Over the last few months, we have been presenting an information article on each of the main groups and parties that make up the European Parliament. This is designed to help you find out as much information on who is seeking your vote in May 2019. We focus here on the group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats or S&D.

…committed to fighting for social justice, jobs and growth, consumer rights, sustainable development, financial market reform and human rights.


The S&D represents the party of the European Socialists and is a founding member of the Progressive Alliance. It was officially founded in 1953 as a socialist group, but assumed its current name only in 2009. As well as being the second oldest, it is also the second largest of the current parliaments groups.

Its President, Udo Bullmann of the German Social Democratic Party, is supported by nine vice-presidents and the Group’s Treasurer.

The S&D is a relatively cohesive Group, comprising predominantly Centre-left, labour parties that embrace Centre to Left ideologies.

Of its 189 MEPs , 45% are women. Eight of the Heads of State or Government in the European Council represent S&D Parties.

The Group is active in all parliamentary committees and international delegations.

• Social Democracy
• Pro-Europeanism

Udo Bullman – Germany

First Vice Presidents
Eric Andrieu – France
Victor Boştinaru – Romania
Mercedes Bresso – Italy
Tanja Fajon – Slovenia
Jeppe Kofod – Denmark
Maria João Rodrigues – Portugal
Elena Valenciano Martinez-Orozco – Spain
Kathleem Va Brempt – Belgium
Josef Weidenholzer – Austria
Pěter Niederműller – Hungary

Views and Priorities

The S&D is socially and economically liberal and pro-European. It supports integration of EU member states and Europe-wide co-ordination of policies on domestic issues such as infrastructure investment, employment, economic, monetary and banking union, tax policy and immigration, as well as humanitarian aid abroad.

To respond to global challenges, it champions practical policies that promote jobs and growth, together with public and private investment. It advocates strong, progressive, balanced budgets that are fairer and more transparent than they are today.

The S&D supports a comprehensive European investment strategy that is transparent, democratically accountable and complies with investment guidelines while addressing regional and social inequalities.

It calls for and holistic approach to education that recognise the roles of formal education and informal alternatives, such as training.

The S&D would complete the banking union with a European deposit-guarantee scheme, coordinate fiscal policies between member states and strengthen the euro-zone through economic and monetary union, with democratic accountability centred on social justice as well as tax justice.

It favours root-and-branch reform of the financial sector with strong supervisory mechanisms, robust capital markets to complement bank lending and a high level of protection for citizens and small and medium-sized enterprises.

It would promote tax fairness and efficiency through a common consolidated corporate tax base, EU-wide tax rules for multi-national companies, a financial transaction tax, and by closing loopholes and hindering the use of tax havens.

The social dimension of the economic and monetary union (EMU) would be strengthened with a better legal framework for workers to move across borders. The priorities are to safeguard wages, social standards, collective bargaining and trade union rights and protect against all forms of discrimination.

Progressive trade deals should leverage Europe’s position as a trade giant to preserve and protect rules-based, environmental, social, labour and democratic standards, workers’ and human rights and fortify the fight against climate change

Respect for the role of the press and high-quality journalism entails supporting quality investigative journalism, protecting journalists when they are under attack and reinforcing co-operation between journalists and trade unions.

The S&D takes a positive approach to legal migration that respects the fundamental rights and dignity of migrants and encourages integration. It would make EU citizenship available to second- and third-generation migrants born and raised in the EU.

The S&D pushes to retain Europe’s lead and strong commitment to development programmes and effective humanitarian assistance. It seeks to ensure that EU policies are consistent with those aims, for example through traceability of conflict minerals and socially responsible practices in the garment sector as well as achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

It cites its success through the EDUCA campaign, whereby the EU has agreed to dedicate 6% of its humanitarian aid budget to funding education for children caught up in conflicts, providing access to education to four million children in 47 countries.


The Group embraces to only two ideologies: social democracy and pro-Europeanism. Yet the parties within the S&D stand for a wider range of ideologies.

This is shown in the graph, which compares the political positions of the Group’s member parties and the ideologies of each. The left-hand bar shows Party-level political positions, while the right-hand bar looks deeper, to the sets of ideologies championed by Parties within the Group. Both are weighted by the number of MEPs representing them.

Nominally the S&D is Centre-left, and indeed the left-hand bar of the chart shows that its member Parties it comprises in the European Parliament are indeed predominantly Centre-left Parties, with some tending to either-side – and some political positions Unknown. Greece’s The River, with two MEPs, for example, describes itself as Centre – centre-left, while the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the Democratic Party of Cyprus, Génération.s le movement, of France and Malta’s Partit Laburista, with nine MEPs between them, label themselves as Centre-left – Left, and Sweden’s Feminist Initiative and the Italian Left, with one MEP each, both describe themselves as Left.

Now look at the right-hand bar. The dominant ideologies are indeed Centre-left, but they are coupled with a significant Centre component and a smaller, but still significant, Left component. The Left is explained by the democratic socialism of the UK Labour Party, France’s Parti Socialiste and Génération.s, le movement and the Sinistra Italiana, with 20, 10, two and one MEPs respectively, and labourism of Portugal’s Partido Socialista, which contributes MEPs to the Group. The Centre in the graph, is mostly attributable to the pro-Europeanism adhered to by 17 Parties with 75 MEPs between them. France’s Parti Socialiste and Génération.s, le movement and the Sinistra Italiana all adhere to Green ideologies, which is also evident in the graph.

The S&D offices addresses are:

Rue Wiertz 60 / Wiertzstraat 60 
1050 Bruxelles / Brussel 
Postal address: building ASP – 1047 – Bruxelles / Brussel 
Tel: +32 2 28 42111* 
Internet: http://www.socialistsanddemocrats.eu

Tel: +32 228-42309 
Tel: +33 3881-73091 

This information article was compiled by  Frances Cowell and published in conjunction with the #thistimeimvoting campaign

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