There are thirty-two member parties from all the twenty-seven member states and Norway. There are a further five associate and six observer parties. PES is an associated organisation of the Socialist International. Ecosy is the youth organisation of PES and PES Women is the party's women's organisation, led by Zita Gurmai MEP.
The parties meet at the party Congress twice every five years to decide on political orientation, such as adopting manifestos ahead of elections. Every year that the Congress does not meet, the Council (a quarter Congress) shapes PES policy. The Congress also elects the party's President, Vice Presidents and the Presidency.
The most recent Council was held in Madrid in December 2008 and the next Congress with be held in Prague in late 2009.
The President (currently former Danish Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen) represents the party on a daily basis and chairs the Presidency, which also consists of the Secretary General, President of the PES group in Parliament (the PSE, see below) and one representative per full member party and organisation. They may also be joined by the President of the European Parliament (if a PES member), a PES European Commissioner and a representatives from associate parties and organisations.
The Leader's Conference brings together Prime Ministers and Party Leaders from PES parties three to four times a year to agree strategies and resolutions.
In Decembre 2009, disappointed by the European elections results, the PES decided to put forward a candidate for Commission President at all subsequent elections. There is a campaign within the party to organise primaries to select this candidate.
PES in the European institutions
Overview of the European institutions
European Commissioners are meant to remain independent, however there has been an increasing degree of politicisation within the Commission. Although the current Barroso Commission is dominated by conservatives and liberals, six of the twenty-seven Commissioners belong to PES.
European Council and Council of Ministers
Party-alignment at the European Council is often loose, but has been the basis of some intergovernmental cooperation. At present the following countries are led by a PES-affiliated leader, who represents that state at the European Council: Austria (Werner Faymann), Greece (George Papandreou), Portugal (José Sócrates), Slovenia (Borut Pahor) and Spain (José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero). The makeup of national delegations to the Council of Ministers is at some times subject to coalitions: for the above governments led by a PES party, that party may not be present in all Council configurations; in other governments led by non-PES parties a PES minister may be its representative for certain portfolios. PES is in coalition in a further three countries: Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
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