Road to EU 2024

European Socialists’ manifesto firm on Green Deal and prioritizes global partnerships

January 2024
By Maximilian Powell

This week, the European Socialists circulated an early draft of their electoral manifesto, signalling a shift towards addressing external priorities within the European Union compared to its 2019 version. The draft underscores the importance of “renewed” cooperation agreements with third countries, with a specific emphasis on strengthening ties with the US and China. It also introduces plans to establish a new partnership of equals with the Global South, unveiling initiatives such as the EU-Latin America Progressive Agenda and an Africa-EU Partnership covering areas like the economy, green energy, climate change, migration, and democracy.

The manifesto’s circulation comes one week after that of its political rival, the centre right EPP, sharing several common themes while also presenting differences. On foreign policy, the draft aligns with the EPP in emphasizing the need for the EU to present a unified voice in foreign policy matters, advocating a transition towards more majority decision making. Within the section titled ‘Supporting Peace and Fundamental Values,’ the manifesto addresses the heightened tensions surrounding the Israel-Hamas conflict, proposing an international peace conference as a means to achieve an equitable two-state solution.

In contrast to the EPP, the Socialists firmly reject any interruption to the Green Deal and to any austerity measures, maintaining a steadfast focus on the environment and biodiversity as pivotal components of the Green Deal. Notably, the draft does not touch upon farmers or agriculture – seen to be a key battleground for the election.

Addressing the hot political issue of migration, the draft manifesto calls for a common and coordinated system based on solidarity and shared responsibility. It advocates for fair and respectful procedures, safe and legal pathways, the right to asylum and protection, humane reception conditions, managed borders, and effective return policies.

The Socialist manifesto also diverges from the EPP’s position on artificial intelligence, emphasizing the “human in control” principle and the imperative to regulate for responsible AI use – unlike the EPP, which focused on avoiding overregulation. According to the Socialists, prioritising democracy and working conditions over the profit of big tech companies is of paramount importance.

While currently under discussion, the document, anticipated to guide the Socialists’ upcoming EU elections campaign, has been circulated among national parties for feedback, with approval scheduled for the party’s electoral congress in Rome on 2 March.