Next week this blog will be on the road! Together with other PES activists I will be blogging from the PES Council in Sofia. You'll be able to read my reports here and on Yourspace, the manifesto consultation website.
For those of you who doesn't know the PES, maybe a few words on the party would be appropriate. 'PES' is short for 'Party of European Socialists' (or 'De Europæiske Socialdemokrater' in Danish), it's a European-level party which gathers Europe's socialist and social democratic parties. More than 150 delegates from the national parties will take part in this year's Council (party leaders, members of national parties, international secretaries, members of the European Parliament...) - and a lot of PES activists! And, oh yes, the Danes reading this might now the PES president, it's our former prime minister, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen!
The big topic of the Council will be the party's manifesto ('valgprogram' in Danish) for the 2009 European elections. As the first European party the PES has taken a button-up approach to writing its manifesto: right now the party is asking people in Europe what they think should be its priorities for the years to come. I really think this is an exciting project.
In Sofia there will be a number of sessions devoted to gender equality. One is a debate on women and leadership and I look very much forward to discussing what socialists and social democrats can do to ensure more women leaders - in all parts of Europe. My current stand is that a quota system (like in Norway) is desireable, but I will be open to other views. Given the Norwegian experiences I am convinced this model can work in Scandinavian countries, but I am curious to know what politicians and women rights activists from other parts of Europe think about this. Could it, for example, work in Italy or Bulgaria?
Without doubt the Council days will be busy, but I'm eager to spend some time on posting. Now I have a team of PES activist bloggers to motivate me, and I'm sure they'll keep me up on my promise.