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We are at an important moment for Europe. For many Europeans the crisis is far from over – we face increasing inequality, falling living standards and increasing disillusionment among the citizens who have borne the brunt of years of grinding austerity. And with soaring unemployment rates – especially among the young – we risk losing a whole generation.
At the same time we face a crisis at our borders, with thousands of people taking deadly risks to enter the EU and overwhelming pressure on the resources of some countries. We need a coordinated response from Europe, with an ambitious legal migration policy, a modernised visa system and humanely and efficiently managed external borders. We must work together in a spirit of solidarity to save lives and stop the tragedies unfolding at our borders.
To face these challenges and come out stronger, we must act with courage. We must stand together and show the highest possible level of ambition to make Europe a union that works for all its citizens, a union of fairness, openness and solidarity, and a stronger union that makes Europe a serious player on the world stage. We must work to create decent jobs and boost growth and we must defend the freedom and justice Europe was founded on.
As the president of the S&D Group I am proud to lead the 189 MEPs from across Europe who share my dream and together we will work tirelessly for a brighter future for Europe.
GIANNI PITTELLA - BIOGRAPHY
Gianni Pittella was born on 19 November 1958 in Lauria, Italy. He joined the Italian Socialist Party at a young age.
At the age of 21, he was elected to the municipal council of his hometown and a year later became a member of the regional council of Basilicata with responsibility for training, culture and productive activities.
After graduating in medicine and surgery (specialising in legal and forensic medicine), Gianni remained very much involved in local and national politics. In 1996, he was elected to the Italian Parliament. His passion for Europe led him to pursue his political work at the EU level and he was elected to the European Parliament in 1999, joining the Group of the Party of European Socialists (the former name of the S&D Group).
Gianni has been a member of the European Parliament since then, taking on several important roles within the S&D Group as Head of the Italian delegation (since 2006), and as the European Parliament's most senior Vice-president (2009-2014). Among his responsibilities as vice-president, he was in charge of conciliations between the European Parliament and the Council. He was acting President of the European Parliament in June 2014.
On 2 July 2014, he was elected president of the S&D Group, the second largest political group in the European Parliament and the only one with members from all 28 EU member states. As leader of the Socialists and Democrats, Gianni is committed to fighting inequalities by shoring up growth and employment in the EU.
Besides his political work, Gianni is the author of several books on the future and challenges of the European project such as a Brief History of the Future of the United States of Europe (2013). He is also a visiting professor at the University of East Anglia's London Academy of Diplomacy.
Gianni Pittella is married and has two children.
• Graduate in medicine, specialisation in forensic pathology (1985)
• Member of the Partito Socialista Italiano (1977-1994), Federazione Laburista (1994-1998), Democratici di Sinistra (1998-2007), and Partito Democratico (since 2007)
• Municipal councillor in Lauria (1979)
• Member of the regional council of Basilicata (1980)
• Member of the Chamber of deputies (1996)
• Member of the European Parliament (since 1999)
• First vice-president of the European Parliament (2009-2014)
Author of: Rosso Antico (1996), Diario di Bordo (1997), Sparlare, parlare, pensare (1998), Eurodiario (1999-2000), Il triangolo della ricchezza (2003), Europ@ (2004), Dal Sud in Europa con Te (2004), Partiti europei e gruppi politici nel nuovo europarlamento dell’Unione a 25 (2004), Un’Europa per i cittadini (2006), L’Europa indispensabile (2009), Domani a Mezzogiorno (2010), Una breve Storia del Futuro degli Stati Uniti d'Europa (2013)