Mon Dec 18th, 2006 at 09:05:30 PM EST
The PES, a coalition of the mainstream European socialist, social-democratic and labour parties had its big biannual congress last november 7th and 8th in Porto. Howard Dean was there, as were Ségolène Royal, Romano Prodi, Jacques Delors and a load of other luminaries.
Didn't hear anything about it? That's because the press wasn't reporting.
Thanks to the miracles of the internets, however, we can still access the main documents that were discussed and agreed upon. Here's the link.
The PES congress has been blogged by Jon Worth, who was attending as a PES activist. As Jon has noted earlier, the PES is starting to sign some signals of party cohesion, suspending the Slovak SMER for joining a coalition with a far-right party, and now adopting a number of more and less detailed common policies at its congress. Considering that few parties were running a really European campaign in the last elections, more party cohesion in the main parties is a good thing (regardless of the party).
So what are the common policies?
The main resolution adopted by the PES congress was a 10 point plan for a 'New Social Europe'.
'New Social Europe': 10 principles for our common future (.pdf)
To give a brief peak, here's a list of the 10 principles:
- Rights and duties for all - the essence of cohesion
- Full employment - the basis for the future
- Investing in people - we take the high road
- Inclusive societies - nobody left behind
- Universal child care
- Equal rights for women and men
- Social dialogue - we cannot do without
- Making diversity and integration our strength
- Sustainable societies - tackling climate change
- An active Europe for people
Explanations and specifications of how Europe should act on these according to the PES can be found in the document. Overall the level of detail is not very high, but you can get plenty of it in the report drawn up by the PES president Rasmussen and Delors. In that report, and in line with an earlier strategy, it is proposed that the countries of Europe boost their economic growth by simultaneously increasing the investment in education, labour market policies, R&D, child-care and 'other Lisbon Strategy priorities'.
In another resolution on energy policy, the PES calls for tackling climate change and energy policy "in a integrated way" and says that sustainable energy requires "a third industrial revolution". The resolution skirts some of the big issues (reduction of demand doesn't figure big outside of the energy efficiency context), but overall it seems promising.
Of course, these are all merely texts with ideas in them. It will be interesting to see how a more cohesive PES will put them into practice on the European and the national levels.