Library of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation

Socialist International - A Bibliography
Overview on the organizational development

The political organizations of the European Socialists

The language of this part of the bibliography is English, which means that only the English-language titles of the publications are listed in the bibliography. If they have not been found, other language versions have been included. It will, however, be indicated which of the texts have been published in the other (5 or 11 + Norwegian) languages used by the PES or by its Parliamentary Group insofar as they have been found.
Social-Democratic/Socialist parties began their co-operation with the founding of the "European Coal and Steel Community" and its parliamentary organ, the Common Assembly, in 1952. Already before this, the Socialist International had created a "special commission", which worked out a common ten point policy regarding the Coal and Steel plan. The socialist faction first met in September 1952 and was officially founded in June 1953; it set up a Bureau and a permanent Secretariat - the "Socialist Group at the European Coal and Steel Community" - in Luxemburg, the seat of the Common Assembly.
In 1957 the social-democratic parties of the six states in the E.C.S.C. decided to establish closer co-operation between the parties and the faction, the Socialist Inter-Group at the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. This institution, the "Liaison Bureau of the Socialist Parties of the European Community", held several inter-party conferences, later called congresses, during the following years as well as some special conferences as and when needed.
In 1974 - after Denmark, Great Britain and Ireland had joined the European Community - the next step was taken and the Liaison Bureau was transformed into the "Confederation of the Socialist Parties of the European Community" (the Labour Party joined in 1976), which body was to have importance beyond co-ordinating the policies of the various parties. But still it was a confederation, not a new party. It took 18 years with many discussions and the development of the "European Community" to the "European Union" with all its institutions before this new "Party of European Socialists" was launched in 1992.
The PES has (1999) 20 full members, two associate parties (Iceland and Switzerland) and eleven observer parties. In addition to the Parliamentary Group of the PES, there are two associations, the European Community Organization of Socialist Youth (ECOSY) and the Committee of the Regions - Group of the Party of European Socialists. The purpose of the PES is not to replace the member parties but to be a forum for discussion and preparation of decisions.
A sort of official history was published by the PES-Secretariat: Simon Hix: A history of the PES 1957 - 1994. A contribution, Brussels 1995, 32 p. (2nd. edition 2000) - also available at . Some of the documents quoted by Simon Hix and by Michael Newman: The Party of European Socialists. London 1996, 42 p. have been found only in these publications and are referred to as [Hix 1995] or [Newman 1996].
FES: Extensive archival holdings, mostly in German.
IISG: A collection of documents of the Confederation of Socialist Parties in the European Community 1952 - 1982: minutes, circulars, working papers etc. (2,25 m) and of the PES (0,1 m).
ABA: In the archives of the Danish Social-Democratic Party a fairly complete set of circulars etc. can be found.
The archives of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament are held by Institut Universitaire Européen, Archives Historiques des Communautés Européennes, Villa II Poggiolo, Piazza T.A. Edison 11, I-50133 Firenze. E-mail:

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