The President of the Party of European Socialists, Sergei Stanishev MEP, addressed today the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), ahead of the institution's plenary session that adopted, inter alia, the CoR's response to the European Commission's proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights.
CoR PES Group members had a rich exchange of views with President Stanishevon the current state of play of social democracy in the EU, the roadmap of the Party of European Socialists (PES) for the 2019 European elections and the contribution that the CoR PES Group can make to the social democratic project. The key theme was the interaction between cohesion and growth and the role of cities and regions in the elaboration of a progressive vision for a Europe that effectively protects its citizens.
"We need to maintain effective cohesion policy beyond 2020, and this is going to be a challenge for European socialists and social-democrats in the likely context of a reduced overall EU budget under the new Multiannual Financial Framework", underlined the PES President, stressing the need for new own resources to adequately finance this vital policy.
"Even in relatively well-off European regions and cities, there are pockets of poverty and marginalisation, this is why we need cohesion policy, which is a tangible expression of European solidarity and empowers us to overcome the economic, social and territorial divide. The 7th Cohesion Report, that the European Commission has just published, shows the great impact of the EU's cohesion policy, for the years 2014-2020", confirmed Catiuscia Marini. In this context, she pointed to the pertinence of the so-called #Cohesion Alliance, a coalition that fights for a strong EU cohesion policy and brings together the leading European associations of cities and regions, the CoR and members of the European Parliament. It is worth noting that Sergei Stanishev expressed his full support to the objectives of the Alliance, signing the relevant declaration.
Other issues discussed included the procedure for designating the PES Common Candidate for the presidency of the European Commission post-2019, the eventual democratisation of this process through primaries held by PES member parties and organisations, the establishment of transnational lists for the 2019 European elections, the importance of effective citizens' dialogues on the ground, as well as ways to address migration and environmental challenges, which are of particular relevance to local and regional authorities.
Besides, CoR PES members agreed on the importance of a strong social Europe as a lever to reverse people's mistrust in the EU, acknowledging the key role of the European Pillar of Social Rights and calling for its swift endorsement at the Social Summit that will be held in Göteborg (Sweden) on 17 November.