This article is part of our special report What’s next for European socialism?.
Socialism still has a long way to go. But following recent elections in various European countries, it is clear that progressive forces must regenerate themselves, write Gianni Pittella and Sergei Stanishev.
Gianni Pittella is the president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, and Sergei Stanishev is the president of the Party of European Socialists.
Our values of equality and solidarity are as relevant as ever in these uncertain times, and we must never stop defending and taking pride in them. Only a political vision shaped by equality and solidarity will enable Europe to overcome the challenges of climate change, technological innovation and changing demographics, and transform them into opportunities for high-quality jobs, sustainable growth and reduced social inequality. To be loyal to these principles, progressive forces must regenerate themselves. This requires courage and innovation.
With our TOGETHER initiative, the Progressives set out in a new direction. Since its launch, the S&D Group, PES and their partners began a journey around the cities of Europe to talk to citizens and redefine, together, the direction for a progressive Europe.
We organised topical discussions on social Europe, on the digital economy, and on cohesion policy. In addition, we looked at broader questions with events such as our conference in Rome on the future of the European Union. TOGETHER is our way of taking the discussion on Europe beyond the Brussels bubble: hundreds of people joined the discussions at our events across Europe, and thousands of people took part in our online debates before and during these events.
During this journey, we have learnt that socialist forces cannot exist if they don’t fight for justice. This is what we are doing every day in the European Parliament and across Europe. We are fighting for social justice with the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive – to ensure equal pay for equal work.
We are fighting for justice with the adoption of a comprehensive European Pillar on Social Rights, ensuring everyone in Europe has decent working conditions. And we are fighting for justice with a complete rejection of austerity as Europe’s guiding economic principle.
We are going further too in other areas, for tax justice, we are demanding a web-tax to ensure that all multinationals pay tax where their profits are made. We are fighting for international justice in partnership with Africa, to create a long-term strategy that can get to grips with the root causes of the migration crisis.
All these challenges are international and we can only tackle them effectively at a European level. We therefore need to increase what the European Union can do, extending its competencies and improving its democratic oversight. Together, we must define our project to change the European institutions by strengthening the European Parliament, which remains the ultimate home of European democracy, and by pushing back against the selfishness of some national governments who are undermining the European project.
Today together with our progressive leaders, with leading intellectuals and hundreds of engaged citizens and youth, we prepare our fight back to defend and strengthen Europe.
We need to stop the shift to the right in Europe, to stand up against it and in favor of our values to create a Europe that works for the many and not the few.
TOGETHER is a celebration of democracy and participation. It is our way of strengthening our community and paving the way ahead for a progressive Europe. Social democracy is still the beating heart of decency on our planet. Only by working together we will make Europe a more just, sustainable and democratic place for everyone.