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The Brief: Socialists and Democrats - a closer look

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The Brief: Socialists and Democrats - a closer look
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As the European Parliament elections approach we are taking a closer look at the political groupings in the chamber, this time it's the turn of the Socialists.

Together, the Socialists make up the second largest grouping in the EU parliament.

You may be familiar with some of them. Foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini among the star faces of the Party of European Socialists (PES).

Taking centre stage on big issues, like the Iran nuclear deal

Founded in 1992, the Party of European Socialists is one, but representing many.

Drawing together Socialist, Social Democratic, Labour and Democratic Parties from Europe and Norway. Sounds big - but socialist numbers have, in reality, been waning.

Right now, they hold power in less than a quarter of all 28 member states: Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Finland, Malta, Slovakia and Romania. Fewer in number after France, Belgium and Italy dropped out of club rouge.

In the last EU elections, back in 2014, the PES swept up 195 seats in the European Parliament.

But projections have shown their political group - known as the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats - may not do so well this time around.

Frans Timmermans, second in charge at the European Commission, he is the Socialist candidate to take over the EU top job after Jean-Claude Juncker leaves.

He's taken on some of the biggest challenges - and overseen some of the most controversial responses - the EU has seen in years.

The Socialists say Europe needs a fair, common asylum and migration policy - based on shared responsibility and solidarity.

The EU's seen a pact with Turkey slammed, quotas rejected - and rescue ships turned away.

Timmermans has also taken on rule of law - seen as weakening amongst eastern European members and in Malta under a socialist government.

His assessment in 2017 of Malta, "no general concerns" - not shared by many other EU politicians.

The Socialists have effectively frozen relations with Romania's ruling party over the same issue.

Socialists are revved up for the EU elections, but - having suffered election set-backs across Europe - the question is...

Will they have enough power to climb the mountain that lies ahead of them?