Brussels, 7 December 2016

The European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs published a paper on “the European Social Charter in the Context of Implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights” that analyses how the European Social Charter, a Council of Europe treaty about social and economic rights, has been taken into account regarding the protection of fundamental rights in European legislation.

The report, prepared by Professor Olivier de Schutter, was presented last Monday in the Committee for Constitutional Affairs of the European Parliament (AFCO). It finds that Member States diverge on their take up of the European Social Charter and have different levels of commitments and also that the Court of Justice of the European Union does not consider the Charter as it considers the European Convention on Human Rights.

Professor de Schutter argues that this situation is not sustainable because the social and economic governance in the EU does not properly address social rights and due to conflicts between the European Social Charter and EU legislation. Therefore, he proposes that the Charter is given more visibility when doing new laws and impact assessments, that the European Commission identifies a common core that all Member States can commit to regarding the Charter and that the possibility of EU accession to this treaty is studied.

FAFCE holds a participatory status at the Council of Europe and is among the organisations which have the right to initiate collective complaint procedures about the implementation of the European Social Charter.