Our group structure

Our Political Group gathers national parliamentarians coming from the 47 member states of the COE.



ouncil of Europe is the oldest continent’s organisation which was shaped as a political project in the wake of the Second World War, with the aim of bringing peace and prosperity to a continent that had been long torn apart by wars and atrocities. It is like a huge network of shared values, values of peace, human rights, democracy and rule of law. For over 60 years, the Council of Europe has operated as a real search engine for ideas and initiatives for the whole continent.

The main organs of the Council of Europe are:

  • The Committee of Ministers is the decision-making body. It is made up of the States’ 47 Foreign Affairs Ministers or their permanent representatives.
  • The Parliamentary Assembly is a consultative body, which brings together representatives of the national parliaments speaking on behalf of all the European who elected them.
  • The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities is also a consultative body, which brings together representatives elected in their country at the level of regions and municipalities.
  • The Human Rights Commissionner operates as an independent body. The Commissionner investigates the state of human rights in Europe, country by country, ensuring the the Council of Europe’s instruments are well respected.



arliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is a pan-European forum of debate, where heated political and social subjects are discussed. It is Europe’s conscience, which asks Governments to take initiatives on alarming currents affairs.
It holds its meetings four times a year (January, April, June, October) for a week-long plenary session in the Palais de l’Europe in Strasbourg.
The 324 representatives and 324 substitutes are appointed by national parliaments from among their members.
Each country, depending on its population, has between two and eighteen representatives, who provide a balanced reflection of the political forces represented in the national parliament.

Within the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, members and substitutes organise themselves in five political groups. Some members are not affiliated to any political group. Political groups must commit themselves to respect the promotion of the values of the Council of Europe, notably political pluralism, human rights and the rule of law.

To form a group, at least twenty members from at least six different national delegations have to decide to do so.

The five current political groups of the Parliamentary Assembly are:

  • the Group of the European People’s Party (EPP/CD), with 193 members
  • the Socialist Group (SOC), with 192 members
  • the European Conservatives Group (EC), with 81 members
  • the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), with 81 members
  • the Group of the Unified European Left (UEL), with 31 members

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ocialist Group (SOC) brings together both full members and substitute of the Parliamentary Assembly belonging to political parties with membership to PES, International Socialist and Progressive Alliance.

It is structured by:

  • The Plenary Assembly

    The Plenary Assembly of the Group is responsible for all political positions, decisions and activities involving and committing the Socialist Group. Among other tasks it elects the Presidency and the Bureau of the Group and decides on memberships and associate memberships in the Group. It is composed both by the Members and the Associate Members of the Socialist Group.
    The Plenary Assembly of the Socialist Group holds its meetings 12 times per year (every Monday morning and afternoon, as well as Wednesday morning of each of the four Pace Plenary Sessions).

    During these meetings, the Socialist Members:

    • Debate and take position on the reports to be discussed during the PACE Session, both in Plenary and in Committee meetings.
    • Appoint the Speakers on behalf of the Group on all the points of the Agenda
    • Exchange political views on current national affairs, inform on alarming national situations, decide on the position of the Group and take potential initiatives
    • Decide on the Group’s candidates for the Presidencies of PACE Committees

  • The Bureau

    The Bureau, main task is to steer the functioning of the Socialist Group concerning both the internal organisation and the political strategy. It connects the Group with the bodies of PACE and COE. Moreover, it leads the Group in its relation with other European Organisations and Institutions. Currently it works on establishing a concrete and strong cooperation with sister political parties in other European assemblies.
    It is composed by:

    • the President and 1st Vice President belonging to both genders, both elected members for two years, mandate which can be renewed no more than three times;
    • the Vice-Presidents representing national delegations. The number of Vice Presidents varies according to the number of Socialist Members within the national delegations as follows: National delegations having:
      • more than ten members of the Socialist Group: one seat every year
      • six to ten members: one seat every two years
      • three to five members: one seat every three years
      • less than three members: one seat every four years.

    The Vice-Presidents are proposed by the SOC members of the national delegations, approved by the Bureau and elected by the Plenary Assembly of the Group at its first meeting of each year during the January Pace Session.

    • The acting SOC Presidents of the PACE Committees
    • The Chair of the Socialist Women Working Group (link SWWG)
    • The two Auditors and the Treasurer
    • The former Presidents of the Group and the former Presidents of PACE Committees as honorary members

  • Secretariat

    The Secretariat is based on a permanent basis in Strasbourg, however, the Executive Secretary travels often in Paris or elsewhere, in order to provide assistance to the members of the Group during the Committee meetings and to ensure coverage and support everywhere.

    It works under the supervision of the President and the Bureau. The Secretariat takes care of the daily work of the Group and its organisation both for practical and political issues.  It ensures the good communication among its members and coordinates activities related to their work in PACE.

    Moreover, it guarantees a fruitful cooperation with PACE’s instruments, the bodies of the Council of Europe, as well as with external sister organisations and parties.

    Francesca and Marianna welcome you to our Group’s Website. We are looking forward to having your comments, suggestions or any information related to the work of our members! Don’t hesitate to write us:

    Francesca ARBOGAST, is the Executive Secretary of the Socialist Group since 2009. With her experience as lawyer in the European Court of Human Rights and as assistant to the Socialist Group since her studies, she has a deep knowledge of the history and functioning of the Socialist Group. Most of all she shares the political and human values of the Group, contributes to its good image is and fully committed for more efficiency and achievements within the Group. Francesca speaks fluently English, French and Italian. She has also good command in German and Thai.

    Marianna NTALLA, works as administrative assistant for the Socialist Group since 2016. She studied European and International relations in different countries. She worked as administrative assistant for four years in several departments of the Council of Europe and for two years in the Information Office of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. She embraces the principles of the Socialist Group and submits her communication and analytical skills for the adequate running and organisation of the Group. She speaks fluently English, French, German and Greek.