In the current period of world economic crisis, and following the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Social Cohesion held in Moscow on 26 and 27 February 2009, there is a clear need for an assessment of the legal instruments relating to social rights in Europe (on the model of the reports on the state of democracy and human rights in Europe review process). It would chiefly involve taking stock of the signatures and ratifications of the revised European Social Charter, together with the practical applications (collective complaints), as well as continuing to promote these instruments among states which are not parties.
In this context, it should be recalled that at the Summit of Heads of State and Government of member states of the Council of Europe (Warsaw, 16-17 May 2005) the participants considered that the European Social Charter should be regarded as the basic core of social rights which all Council of Europe member states should guarantee for their citizens, in particular the most vulnerable, and that it was also a means of co-ordinating social policies.
Likewise, the Parliamentary Assembly invites the States Parties to extend the scope of their commitments so that the revised Charter can become a reference standard for European social policy and thus help to develop the legislation of Council of Europe member states.
In the spirit of Recommendation 1795 (2007), the Assembly wishes to strengthen its role as a political forum of incentive and debate in the framework of the social rights supervision machinery, and to resume the dialogue with the European Committee of Social Rights.
For this purpose, the Assembly proposes to organise regular debates on social policy in order to support the member states in their efforts to improve the recognition given to the European Social Charter in the framing of social policy instruments that address the present crisis and are suited to a wider Europe. These debates could provide the opportunity to analyse the deficiencies in this respect but also to disseminate good practices. National reforms could thus be co-ordinated so as to fit coherently together in a European social perspective.