country.