Road to EU 2024

Socialists Congress in Malaga kicks off discussions for 2024 elections

November 2023
By Federico Trenta

European Parties affiliated with PES (Party of European Socialists) reconvened in Málaga for their annual Congress on 10-11 November.

The meeting in Málaga served as a forum to take stock of latest developments in the socialist sphere, validate a new structure for the Party and spark discussions on key pillars of centre-left priorities ahead of the definition of 2024-2029 European platform with the adoption of a formal resolution.

Former Swedish PM Stefan Löfven was almost uninamously re-elected as President of the Party, while Italian Giacomo Filibeck is the new Secretary General. The First Vice President of the Party is current President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament Iratxe García, while the Executive Vice Presidents are Katarina Barley and Francisco Andrè. The other Vice Presidents are Tanja Fajon, Victor Negrescu, Kati Pir, Andrzej Szejna and Radmila Šekerinska.

The Congress also voted to welcome Democratic Coalition (DK Hungary) as full member, and the following observers: Levizja Vetevendosje (LVV Kosovo), Belarusian Social Democratic Party – Hramada (BSDP Hramada Belarus), Belarusian Social Democratic Party – Narodnaya Hramada (BSDP Narodnaya Hramada Belarus), and the Party of Freedom and Justice (SSP Serbia).

In the final resolution, PES focused on the achievements and future priorities, paving the way to the definition of socialist political platform. First of all, PES revamped the call for a just transition for all, putting the citizen at the heart of any industrial and economic development, with a particular focus on the European Green Deal, as well as fiscal and social policies. Secondly, Socialists highlights the importance of a strenuous defence of Rule of Law within and outside European borders, including the promotion of a coordinated migration and asylum policy and the support for gender empowerment and youth policies. Last but not least, the external dimension of Europe, where PES reiterated the full support for Ukraine, the call for upgrading European cooperation on security and defence and a push for European competitiveness in all sectors.

The Congress came at a particularly turbulent time for the political family, with the recent developments in Portugal and Spain, as well as the suspension of Slovakian Government and the internal debate regarding the agreement of Italian Conservative Government with Albania’s Socialist PM Edi Rama. PES Leaders and members took the opportunity to exchange views on these thorny issues, laying the foundation for a common narrative to be used in next crucial months.

Informal discussions also regarded the run for EU top jobs and possible spitzenkandidat for the new European mandate, especially in light of Costa’s resignation in Portugal, and confirmation of Pedro Sanchez as new Spanish PM. While former Finnish PM Sanna Marin tentatively circulated as PES candidate for the Berlaymont, Antonio Costa’s possible bid for European Council Presidemcy is now strictly linked to the outcome of his investigation.

The formal discussions about candidates and political platform for 2024 EU elections were referred to the next Congress to be held at the beginning of next year.