All the great and the good of the PES are flowing into the plenary room. Some nondescript music soothes the nerves as the TV crews all seek out SÃƒÂ©golÃƒÂ¨ne Royal, the person that can bring an element of something new, something optimistic to the Congress. U2Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s Beautiful Day blares out of the speakers and suddenly they are there: Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, JosÃƒÂ© Socrates and SÃƒÂ©golÃƒÂ¨ne Royal.
This entrance stands in stark juxtaposition to the rest of the Congress plenary, for the composition of the delegations is in largest part male, middle aged, with sharp suits and ties de rigeur. This does not paint a pleasant picture; this Congress is not the most accurate representation of todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s multicultural Europe.
A glance at the programme reveals a similar dynamic; aside from the PES Women panel, the composition of the speaker line up is largely masculine.