On 11 October, the Party of European Socialists (PES) adopted the declaration “Striving for a fair representation of people with an ethnic or a migrant background” to promote European diversity. The declaration has been adopted on the basis of the report “Involvement of people with a migrant or an ethnic background within PES Parties’ structures” presented to the PES presidency by Emine Bozkurt MEP. Ahead of the European elections in 2014, the declaration contains statements such as:
We commit to undertake concrete measures in order for our Parties to be more inclusive and representative of the population, such as adapting our structures, rules and methods, recruiting members from a more diverse background, empowering candidates from all backgrounds or engaging effectively with communities.
We will strive to ensure a fair representation of people with an ethnic and migrant background on our lists for the upcoming European elections and reaffirm our pledge to have a parliamentary Group that is a more accurate reflection of the society.
Bozkurt’s report draws extensively on MPG’s toolkit on Becoming a Party of choice and uses MPG’s benchmarking tool to help parties opening to diversity and equality, from voters and candidates to staff and suppliers. The benchmarks looks at at the following questions, for instance:
- Are equality data used to map the party’s electorate?
- Are candidates with a migrant background allocated as many winnable constituencies or winnable seats as other candidates?
- To what extent does the composition of party leadership and executive structure reflects society’s diversity?
A new project, DivPol, was launched earlier this year and will use MPG’s tool with political parties across the political spectrum in seven European countries.
The PES declaration follows the use last year by the Centre for European Studies – the European People’s Party think-tank – of MPG’s benchmarking tool for its policy brief on Migrating Towards Participation: Immigrants and Their Descendants in the Political Process, in which the think-tank stressed that “strategically, contributing to the political integration of immigrants would help distinguish the European centre-right from populist and extremist political alternatives. Following their anti-immigrant rhetoric would only alienate the traditional centre-right electorate and cost the mainstream centre-right some credibility”.
This shows that the need to better reflect society’s diversity is becoming a mainstream concern for political parties across the political spectrum.