PES (Party of European Socialists) Press Release:

PES: Migration needs neither Seehofer nor Salvini, but solidarity

Prime ministers from the Party of European Socialists agreed today that Europe’s public debate on asylum and migration is missing the vital ingredient of solidarity.

Meeting immediately before the European Council summit, progressive leaders from around Europe discussed a common approach to EU refugee and asylum policy, as well as the linked threats posed by the rise of populism and the far right.

PES president Sergei Stanishev said:

“These days, in the public debate about migration and asylum, there seem to be two opposing views: that of Seehofer and that of Salvini. The first refuses solidarity between countries, and the second refuses solidarity with people in distress.

“But neither is acceptable. The only possible solution is based on solidarity and shared responsibility. Without that, populists can continue to abuse people’s legitimate concerns to undermine real progress, and to undermine the European Union itself.”

Leaders also discussed their ongoing preparations for the 2019 European elections, including the process for selecting the PES common candidate recently agreed by all parties and the joint campaign manifesto, which is currently under discussion by party members, activists and associated organisations.

High Representative Federica Mogherini described progress in her ongoing work towards Europe’s common defence and border policy, which was warmly received and supported by the prime ministers.

The meeting welcomed to the room the new prime ministers of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, and of Slovakia, Peter Pellegrini.

UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was unable to attend the meeting, sent a letter of greetings and solidarity to the assembled prime ministers.

In attendance were:

  • Sergei Stanishev, PES president
  • Joseph Muscat, PM Malta
  • Antonio Costa, PM Portugal
  • Peter Pellegrini, PM Slovakia
  • Stefan Löfven, PM Sweden
  • Pedro Sanchez, PM Spain
  • Zoran Zaev, PM FYR Macedonia
  • Alexis Tsipras, PM Greece (observer)
  • Udo Bullmann MEP, president of S&D group in the European Parliament
  • Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative
  • Frans Timmermans, First Vice President of European Commission
  • Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner
  • Maros Sefcovic, European Commissioner
  • Karl-Heinz Lambertz. President of the European Committee of the Regions
  • Elio Di Rupo, leader PS Belgium
  • Olivier Faure, leader PS France
  • Maurizio Martina, acting secretary general PD Italy
  • Radmila Sekerinska, minister of defence, FYR Macedonia
  • Maria João Rodrigues MEP, president of FEPS
  • Giacomo Filibeck, deputy secretary general PES
  • Marije Laffeber, deputy secretary general PES
  • Yonnec Polet, deputy secretary general PES