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Saturday, December 4, 2010

PES Resolution adopted at Warsaw Council

The PES Council has unanimously adopted a resolution establishing a working group under the leadership of Ruairi Quinn TD (Irish MP pictured opposite) to bring forward proposals for the selection of the PES candidate for President of the European Commission at the next European elections. This is a hugely historic decision which builds on the decision taken at the Prague Congress (December 2009) that the PES will present an agreed candidate for Commission President at the next elections in 2014.

There are no predicted outcomes to this process and the Campaign for a PES Primary will continue to campaign for the selection of our candidate for Commission President through democratic primaries. However, we warmly welcome the very important step forward that the PES Council has taken and look forward to submitting our proposals to the working group.

A copy of the full resoluton can be read here.

The members of the working group are listed below:


Ruairi Quinn                                Labour, Ireland


Karl Duffek                                SPÖ Austria
Gilles Mahieu                              PS Belgium
Saïd El Khadraoui                      sp.A Belgium
Tero Shemeikka                         SDP Finland
Alain Richard                             PS France
Achim Post                                SPD Germany
Paulina Lampsa                         PASOK, Greece
Tibor Szanyi                              MSZP, Hungary
Piero Fassino                            PD Italy
Frans Timmermans                   PvdA, The Netherlands
Titus Corlatean                         PSD, Romania
Andrej Horvat                          SD, Slovenia
Diego Lopez Garrido                PSOE Spain
Ann Linde                                SAP, Sweden
Wayne David                           Labour, UK
Petroula Nteledimou                 ECOSY
Zita Gurmai                              PES Women
Martin Schulz                           S&D Group in the EP


Philip Cordery                          PES

Thursday, December 2, 2010

PES Presidency Resolution on selecting Commission candidate

The PES Council meeting in Warsaw is about to debate a PES Presidency resolution entitled, "A democratic and transparent process for designating the PES candidate for the European Commission Presidency." The draft resolution is not yet on line (I wil provide a link when it is published) but its key contents are as follows:

"We, European socialists and social democrats, will select our candidate through a democractic and transparent process. We will take this step towards a more democratic European Union in an open and confident approach ..."

"We will apply these principles to our own house and strengthen the internal democracy of the PES by bringing on board all our parties and all levels within the parties. Our common candidate will be chosen in an open way, we need to reinvigorate European citizens' engagement with European politics, and thus engage our members in one way or another. If we want to be a credible, modern and forward-looking alternative, the PES must have a democratic, transparent and inclusive process, which is both understandable and flexible and ensuring both the quality and the legitimacy of the candidate."

"Therefore, the PES sets up a Working Group "Candidate 2014", to discuss and propose a process. The discussion could include:
- the criteria to stand as a candidate, including proposals for endorsement
- the scope of the electorate
- the selection procedure
- the organisation and financing of the selection process
- a timetable for the selection"

"The decision on the process on how to select the PES common candidate will follow this timetable:
PES Council 2010: Establishment of the Working Group "Candidate 2014"
June 2011: Intermediary report of the Working Group "Candidate 2014" to the PES Presidency
September 2011: Final Report ... to the PES Presidency
PES Council 2011: Proposal from the PES Presidency to the Council. Adoption of the process by the Council"

The debate is to begin shortly ... follow its progress on www.pes.org or at www.twitter.com/pesprimary.

Blogging from the PES Council in Warsaw

Members of the Campaign for a PES Primary are blogging from the PES Council in a very cold and snowy Warsaw. You can follow our tweets here or on our Facebook page here.

Key events at the PES Council are:

Thursday (02 DEC)

13h00    Reception for PES activists from 13h00 in the main restaurant
18h00    Debate on  how the PES will select its candidate for Commission President
              (you can follow this debate almost live at www.pes.org)

Friday (03 DEC)  

13h00    Fringe meeting & Debate on how to select the PES candidate for Commission President

(this meeting wil be addressed by Desmond O'Toole and José Reis Santos of the Campaign for a PES Primary as well as PES activists from France and Paris-based think tanks active in this area).

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rasmussen writes on choosing the next Commission President

In a recent article on the renewal of European Social Democracy published in "Internationale Politik und Gesellschaft" (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung), Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, PES President, had this to say on the selection of a PES candidate for the next President of the European Commission:

"This is why the PES has committed itself to a course of action that will produce a clear democratically elected candidate to front the European elections. Giving a face to a political platform is imperative in today’s politics, especially in such difficult elections as the European ones. To make this election relevant, citizens must know that their vote can shape the executive and change policies. We have therefore made a commitment to choose a PES candidate for the European Commission presidency for the next European elections. This candidate will be expected to inspire party activists but also, most importantly, potential voters."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dan Luca (PSD Romania) says David Milliband for EU Commission President.

In a provocative article entitled "David Milliband - President of the European Commission in 2014", Dan Luca, President of the Romanian Social Democrats in Brussels, argues that the Party of European Socialists could attract the brother of the next British Prime Minister to be the PES candidate for Commission President in 2014. In order to attract candidates of the stature of David Milliband to run for the PES nomination it would be necessary to open the decision-making process to the individual members of the PES in democratic primaries.

Dan argues:

From a European point of view David inspires as a real politician, with big potential to become the President of European Commission in 2014. But the EU and the election system needs to change in order to get politicians like David involved at a European level ...

The key of my proposed mechanism is open elections of a representative for the Left as a candidate for the President of the European Commission. The selection phase should be very easy, clear and transparent. The decisive line is empowerment of the members, the activists. Their choice is the most important here. If too many bodies of the Socialists come together to "elect" the leader, this is not good.

In each of the 27 countries there need to be primary elections in 2013, and each country would have a winner who takes the number of the country´s votes. A more complicated election formula will be demotivating for the members.

In my opinion, David Miliband is one of the possible candidates for such an “exercise” and for sure a lot of Socialists would like to see him in the position of the President of the EC in 2014.

Dan finishes his blog article by asking a very loaded question:

Have we spotted a European “Obama” in the political arena?

Paul Alliès (PS France) writes on democratic primaries.

Paul Alliès is a professor at the Université de Montpellier, Secrétaire national adjoint for the Rénovation du Parti Socialiste and President of the Convention pour la 6° République (C6R). In an article on the well-known French blogsite, Mediapart.fr, entitled "Les primaires font tache d'huile en Europe", (Primaries are spreading throughout Europe), Paul discusses the recent meeting of the PES Network on Modernising Politics that was held at PES headquarters on the 23rd September.

In an interesting article, Paul describes the different procedures at the national level to select party leaders in social democratic and socialist parties in Europe. He states "The generalisation of primaries in Europe is a way towards another type of party, more respectful of the choice and weight of ordinary citizens"

Paul also comments on the Campaign for a PES Primary:

Un groupe s'est même formé de "PSE activists" avec principalement des militants irlandais, anglais et portugais pour mener campagne dans les réseaux sociaux en faveur d'une telle perspective (sur Facebook: Campaign for a PES Primary; et sur Twitter@PESPrimary). La généralisation des primaires en Europe apparaît donc comme une voie de passage, modeste mais inéluctable vers un autre type de parti plus respectueux du choix et du poids des citoyens ordinaires. Il n'est pas secondaire que ce soit la vieille social-démocratie qui porte ce changement.

A group has even been formed by "PES activists" comprising mostly Irish, English and Portuguese activists to campaign on social networks to support such a view (on Facebook: Campaign for a PES Primary, and on Twitter @ PESPrimary). The generalisation of primaries in Europe appears to be a path, modest but inevitable, towards another type of party more respectful of the choices and weight of ordinary citizens. Neither is it a secondary issue for old social-democracy to bring about this change."

Translation errors are my own. Desmond O'Toole.

Monday, October 4, 2010

La Repubblica discuses Campaign

In his blog, the Brussels correspondent for La Repubblica, one of Italy's main daily newspapers, discusses the Campaign for a PES Primary. In an article entitled, Si preparano le primarie europee, Andrea Bonanni, writes:

L’idea di lasciare ai militanti, e non ai governi o alle segreterie nazionali, il compito di designare il possibile presidente della Commissione è in sé rivoluzionaria. E probabilmente, se il PSE non avesse toccato il fondo della crisi alle ultime elezioni europee, neppure l’establishment socialista l’avrebbe accettata.

The idea of leaving to the militants, not the governments or the national secretariats, the task of designating the possible President of the Commission is in itself revolutionary. And probably, if the PES had not reached the bottom of its [electoral] crisis in the last European elections, not even the Socialist establishment would have accepted [this proposal].

Andrea also comments:

Tuttavia, se i socialisti riuscissero davvero ad organizzare una vera mobilitazione della base e vere primarie come avviene negli USA, probabilmente costringerebbero anche il PPE a fare altrettanto. Il risultato sarebbe che, chiunque vinca le elezioni, l’Europa si troverebbe per la prima volta ad avere un leader con una legittimazione democratica pari o superiore a quella dei capi di governo. Resta da capire se esista, oggi, in Europa, una personalità della sinistra in grado di coagulare un ampio consenso transnazionale.

However, if the Socialists were able to actually organize a real mobilization of the base and a true primary [like those] in the U.S., they would probably force the PPE to do likewise. The result would be that, whoever wins the election, Europe would, for the first time, have a leader with a democratic legitimacy equal to or greater than that of the heads of government. It remains to be seen whether, in today's Europe, a person of the left can bring together such a broad, transnational consensus .

Errors in translation are all my own. Desmond O'Toole.

Portuguese Press comments on campaign

Sábado, a Portuguese weekly, published an article (Friday 1st October) on the Campaign for a PES Primary entitled Português pode revolucionar Partido Socialista Europeu. In discussing the growth of the campaign for democratic primaries the article observes:

Esta ideia granjeou rapidamente simpatias um pouco por toda a Europa. Durante os últimos meses o assunto ganhou grande relevo na imprensa internacional.

This idea quickly gained some sympathy throughout Europe. Over the past few months the issue has gained great prominence in the international press.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

nonfiction.fr comments on Campaign for a PES Primary

nonfiction.fr carried a further article on Wednesday on the progress of the Campaign for a PES Primary. In an article entitled, "Primaires européennes: début d'une mise sur agenda politique?" or "European Primary: beginning of a political agenda-setting?" nonfiction.fr commented:

Enfin, il semblerait que les langues se délient du côté des représentants politiques européens. Hier, des députés européens – respectivement du PS belge du SPD, et du Partidul Social Democrat roumain – commencent à sortir de l’ombre sur ce débat, affirmant leur enthousiasme pour adapter l’idée d’une primaire pour le scrutin européen.

English translation (errors are my own. Desmond O'Toole)

Finally, it appears that European politicians are beginning to speak about it [Campaign for a PES Primary]. Yesterday, MEPs from the Belgian Socialist Party SPD and the Romanian Social Democratic Party have begun to emerge from the shadows on this debate, expressing their enthusiasm for adapting the idea of primaries for the European elections.

The remainder of the article can be accessed here.

Ana Gomes supports the PES Primary

The Campaign for a PES Primary is thrilled to report that support coming from MEPs of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament continues at great rhythm. Today Ana Gomes, Portuguese MEP from the ‘Partido Socialista’ declared her express support and commitment to the need for a primary or direct system to choose the next PES candidate for President of the European Commission in 2014, thus joining some of her colleagues in the European Parliament.

Ana Gomes was elected in 2004 a Member of the European Parliament and reelected in June 2009. She has been a career diplomat since 1980 and served in the Portuguese Missions at the UN in New York and Geneva, and also in the Embassies in Tokyo and London. Between 1999 and 2003, she was Head of Mission and Ambassador in Jakarta, where she played an important role both in the process leading up to the independence of East Timor and in the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Portugal and Indonesia.

Ana Gomes was diplomatic adviser to the Portuguese President (1982-1986); posted to the Permanent Mission to the UN and International Organisations, Geneva (1986-1989) and to the Embassies in Tokyo (1989-1991) and London (1991-1994); member of the Portuguese delegation to the Middle East peace process during Portugal's EU presidency (1992); member of the Special Political Affairs Office (East Timor dossier Timor) of the Foreign Ministry (1994-1995); head of office of the Secretary for European Affairs (1995-1996); member of Portugal's Permanent Mission to the UN in New York - coordination of the Portuguese delegation to the Security Council (1997-1998); head of Section of Interests and, later, Ambassador of Portugal to Jakarta (1999-2003).

She is a Law graduate from the University of Lisbon; member of the National Executive and Political Executive of the PS (Socialist Party) (since 2002); member of the PS National Secretariat and Secretary for International Relations (2003-2004).

In the European Parliament, her main areas of activity are: human rights, security and defense, international relations, gender issues and development.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Zgonea (VP PSD, Romania) declares his support for Campaign.

I met Valeriu Ștefan Zgonea of the Romanian Social Democratic Party last Thursday at the PES meeting of the "Network on Modernising Politics" that discussed how the PES would select our candidate for the next Presidency of the European Commission. Valeriu spoke passionately in favour of opening our European party to our entire membership and trusting them to make the decision as to who will lead us into the next European Parliamentary elecitons in 2014.

Valeriu is a member of the Romanian Parliament and Vice President of the Partidul Social Democrat. He is a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Administration, Territorial Planning and Ecological Balance and also of the European Affairs Committee. Valeriu has a prodigious legislative record in the Romanian Parliament, including on the national minimum wage, domestic violence and support for victims of natural disasters. In an article published today, entitled Democraţie peste frontiere, Valeriu writes (Romanian with English translation following):

Activiştii Partidului Socialiştilor Europeni propun organizarea alegerilor interne preliminare pentru a desemna un candidat al stângii pentru şefia Comisiei Europene. Iniţiativa dezvăluie viziunea stângii asupra modului de a lua decizii şi de a face politică şi se traduce printr-o democraţie reală, în sensul cel mai profund, prin implicarea tuturor membrilor şi simpatizanţilor partidelor PES din toată Europa. Stânga este aceea care a construit în Europa societatea bunăstării. Stânga a promovat drepturile muncitorilor salariaţi, dreptul universal la sistemele publice de sănătate şi educaţie. Stânga a promovat egalitatea deplină între bărbaţi şi femei.

Cât de diferit ar fi fost răspunsul Europei la actuala criză, la necesitatea creării de locuri de muncă şi incluziunii sociale, dacă în fruntea Comisiei Europene ar fi fost un social-democrat? Iată o întrebare care ne provoacă, ne obligă să căutăm soluţii şi să învăţăm din greşelile trecutului.

Continuăm în acelaşi mod, folosind dezinteresul unor grupuri tot mai extinse de cetăţeni sau votul negativ faţă de dreapta, sau facem paşi înainte şi deschidem partidul spre oamenii al căror sprijin îl dorim? Cred că trebuie să alegem un drum care pune pe primul loc oamenii. Stânga trebuie să dovedească, în acest moment, capacitatea de a include cetăţenii în toate deciziile care îi privesc.

Acest lucru este valabil nu numai la nivelul PES. Trebuie să fie un model şi pentru noi, pentru Partidul Social Democrat. Aş dori să organizăm alegeri preliminare în partid pentru anumite funcţii, de la preşedintele partidului, parlamentari, consilieri judeţeni până la candidaţii la primăriile orăşeneşti şi comunale. Aş dori mai multă transparenţă şi o reprezentare reală a cetăţenilor.

Alegerile preliminare conferă nu numai autoritate, ci şi capacitatea de a dialoga cu cetăţenii, cărora le propui opţiunea pentru o politică publică în folosul comunităţii. Totodată, cred că este o şansă de a reînvăţa ce înseamnă echipă! Nu se poate face politică în folosul cetăţenilor fără spirit de echipă, fără a cunoaşte problemele reale ale comunităţii, fără a ţine cont de părerea oamenilor. Politicienii trebuie să „coboare” din afişul electoral în rândul cetăţenilor. Numai astfel vom câştiga încrederea oamenilor şi le vom servi cât mai bine interesele. PSD trebuie să demonstreze că rămâne partidul celor mulţi!

Deputat Valeriu Zgonea,
Vicepreşedinte PSD

English translation

Activists of the Party of European Socialists are proposing internal primary elections to nominate a candidate of the Left for leadership of the European Commission. This initiative reveals a Left vision of how to make decisions and policy that translates into a real democracy in the most profound way by involving all members and supporters of PES parties across Europe. The Left are the ones who built Europe's welfare society. The Left has promoted the employment rights of workers and the universal right to public health and education. The Left has promoted full equality between men and women.

How different would the European response to the crisis be, including the need for job creation and social inclusion social, if the head of teh European Commission would have been a social democrat? Here's a question that challenges us, forces us to seek solutions and learn from past mistakes.

We can continue in the same way as before, and see disinterest in politics growing amongst citizens or voters switching to the right, or we can make steps forward and open the party to people whose support we want? I think we must choose a path that puts people first. It is for the Left to prove, at this time, our ability to include citizens in all of the decisions affecting them.

This is true not only in the PES. It must be a model for us, the Social Democratic Party [of Romania]. I would like to organize primary elections in the party for certain functions, for example the party president party, parliamentarians, city mayors and candidates for county and municipal office. I would like more transparency and representation of real citizens.

Primary elections confer not only authority, but also the ability to talk with citizens, who can propose options for public policy and community service. Also, I think it's an opportunity to revive our team! You can not politically serve the people without team spirit, without knowing the real problems of the community, regardless of how people feel. Politicians have to think of citizens beyond just election time. Only thus shall we gain the trust of people and best serve their interests. The PSD must prove that we remain the party of the many!

Deputy Valeriu Zgonea ,
Vice-President PSD

(Google translate and local editing - all errors my own. Desmond O'Toole)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Moscovici comments on the Campaign

Pierre Moscovici (Parti Socialiste France) has been National Secretary of the socialist party (PS) since 1995, minister for European affairs between 1997 and 2002, and member of the Assemblée Nationale since 2007. He successfully campaigned in favour of an open primary in the French PS by launching an online petition in June 2009. Moscovici is a leading socialist voice for the extension of democracy within the European Union and amongst parties of the Left.

On the 25th September, Pierre was invited to speak at the Liberation of Lyons forum, held in partnership with the Jean Jaurès Foundation, a leading French think-tank for progressive social change. In his speech on the subject « Construction européenne et l’idéal démocratique? », Pierre made reference to the Campaign for a PES Primary and the role it is playing in the democratisation of the EU's institutions and the creation of a European political space:

Les avancées de Lisbonne ne sont qu’une première étape dans la démocratisation des institutions et la construction d’un espace politique européen. D’autres progrès sont nécessaires, parmi lesquelles:

* Renforcer le rôle du Parlement européen qui, élu au suffrage universel, est le cœur démocratique de l’Union.

* Faire du Président de la commission européenne l’émanation directe de la majorité parlementaire. Il faut à ce titre accorder de l’attention à l’initiative de primaires ouvertes proposées par certains pour désigner le prochain candidat socialiste à la présidence de la Commission, qui conduirait donc les listes du PSE. Cette initiative peut contribuer à « percer » le silence médiatique sur les questions européennes et ranimer l’intérêt des citoyens pour ces élections.

* « Européaniser » l’élection du parlement européen à travers l’institution de listes paneuropéennes.

English translation:

The advances in Lisbon [Treaty] are only the first steps in the democratization of institutions and the construction of a European political space. Further progress is needed, including:

* Strengthening the role of the European Parliament which is elected by universal suffrage and is the democratic heart of the Union.

* Making the President of the European Commission a direct emanation of the parliamentary majority. It is for this reason that we should pay attention to the initiative for an open [PES] primary that has been proposed by some to designate the next Socialist candidate for the presidency of the Commission, and who would therefore lead the lists of the PES. This initiative can help "break" the media silence on European issues and revive the interest of citizens in these elections.

* Europeanising the election of the European Parliament through the establishment of pan-European lists.

The Campaign for a PES Primary is delighted to welcome the comments of Pierre Moscovici and warmly endorses the rallying call with which he ended his speech:

Il nous faut donc continuer sans relâche, ne pas nous laisser gagner par le scepticisme ambiant. L’Europe politique n’a jamais été une évidence ou un acquis, mais bien plutôt une ambition, un combat. L’idéal démocratique est au bout du chemin.

We must therefore continue without respite. We cannot let others win by skepticism. A political Europe has never been obvious nor inevitable, but rather it is an ambition, a struggle. The democratic ideal is our ultimate goal.

Note: translation errors are entirely my own. Desmond O'Toole.

Monday, September 27, 2010

MEPs begin to support PES Primary campaign

The Campaign for a PES Primary is delighted to report that MEPs of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament have begun to join the campaign. The first three MEPs to signal their support for more democracy in the Party of European Socialists are:

Vasilica Viorica DĂNCILĂ

Vasilica Viorica DĂNCILĂ is the leader of the 11 member Romanian delegation to the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament. She is a member of our Romanian sister party, Partidul Social Democrat. She is a member of the European Parliament's Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, the Delegation to the Mashreq countries and the Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean. Viorica has a long history of social democratic activism in Romania. She was Member of the National Council of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) (2005-2009) and the Executive Bureau of the National Women's Organisation of the PSD (2005-2009) as well as President of the National Women's Organisation of the PSD (2005-2009). She also served as a local councillor from 2004 to 2008.

Constanze KREHL

Constanze Krehl is a member of the 23-strong German delegation to the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament. She is a member of our German sister party, Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands. Constanze is a member of the European Parliament's Committee on Regional Development, Delegation to the countries of Central America and the Delegation to the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly. She has been a member of the European Parliament since 1994 and served as an observer MEP for three years before that. She has held various senior positions within the SPD, including Regional Chair in Saxony (1999-2004) and member of the SPD Federal Executive Committee since 1999. Constanze received the Federal Order of Merit in 1998.


Saïd EL KHADRAOUI is a member of the five-strong Belgian delegation to the Socialists and Democrats Group and is a member of our Belgian sister party, Sociaal Progressief Alternatief. He is Vice-Chair of the Delegation for relations with the Mashreq countries and a member of the European Parliament's Committee on Transport and Tourism. Saïd previously worked in the office of the Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium and Minister of Home Affairs (1998-1999), the office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Budget (1999) and was an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (from 1999). He was a member of the national party bureau of the SP.A and served as its International secretary (since 2007). He was a member of Louvain City Council (since 1994) and its Deputy Mayor (2001-2003). He has been an MEP since 2003.

The Campiagn for a PES Primary welcomes the support of these three MEPs and looks forward to more members of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament joning our campaign in the next few weeks.

1,700 people say YES to PES Primaries

1,700 people say YES to more democracy in Europe

Following the successful visit that the Campaign made to Brussels last week we are very proud to announce this morning that membership of our Facebook Campaign page has soared past 1,700 supporters. Thank you to everyone who has signed up as a supporter. Please continue to build the campaign. We need 3,000 supporters to be able to have the maximum impact at the PES Congress in Warsaw in December where the decision on whether to hold democratic primaries to select the PES candidate for Commission President will be made.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

22 Sept: meeting with sister parties in Brussels

Desmond O'Toole was the principal speaker at a meeting of representatives of PES sister parties in Brussels on the 22nd September. The meeting was called to discuss the Campaign for a PES Primary and was ably moderated by Nicole Fondeneige (Parti Socialiste France) and Werner Wobbe (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands).

Desmond opened his speech with the words:

"Political survival is not compulsory. Democratic primaries to select the PES candiate for the next President of the European Commission are part of our political family's fight for survival in Europe. We cannot continue with business as usual, as if nothing has changed. We must open our party out to the people whose trust and support we seek and whose interests we serve. This means that to once more be able to change our world, we first have to change ourselves."

A lively debate then took place in which a number of questions were asked about how realistic it was to organise democratic primaries across Europe for the post of PES candidate for Commission President and whether such a process would ultimately be successful in engaging party members and citizens. Also raised was the question of how such primaries might be financed given the scale of the proposed electorate. Also discussed was the enormous opportunities that democratic primaries would open up for the PES to respond positively to the popular mood for transparency and inclusiveness that has taken hold across Europe. Primaries were one way of confronting the atmosphere of cynicism and despair about politics that is common in Europe today.

In conclusion, Desmond argued that:

"A political family that had built Europe's social welfare systems, introduced rights and protections for working people, championed universal public services like health and education, promoted equality between women and men and lifted so many people out of poverty and alienation could not now claim that it was unequal to the task of renewing itself. European social democracy must inspire every bit as much as it must be realistic. We must meet the demands of people to be included in the decisions that affect our lives. We must trust our own members and reach out to the citizens that we want to represent. Democratic primaries in the PES are one of the most important ways in which we can do this and so shape a new Europe that puts people first."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Over 1,600 Supporters on Facebook

1,600 people say more democracy in Europe

On the day that the Campaign for a PES Primay came to Brusels, we are delighted to announce that we have soared past 1,600 members on our Facebook campaign group.

Financial Times Deutschland covers the campaign

The following article was carried in the Financial Times Deutschland this morning. It arose from an interview I gave when I arrived in Brussels yesterday and dicusses both the Campaign for a PES Primary as well as the likelihood that other European parties like the EPP (Conservatives) and the Greens will follow our lead.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Campaign arrives in Brussels

Campaign organisers, Desmond O'Toole and José Reis Santos will be speaking at events in Brussels tomorrow evening (Wednesday 22 September) on the Campaign for a PES Primary.

1. PES activists On-line Conference

This is part of a series of broadcast conferences hosted by the PES Secretariat in Brussels which bring PES activists together from across Europe to listen and contribute to the debate on key issues in European politics and PES campaigns. Desmond and José will be joining Anne Morin of the PES Secretariat to discuss "Choosing a PES candidate for the European Commission Presidency".

Access to the on-line conference is unfortunately only available for registered PES activists and citygroups, who will already have received details about how to join the conference. However, the conference is recorded and will be available for general viewing immediately after it has ended. A link to the recording will be provided on this website.

There are two broadcasts, one in English at which Desmond will speak, and one in French at which José will speak. The English-language conference takes place on-line between 18h30 and 17h00 CET, and the French-language conference between 19h15 and 19h45.

2. Brussels-based PES national party branches

Desmond will be the main speaker at a joint meeting of the Brussels-based branches of the PES national member parties which will discuss the Campaign for a PES Primary and the selection of the PES candidate President of the European Commission.

This open debate will be moderated by Nicole Fondeneige (PS France) and Werner Wobbe (SPD Germany) The meeting is open to members of the PES national party branches based in Brussels and will take place at 19h00 at 15, Avenue de Tervuren - 1040 Etterbeek. A report on this meeting of "sister party brances" will be carried on this blog at a later date.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Add a twibbon to your Facebook or Twitter profile

I just supported the Campaign for a PES Primary by adding a sticker to my profile picture. Get the sticker and show your support now at twibbon stickers. This is a really good way to show your support in the week that we will be making our presentation to PES officials and national party representatives at the meeting of the "Network on Modernising Politics" on Thursday 23rd September.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Over 1,500 supporters now on Facebook

Over 1,500 supporters from all across Europe have now joined our Facebook campaign page. That puts us over half-way to our first main target of 3,000 supporters. It's great news and an indication of how important so many progressive citizens view the campaign to further democratise the Party of European Socialists.

The first big test for our campaign will take place next week when a campaign organiser will visit Brussels to lobby activists, MEPs, journalists and party officials on the Campaign for a PES Primary. The itinerary for the visit is as follows:

Wednesday 22nd September

11h00 to 17h00    meetings with officials and journalists
18h30 to 19h00    on-line conference with PES activist citygroups
19h00 to 21h00    debate at joint meeting of PES sister party branches

Thursday 23rd September

11h30 to 16h00   Meeting of the PES Network on Modernising Politics

This is the meeting at which a presentation will be given to PES officials and PES national party representatives about our call for the PES candidate for President of the European Commission in 2014 to be chosen by the individual members of the PES national parties in democractic primaries.
Friday 24th September

11h00 onwards (tbc)   Other meetings at PES head office.

If there are any campaign supporters or other citizens interested in the campaign who want to meet with us during the visit to Brussels please contact us at pesprimary (at) gmail.com

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

PES Leaders write to the Campaign

Poul Nyrup Rasmussen and Philip Cordery

Poul Nyrup Rasmussen (PES President) and Philip Cordery (PES Secretary General) have written a joint letter to the organisers of the Campaign for a PES Primary. Their letter came in response to letters written by Desmond O'Toole and José Reis Santos a couple of weeks ago formally advising the party leadership of the Campaign.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Over 200 supporters gained in last two days

That's 1,300 supporters who have now joined the Campaign for a PES Primary. We are well on our way to the half-way mark and we are so grateful to everyone for their solidarity and good wishes.

We also received formal confirmation from the PES head office today of the arrangements for the meeting in Brussels on the 23rd September. This is the meeting at which Desmond O'Toole will present our proposals for democratic primaries to select the PES candidate for President of the European Commission.

The meeting will last all day and will bring representatives of the PES national member parties together to discuss a number of subjects including the selection of the PES candidate for Commission President. There is a lot of work to be done to prepare the presentation, but all of the support that you are providing is a great encouragement to us as we build support for our proposals.

The PES is the first European party to discuss opening up the way that we will select our presidential candidate. It is a strong  indication of the strength of democracy in our party that PES activists are being asked to participate in this debate at such an early stage. With your continued support and with many more people joining us each day we will succeed in achieving our dream of a more democratic, open and inclusive Party of European Socialists.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Alegeri preliminare in PES, acum!

PES activists in Romania have been campaigning very strongly amongst their members for a democratic selection process to choose the PES candidate for European Commission President in 2014. Almost 20% of the supporters for our Facebook campaign are members of the Romanian Social Democratic Party (PSD); that's over 200 people. They have now taken their campaign to the PSD Summer School where they will be looking for even more people to sign up to support greater democracy in the PES.

In a blog article on their webpage entitled, "Alegeri preliminare in PES, acum!", Victor Negrescu (President-Coordinator, PES activists Romania) writes:

« Cred ca este timpul sa construim un nou nivel al democratiei, democratia europeana, iar PES trebuie sa fie in avantgarda politicii europene pentru a deveni un exemplu si a convinge europenii de seriozitatea ideilor si principiilor noastre de stanga. PES activists Romania va fi un puternic sustinator al acestui principiu iar campania de promovare de abia a inceput » declara Victor Negrescu, presedinte-coordonator national PES activists Romania.

PES activists Romania extinde participarea la campania europeana si va realiza o campanie proprie de promovare in interiorul Partidului Social Democrat dar si in randul populatiei din Romania. Prima etapa este realizarea unei campanii de promovare la Scoala de Vara a PSD, urmata de scrisori de sustinere catre leadershipul partidului

A leaflet has also been produced for circulation at the PSD Summer School which can be downloaded here.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Six weeks to gain 3,000 to 5,000 supporters. Yes, it really is that important.

Many thanks to you for all of your support for the Campaign for a PES Primary and for helping us to reach over 1,000 supporters on Facebook. In less than six weeks we have attracted the support of PES activists, public representatives and progressive citizens for our campaign for the PES to hold democratic primaries to select our candidate for the next Presidency of the European Commission.

That's over 1,000 people who want to put democracy first in the PES and to use that as a platform for Europe to take a new direction at the next European Parliament elections in 2014.

Our campaign is also attracting considerable comment in the European media. "Euobserver" and "EurActiv" have both carried articles on the campaign and "New Europe" has published an opinion piece in their newspaper on the work that we are doing. We are also seeing a lot of political interest in the campaign as MEPs and officials return from the Summer vacation.

This is important because we are now reaching the first big challenge for the campaign. In three weeks time, on the 23rd September, I will be presenting our proposals to an internal meeting of the PES in Brussels. Our aim is to ensure that the PES organisation and the PES national parties endorse our call for democratic primaries. While we have encountered no opposition to our proposals so far in the PES we cannot take anything for granted. This is a project with huge transformative potential but it requires hard work and dedication to ensure that we deliver our objectives.

That's why I have a request to make of you. The feedback I have received from across the PES is that while gaining over 1,000 supporters in six weeks is impressive, we need to attract betwen 3,000 and 5,000 people in order to make a real impact on the decision-makers in the PES national parties. I know that this will be a huge task, but it is essential to demonstrate the level of grassroots support for our ideas.

Can I therefore ask you to invite just 10 of your Facebook friends to join this campaign group. Don't just send them an invite ... please contact them individually and encourage them to sign up. It really is that important. And remember, we have less than three weeks to achieve this level of support. So please contact 10 of your Facebook friends today and ask them to support our campaign group.

When we make our presentation in Brussels we really need to be able to anticipate all possible objections. With thousands of people supporting the campaign we wil be able to make a much more convincing case for a democratic PES.

Amitiés socialistes ... Desmond.

Desmond O'Toole and José Reis Santos
Campaign for a PES Primary

Thursday, September 2, 2010

PES website blogs the Campaign for a PES Primary

The campaign is delighted to report that the official PES website (www.pes.org) is now carrying a blog article describing the Campaign for a PES Primary. This is not OFFICIAL support for our campaign, but it does show the seriousness and credibility of what we are arguing for.

In an article entitled, "Activists float idea of PES Primaries", the PES blog notes:

In an example of using social networking to organising an activists campaign, on the 26th of July a group of PES activists, led by Desmond O’Toole (Irish Labour Party), and José Reis Santos (Portuguese Socialist Party), launched a Campaign for a PES Primary on Facebook. So far the Group has attracted over 1000 members and is generating significant publicity with articles in New Europe and euobserver, not to mention blog articles by Jon Worth, David Chopin and Ralf Grahn amongst others.

According to Desmond and José, the campaign’s objective is that the next PES Council, in Warsaw in December, agrees to schedule democratic primaries in every member party of the PES to select the candidate for Commission President. This call is based on Resolution 2 from PES Congress 2009 in Prague, in which it was agreed that giving a face to a political platform is imperative in today’s politics, especially in such difficult elections as the European ones. To tackle apathy at the European ballot box it was agreed to have a PES candidate for the European Commission Presidency.

Primaries are just one mechanism of choosing a candidate. In a paper by Dr. Ania Skrzypek, FEPS Policy Advisor, there are at least five methods suggested for selection. One thing is clear however, the goal is a landslide victory in 2014, how that goal is reached is going to be an exciting and engaging debate.

Pelas primárias para escolher o candidato do PES a Presidente da Comissão Europeia

A Portuguese language blog, Loja de Ideias, has picked up news of the Campaign for a PES Primary. The blog article reads:

Como sabem (e se não sabem, ficam a saber) está a haver um debate no seio do PES (Partido Europeu Socialista) sobre como decidir o próximo candidato do PES a Presidente da Comissão Europeia. Uma das propostas, apresentada por destacados membros do PES Activists (e um deles - o José Reis Santos - escreveu por aqui em tempos) é efectuar esta nomeação por eleições primárias nos vários partidos pertecentes ao PES.

The original article can be viewed here.

Monday, August 30, 2010

European Tribune discusses PES Primaries

Luis de Sousa, writing in European Tribune, has this to say about the Campaign for a PES Primary:

"For the first time in my life I'm considering registering with a political party. Why? Because of an initiative that has the potential to completely change the way politics is made in Europe. Two PES activists are proposing a US-style primary system to find the PES candidate for Commission President, where registered party members elect directly their preferred leader. If it ever comes to be like this, both politics and elections in Europe will never be the same, Eurocrats will come closer to Eurocitizens and we'll stop having nomination-surprises like Van Rompuy or Barroso.

The beauty of it all, the sheer elegance, is that all this can be achieved without new treaties, new framework laws or endless Council negotiations, it's all coming from the Citizens themselves. This is how Europe must be built."

His article has sparked a lengthy disuscsion amongst EuroTrib users about the campaign and what it might mean for the development of democracy in the European Union. You can follow the debate here.

Campaign now mentioned on Wikipedia!

It is only a small entry, which I am sure will grow as this campaign begins to deliver, but the Wikipedia entry on Elections in the European Union, has this to say on the Campaign for a PES Primary:

"The Socialists, disappointed at the 2009 election, agreed to put forward a candidate for Commission President at all subsequent elections. There is a campaign within that party to have open primaries for said candidate."

Other media republishing articles on our campaign

A number of other news organisations have begun republishing news articles first carried in euobserver.com and EurActiv.com (including the erroneous reporting by EurActiv of independent Ralf Grahn's political affiliation). Here are some of the more prominent articles:

republishing EurActiv article

republishing euobserver article

republishing euobserver article

republishing euobserver article

Après le PS Français, les primaires en Europe?

David Chopin (27roses.eu and PS Paris) has drawn our attention to a French language news and review site that is commenting on the Campaign for a PES Primary. David describes the article as, "Quel article passionnant ! quel auteur avisé ! très bon article de l'excellent Non Fiction..." The news site is called nonfiction.fr, and describes itself as:

NONFICTION.FR, LE QUOTIDIEN DES LIVRES ET DES IDEES est un site d'actualité des idées et de critiques des livres animé par un collectif de chercheurs, de journalistes et de créateurs de sites Internet. Il vise à renouer avec un journalisme intellectuel de qualité, à donner la parole à une nouvelle génération de chercheurs, à contribuer à la modernisation des idées politiques progressistes, à défendre et valoriser les livres de sciences sociales et à ouvrir le monde des idées de notre pays à l'international.

In an article titled Après le PS Français, les primaires en Europe?, the author comments:

Si l’Europe est bonne ou mauvaise, c’est désormais de son fait par le biais des élections, depuis le traité de Lisbonne : on ne le dira jamais assez, dans les textes, le parti européen gagnant dispose du choix pour la présidence de la Commission. Cette innovation avait pour but de développer l’intérêt pour la vie politique européenne, pour l’instant, admettons que nous en sommes encore aux balbutiements.

The article ends:

L’humain est ce qu’il est, rassuré dans ce qu’il connaît déjà, menacé par toute innovation. Même limitée, et même si cette initiative rate son objectif premier, force est de constater que l’effervescence des contributions et des liens entre européens, créés par ce mouvement, est déjà un succès en soi. Il importe donc de soutenir et d’observer de très près ce mouvement pour comprendre et connaître l’Europe politique de demain...

It is a fascinating examination of the background to primary politics in Europe and I would recommend reading the entire article at this link.

1.000 supporters on Facebook ... WOW!

Thanks to all of your efforts we have now attracted 1,000 supporters to our Facebook page. This is truly extraordinary. It is less than six weeks since José and I launched the Campaign for a PES Primary and in this short time we have attracted massive support from PES activists and supporters across our political family. We have also attracted considerable support and positive comment from citizens outside of the PES. This is strong evidence for our claim that democratically selecting the PES candidate for Commssion President has the capacity to energise our party and attract huge support from the citizens we seek to represent in the European Parliament.

Later today we will be launching an on-line discussion forum that we hope will provide a platform for PES activists and independent progressive citizens to develop and refine our ideas for PES Primaries. Watch out for our announcement this afternoon!

Image "borrowed" from Confederation of Christian Trade Unions in Belguim (http://wp.me/pxa3n-iA).

"New Europe" opinion piece on Campaign.

BREAKING NEWS: "New Europe", a leading European news organisation, carries an opinion piece today on the Campaign for a PES Primary. This is more evidence that the Campaign is attacting comment and support from outside our political family and has the potential to translate that positive interest into a wave of support at the European elections in 2014.

I was asked by "New Europe" to write an opinion piece for this month's issue. I wanted to concentrate on why we were running this campaign and the difference that I belive it will make to our European party.

The article, headlined "PES primaries and the European Commission President", opens:

I was in Brussels on the evening last June 2009 when the results of the parliamentary elections started coming in from around Europe. To say they were a disappointment to members of the Party of European Socialists (PES) is an understatement. There were many reasons for this defeat. One of these reasons was that while the PES offered an intelligent, radical and compelling manifesto, we failed to agree a candidate for Commission President who would embody and articulate that manifesto. Our failure to agree a single candidate confirmed people’s suspicions that closed-door deal-making in the European Union remained the norm.

The remainder of the article can be read here.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Desmond O'Toole writes guest article on jasonomahoney.ie

A short while back I was invited by Jason O'Mahoney, a commentator on Irish and European politics, to contribute a guest article to his blog jasonomahoney.ie. The article, "Why should European democracy matter?" puts the Campaign for a PES Primary in a joint Irish and European context and emphasises the common failure of Conservative and Liberal politicians at both national and European level to adequately respond to the current economic and social crisis.

The following gives some flavour of my views:

The Irish government is utterly overwhelmed by and patently unfit to address the profound crises that Ireland is suffering, but what of the EU’s response? With its eurozone structures, capacity to co-ordinate and lead government action and substantial budgets for regional and structural funding the EU possesses significant resources to bring us through these difficult times. But the European Commission has demonstrated extraordinary lassitude in mobilising a continent-wide effort to create jobs, protect standards of living and promote strategies for economic recovery and growth. Led by José Manuel Barroso, the Commission has shown itself unequal to the task.

You can read the remainder of the article at this link.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

EurActiv covers the Campaign: Grassroots socialists push for EU election primaries

EurActiv.com is one of Europe's leading on-line news sources. In an article entitled "Grassroots socialists push for EU election primaries" and published today, they discuss the Campaign for a PES Primary and survey the discussions that are taking place in the European blogosphere. They report that,

"Grassroots socialists across Europe are pushing for primaries to be held ahead of European elections, by means of blogging and web campaigns, with the ultimate goal of identifying a leftist leader capable of becoming the next European Commission president, EurActiv has learned."

The rest of the article can be read here.

Irish Institute of International & European Affairs blogs on our Campaign

The Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) is Ireland’s leading think tank on European and International affairs and is an independent, not-for-profit organisation with charitable status. Its extensive research programme aims to provide its members with high-level analysis and forecasts of the challenges on the global and EU policy agendas which impact on Ireland. It acts as a catalyst for new thinking, new solutions and policy options.

Shane Fitzgerald of the IIEA writes on our Campaign,

At the moment this is still very much a grassroots campaign. It lacks endorsement from the PES or its constituent parties (the activists hope to make their case at the PES Council in Warsaw in December) and the technical obstacles to implementation should not be underestimated. But the idea has been steadily gaining traction online. At a time of widespread disenchantment with European politics, this initiative could yet make a big splash in Brussels.

The full article can be read at this link.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Combining competition and subsidiarity will be the key to a compromise for a PES primary.- Aymeric Lorthiois

Since the early twentieth century, from Canada to Japan without forgetting Europe, history is full of examples of political parties that agreed to democratize the process of selection of their leading candidate in order to overcome an unprecedented defeat. With a reduced influence in the European Parliament (25% of the seats) as well as in the EU Council (20% of the states and 16% of the population), the PES finds itself indeed in such a situation.

This poses naturally the question of a primary election to select the PES candidate for Commission president for the 2014 elections. The idea is not only to democratise the party, but also to give PES a presidential candidate who, more than just a good spokesman, would be able to draw a direct link with progressive voters and initiate the return to power of the party in Europe. Such a presidential candidate is not something one can improvise. Nor can we expect the leaders of PES member parties to take the risk of this designation themselves. In reality, only PES members can take responsibility for such a designation. Only they can lead the different contenders to work on their programmes, to strengthen their capacity to gain supporters, and to better meet the expectations of voters.

However, to ensure an ambitious choice, the PES primary will have to conciliate two objectives: first to take into account the specificities of PES member parties; and then to organise a visible and long-time competition resulting in an unambiguous choice.

A primary declined nationally

Currently, out of 30 PES member parties, only 11 select their national party leader through a primary, with very different rules from one party to another. The majority of PES member parties actually prefers to stick to a more restricted process: a vote by party delegates gathered at a specific party convention with 130 to 1,700 participants. Faced with such diversity of systems, the PES primary can find a compromise allowing member parties to keep on working according to their conception of internal democracy.

The PES primary should thus be an indirect primary, phased into two stages: State by State, PES members would first select the member parties’ delegates, before a delegates convention takes place for nominating the PES presidential candidates. Though indirect, this process would still remain a primary, as long as PES activists would elect “pledged” delegates that have openly committed to vote for a specific candidate. The remaining problem would be the overall allocation of delegates’ seats between member parties, preferably on the basis of the composition of the European Parliament.

This system would allow each member party to appoint its delegates according to the procedure that suits him best, the general principle being that PES members should be involved. This way, in order to select its delegates, the British Labour party could apply the method of the three electoral colleges already used for the designation of its national leader, giving one third of votes to the trade unions, and one third to parliamentarians. The Italian PD and the Greek PASOK could, in turn, make the choice of open primaries. Finally, the most reluctant member parties may, if necessary, derogate from the general principle of consulting PES activists by devolving the selection of their delegates to a more restricted party assembly.

A visible competition and an unambiguous choice

The objective of such a system is also to lead to an ambitious candidate that is well-identified among voters. In this view, the process should aim at organising an open and fair competition attracting media coverage and leading to an unambiguous choice.
First, the process should not be artificially restricted to a handful of authorised candidates. In order to avoid suspicion on the preliminary qualification of candidates, any PES member should be able to run for the presidential nomination provided she or he obtains the sponsorship of a limited number of PES elected representatives in different countries.

Then, another important question is the timing of the different ballots. One of the primary strengths of the US primaries is indeed its timing. The phasing of individual States’ votes over several months leads candidates to work on their project and to move the campaign on the ground, while maintaining the suspense about the final outcome. Such a timetable would be an asset for a PES primary.

Finally, we should prevent the entire process from resulting in an equivocal outcome, which would compel the party to an unlikely compromise and cast doubt on the whole process. To avoid this as much as possible, the type of majority to be achieved in the delegates’ convention in order to gain the party’s nomination should be simple and clear: the absolute majority of the delegates should be sufficient. All the more so as this very rule applies for the election of the Commission president by the European Parliament.

Aymeric Lorthiois,
Supporter of the Campaign for a PES primary

Allier compétition et subsidiarité sera la clé du compromis pour une primaire PSE - Aymeric Lorthiois

Depuis le début du XXème siècle, du Canada au Japon en passant par l’Europe, l’histoire abonde d’exemples de partis qui, pour surmonter une lourde défaite, ont accepté de démocratiser le processus de désignation de leur candidat tête-de-liste. Avec une influence réduite au Parlement européen (25 % des sièges) et au Conseil de l’Union européenne (20% des États et 16% de la population), le PSE se trouve bel et bien dans une situation de ce type.

C’est donc tout naturellement que se pose la question d’une primaire pour désigner le candidate à la présidence de la Commission européenne du PSE pour les élections de 2014 et. L’idée n’est pas seulement de démocratiser le parti, mais de doter le PSE d’un candidat présidentiel qui, davantage qu’un bon porte-parole, saurait créer un lien direct avec les électeurs progressistes et initier le retour du parti au pouvoir en Europe. Or, une telle candidature présidentielle ne s’improvise pas. On ne peut pas non plus attendre des leaders des partis membres du PSE qu’ils en prennent eux-mêmes le risque. En réalité, seuls les militants du PSE pourront prendre la responsabilité d’une telle désignation. Seuls eux pourront inciter les candidats à l’investiture à travailler leur projet, à renforcer leur capacité de mobilisation, et à mieux répondre aux attentes des électeurs.

Pour autant, pour assurer que le PSE fasse un choix ambitieux, la primaire du PSE devra concilier deux objectifs : prendre avant tout en compte les spécificités des partis membres ; et organiser une compétition visible, inscrite dans la durée, pour aboutir à un résultat sans ambigüité.

Une primaire déclinée nationalement

Actuellement, sur 30 partis membres du PSE, seuls 11 désignent leur leader national par le biais de primaires, dont les modalités sont très diverses. La majorité des partis membres du PSE préfère en fait s’en tenir à une procédure plus restreinte : un vote de délégués du parti rassemblés lors de conventions qui réunissent entre 130 et 1700 personnes. Face à une telle diversité, la primaire du PSE peut trouver un compromis permettant aux partis membres de continuer à fonctionner selon leur conception de la démocratie interne.

La primaire du PSE devrait pour cela être une primaire indirecte, échelonnée en deux étapes : les militants du PSE éliraient d’abord, État par État, les délégués de chaque parti membre, en vue d’une convention d’investiture chargée de désigner le candidat du PSE. Indirect, le processus n’en demeurerait pas moins une primaire, car les militants voteraient pour des délégués ouvertement engagés pour tel ou tel candidat européen. Resterait donc à répartir les sièges de délégués de manière objective entre partis membres, de préférence sur la base de la composition du Parlement européen.

Ce système permettrait à chaque parti membre de désigner ses délégués selon la procédure qui lui convient le mieux, le principe général étant que les militants devraient être impliqués. Ainsi, pour désigner ses délégués, le parti travailliste britannique pourrait appliquer la méthode des collègues électoraux qu’il emploie déjà pour la sélection de son leader national, accordant ainsi un tiers des voix aux syndicats, et un tiers aux parlementaires. Le PD italien et le PASOK grec pourraient, quant à eux, faire le choix de primaires ouvertes. Enfin, les partis les plus réticents pourraient, si nécessaire, déroger au principe de consultation des militants en confiant la désignation de leurs délégués à une assemblée plus restreinte.

Une compétition visible et un choix sans ambiguïté

L’objectif d’un telle primaire est aussi de faire émerger un candidat ambitieux et bien identifié par les électeurs. Pour cela, le processus devrait aspirer à une compétition ouverte et équitable, qui mobiliserait les média et aboutirait à un choix sans ambigüité.
Tout d’abord, il faudra éviter de restreindre artificiellement le processus à quelques candidatures autorisées. Pour qu’il n’y ait aucune suspicion sur la qualification préalable des candidats, tout membre du PSE devrait pouvoir se porter candidat à l’investiture, à condition d’obtenir le parrainage d’un nombre limité d’élus PSE dans quelques pays.

Un autre élément décisif sera le calendrier des scrutins. Une des forces des primaires américaines est justement son calendrier. L’étalement des votes des différents États sur plusieurs mois pousse en effet les candidats à développer leur projet et à mener la campagne sur le terrain, tout en entretenant le suspens sur l’issue finale. Un tel calendrier serait un atout pour la primaire du PSE.

Enfin, il faudra éviter tant que possible que le processus entier aboutisse à un résultat flou ou équivoque, qui forcerait le PSE à un compromis improbable et jetterait la suspicion sur l’ensemble de la primaire. Pour cela, le type de majorité à atteindre pour obtenir l’investiture du parti devrait être simple et claire : la majorité absolue des délégués devrait suffire. D’autant que c’est cette règle qui s’applique désormais pour l’élection du président de la Commission par le Parlement européen.

Aymeric Lorthiois,
Partisan de la Campagne pour une primaire du PSE

Un calendar pentru alegerile primare europene

Dan Luca is the President of the Romanian Social Democratic Party section in Brussels. He also writes a blog at casaeuropei.blogspot.com where he discusses European and Romanian politics. In an article entitled "Un calendar pentru alegerile primare europene [tr. a timetable for EU primaries], Dan sets out a possible timetable for the selection process for the PES candidate for Commission President.

Dan suggests the following timetable:

By May 1, 2011 : Internal PES communication and develop selection process.

By October 1, 2011 : deadline for candidate applications.

By December 1, 2011 : validation of candidates.

2012: fundraising campaign by candidates.

2013: primary elections in the 27 EU countries; each country has a number of votes equal to the number of votes in the European Council.

March 2014 : European Socialist Convention officially designates the PES candidate for presidency of the European Commission.

Dan also comments:

Acum constat cu plăcere că cele sugerate intră în “dezbaterea socialistă”: Socialists want US-style primaries for commission president candidate. Sper din toată inima să se înţeleagă importanţa acestei posibile schimbări, nu doar pentru Stânga europeană, dar şi pentru construcţia europeană contemporană.

The rest of Dan's interesting article can be read here.

Europäische Sozialdemokraten fordern Vorwahlen für die nächste Kommission

, a German-language blogger, is writing on the Campaign for a PES Primary. europaeum raises some important questions about possible resistance from national parties and their leaders to the campaign demand that individual members of PES national parties should select our candidate for Commission President. However, the prize of this campaign is clearly described, especially the potential that democratic primaries have to enhance the elections to the European Parliament and contribute to the Parliament's development. europeaum writes:

Ich schätze die Chancen zwar eher gering, dass die nationalen Parteien eine solche Kampagne stützen, finde aber, dass die SPE es sich gar nicht leisten kann, weiterhin Kandidat_inn_en feranb der Öffentlichkeit in irgendwelchen Hinterzimmern zu bestimmen, wenn überhaupt. Eine parteiöffentliche, und damit gesamtöffentlichen Debatte über Personal und Politik bringt vielleicht nicht nur der Partei mehr Öffentlichkeit, sondern dem Verfahren allgemein. Sie könnte meines Erachtens die Wahl zum Europäischen Parlament weiter aufwerten und ist damit nur konsequent in der Weiterentwicklung des Parlaments.
The rest of europaeum's article can be read here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eurocité think-tank reproduces 27roses.eu article

, le thinktank européen progressiste, has reproduced the article published by 27roses.eu on the Campaign for a PES Primary. Eurocité is a team of young researchers, senior government officials, lawyers, political and private practitioners interested in the European progressive sphere.

Eurocité writes:

A quelques jours de l'Université d'été de la Rochelle, EuroCité republie l'article de 27 roses rejoignant la campagne pour des primaires à gauche pour les prochaines élections européennes de 2014.

The entire article is available at this link.

Primärval för Europas socialdemokrater: Vinnande recept?

Ralf Grahn blogs in Swedish on his impressions of the Campaign for a PES Primary. Ralf writes:

Kampanjen för ett demokratiskt primärval är samtidigt en utmaning för de övriga europeiska partierna, eller kortare Europapartierna (och ännu kortare på engelska: Europarty). Lissabonfördraget talar om de politiska partierna på europeisk nivå, och de är avsedda att bidra till att skapa ett europeiskt politiskt medvetande och till att uttrycka unionsmedborgarnas vilja.

PES har redan samlat nya anhängare och skapat ett försprång. Partiet har chansen att agera offensivt genom att omfatta initiativet, medan de övriga Europapartierna ännu kurar i startblocken.

You can read the rest of Ralf's article on his blog.

Ralf Grahn discusses on-line campaigning

Ralf Grahn discusses the issues facing on-line campaigners on his blog. He writes,

A political online campaign for Europe has to contend with two attitude challenges: inertia and prejudice (even hatred).

The Campaign for a PES Primary is an example of an EU-wide political campaign, where party activists have to overcome both tardiness and hostility in order to gain wide enough support.

The Facebook campaign page has now gathered 921 members, and the grass root campaigners hope to reach 1,000 supporters by the end of August.

Not a bad start for a pioneering effort, but what (else) can civil society actors learn from the campaign?

Read the rest of Ralf's article at grahnlaw.blogspot.com.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Rejoignez le mouvement Européen pour une primaire PSE en 2013 - equipe 27roses.eu

equipe 27rose.eu is a team of French socialists active on European affairs within the French Socialist Party. These militants du PSE are at the forefront of using new social media technology to debate European politics and articulate the case for a new Social Europe.

In an article published today on their blog, equipe 27roses.eu argue for people to support the Campaign for a PES Primary:

L’enjeu est bien évidement de faire monter une pression démocratique pour le suffrage des militants PSE dans la désignation de leur candidat en 2013 afin de pouvoir faire de l’élection de 2014 un réel engouement aux quatre coins de l’Europe, et, surtout, impliquer plus encore les partis européens au niveau national. La reconnaissance du mouvement par le PSE.
The rest of this article can be read on the blog of 27roses.eu.