#ItsTime for a progressive Europe and cities and regions are ready for the fight!

25 February 2019
#ItsTime for a progressive Europe and cities and regions are ready for the fight!

Less than a hundred days before the European elections, the Party of European Socialists gathered in Madrid to launch its Manifesto and elect Frans Timmermans as its Common Candidate for the next Presidency of the European Commission.

 A New Social Contract was the pledge launched in the presence of prime ministers Pedro Sánchez (Spain), António Costa (Portugal), Stefan Löfven (Sweden), as well as PES party leaders from all over Europe and a delegation of PES Group members, led by President Catiuscia Marini, President of Umbria Region (Italy).

Addressing climate change and social inequality was the first topic on the agenda, to which the PES Group contributed through Rosa Balas Torres, Director-General for External Relations of the Regional Government of Extremadura, as the implementation of more than 65% of the Sustainable Development Goals relies on local and regional authorities.

Intervening in the first Leaders' panel on “A contract for fairness and equality”, Catiuscia Marini reminded the progressive family of the importance of cohesion policy and investment for Europe's territories: "We need a strong cohesion policy more than ever, especially against a backdrop of growing populism and Euroscepticism. Cohesion policy is not only the most visible expression of European solidarity in our territories but also a tangible instrument to achieve a fairer and more equal European Union."

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The President of the European Committee of the Regions Karl-Heinz Lambertz intervened on the all important topic of reconnecting Europe with its citizens, an issue at the heart of what this institution does:

It was PES Group Member Georgios Kaminis, Mayor of Athens, who relayed the voice of cities on the key issue of integration. "Governments think about borders. Mayors like me work for integration on the ground, in our cities and towns! Migrants are not a burden but an asset for cities welcoming them!", he said during the debate with Corina Creţu, European Commissioner, Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh, former Mayor of Malmo and Jaume Collboni, candidate mayor in Barcelona.

This was an issue that was echoed also by António Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal in his intervention:

Many crucial issues such as social housing and sustainability were raised also by PES Common Candidate Frans Timmermans in his closing speech.

Presenting the PES Manifesto, he argued: “I sense optimism here today, and right across Europe – spring is coming. I see young people marching for climate change, women standing up against inequality and violence, I see progressives campaigning for change across our continent. Spring is coming – I see it in Madrid, I see it in Portugal, in Germany, in Poland, I see it in Pedro Sanchez. He is key to Europe’s progressive future, and we stand with him in this election. We stand together, behind this manifesto, for a New Social Contract for Europe.”

It was Pedro Sánchez who closed the Congress, highlighting the difference between progressives and conservatives, with thousands of activists from all over Spain and Europe rallying behind his vision:

The seven pillars of the Manifesto for "A New Social Contract for Europe" are the following:

  • A free and democratic Europe
  • A Europe of solidarity for the many, not the few
  • A progressive Europe with a youth plan
  • A feminist Europe with equal rights for all
  • A sustainable Europe that protects our planet
  • A Europe of equality and fairness
  • A strong and united Europe that promotes a better world


The European elections will take place on 23-26 May, together with local and regional elections in many Member States. As PES Group, we are fully committed to fighting for a progressive Europe, starting from the local level, because this is the only way forward to build equality, social justice and a fair society for the many, and not the few.

Photo credit: Party of European Socialists / Flickr