On 22-23 February, a delegation of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions, led by its President Catiuscia Marini, President of Umbria Region (Italy), is taking part in the Election Congress of the Party of European Socialists (PES) in Madrid, Spain, which will formally elect Frans Timmermans, current First Vice-President of the European Commission, as the PES Common Candidate for the next Presidency of the European Commission.
Commenting from Madrid, President Marini says: "Kicking off the PES campaign for the European elections in Spain, a country led by a Socialist Prime Minister fully committed to a more social, feminist, sustainable and united Europe, gives a loud and clear political message. The European elections represent an important challenge for the future of democracy in our countries. The European Union is at a crossroads and we as progressives stand ready to fight for a more equal society, based on solidarity, sustainable development and social justice. This battle can only be won if we anchor the European project to a new social contract that leaves no people and not territory behind".
"Progressive cities and regions want to be at the core of strengthening European democracy. These elections must become the moment when we start building a real dialogue with citizens that allows everyone to have a say on their future. Europe is in our towns, cities and regions and we are ready to fight this battle together with our progressive family for the European elections", adds the President of the European Committee of the Regions Karl-Heinz Lambertz.
Mayor of Athens and PES Group Member Georgios Kaminis says:" If we want to transform the European Union and keep alive the dream of an open, united, compassionate Europe of solidarity and peace, we need to empower our citizens and inspire their participation in all layers of government. Cities are the laboratories of progress and will play their part in this effort. The PES Manifesto that we adopted here in Madrid reflects these values and honors the work we have been doing in the Committee of the Regions over the past years."
Referring in particular to cohesion policy and its key contribution when it comes to reducing regional disparities, creating jobs and fostering social inclusion but also addressing climate change and supporting integration, President Marini reminds: "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 it is the concrete way to achieve a fairer and more equal European Union."
This Election Congress will also adopt the PES Manifesto, in the elaboration of which the PES Group has been closely involved, ensuring that the local and regional perspectives were duly taken into account. The Congress marks the official launch of the campaign for the European elections of the progressive political family, bringing also a strong support to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who is facing national elections on 28 April.