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PES Grassroots Activists Descend on Rome for Party Congress

In Rome this weekend, the Party of European Socialists and the Italian Partito Democratico welcomed almost 500 activists and volunteers to their Electoral Congress.

In a massive show of grassroots support ahead of May’s European elections, these young Europeans from all corners of the continent could be seen swarming around the Congress hall, sharing ideas for mobilising votes via online channels and in the streets.

In an effort to support their work, the PES is offering a special digital war room to 100 ‘super activists’ alongside the Congress Plenary, where they will follow Saturday’s proceedings in the main hall on a live feed and offer their running commentary across a wealth of social media channels.

The PES Candidate for the European Commission Presidency, Martin Schulz, spent an hour with the activists on Friday afternoon. He discussed his policy priorities, and exchanged ideas with them about the campaign ahead.  Schulz expressed his huge gratitude for their support, and the excellent work they have already done with their #knockthevote movement.

Schulz told the activists: “I am honoured to be your candidate and delighted to see that we share the same vision of Europe’s future.  It is your work in your local communities which is at the heart of the PES programme. My European Commission won’t tell you what is best for your towns and cities, you will tell us. When you need us we will be there, and when you don’t we will focus our energies on our international challenges.  You are the epitome of social Europe. I applaud you.”

Following his appearance, there was a buzz of excitement in the room. The fundamental message today was really strong; that we need change and that we have the power to do that by organising on the ground, knocking on doors, after today I really feel as part of the campaign.”said PES Activist Rhonda Donaghey. "Martin made us feel relevant and powerful today, by telling us that he relies on us to help him bring on real change in Europe." stated Jose Gutierrez, super activist.

Marije Laffeber, PES Deputy General Secretary and campaign manager was delighted with the meeting and the growing grassroots campaign: “We are the only party that is offering genuine and positive change in the way the EU operates, and people across Europe see that. Until now it is the extreme voices that have shouted loudest and got the most media coverage. However, we believe that the anger expressed about the EU reflects its Conservative leadership of the last ten years. Most Europeans want us to turn left, not further right.”

Want to know more about the #knockthevote campaign? Watch the video here.

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