The 2017 PES Council, hosted by the Portuguese Socialist Party (PS) in Lisbon, Portugal, on 1-2 December, aimed at putting forward an ambitious and clear proposal for the future of Europe, and adopted two resolutions: one on the PES 2019 Common Candidate Roadmap for the position of President of the European Commission after the 2019 European Parliament elections, and one on #Progressive Europe/Renewal, which is centred around 40 actions and 5 thematic axes.
The Council was preceded by a statutory meeting and the annual conference of PES Women, held on 30 November. The PES Council was opened by the Mayor of Lisbon and CoR PES Group member, Fernando Medina and closed by a highly inspiring speech of former CoR member and current Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa.
Led by President Catiuscia Marini, the delegation of the CoR PES Group participated in the plenary debates as well as several workshops organised in the margins of the Council.
Taking the floor during the debate about the adoption of the PES Council Resolution, PES Group Vice-President Olga Zrihen called for an adequate future budget for cohesion policy, which is the key tool for tackling inequalities between and within regions and for restoring local and regional authorities' ability to invest in the delivery of public services. "Cohesion policy is the EU's biggest investment instrument, this is why it must remain well-resourced, innovative, locally-focused, and based on solidarity and sustainability", she emphasised. The point was retained in the final resolution.
ES Group President Catiuscia Marini intervened in the Council's plenary panel on “From the Social Pillar to a European social action plan”, alongside the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, Portugal's Minister for Labour Solidarity and Social Security, José António Vieira da Silva, Luxembourg's Minister for Labour, Employment, the Social and Solidarity Economy, Nicolas Schmit, the Vice-President of the European Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, Marita Ulvskog, and the Chair of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Kornelia Ninova.
In her intervention, Marini insisted on the need to swiftly translate the European Pillar of Social Rights into a concrete action plan "to kick-start a social Europe which puts young people first, does not leave anybody behind, and restores citizens' trust in the European project".
She reiterated the Groups' call for a strong future budget for cohesion policy for all European regions and also warned against using the European Social Fund for financing the European Pillar. "The Pillar should be provided with adequate financial resources, otherwise we risk losing our credibility in the eyes of European citizens", she concluded.