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The role of parliaments in the consolidation and development of social rights in Europe

Recommendation 1976 (2011)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 23 June 2011 (25th Sitting) (see Doc. 12632, report of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mrs Ohlsson; and Doc. 12658, opinion of the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs, rapporteur: Sir Alan Meale). Text adopted by the Assembly on 23 June 2011 (25th Sitting).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly, with reference to its Resolution 1824 (2011) on the role of parliaments in the consolidation and development of social rights in Europe and Recommendation 1958 (2011) on the monitoring of commitments concerning social rights, invites the Committee of Ministers to take steps to ensure rapid progress with regard to the signature, ratification and implementation of the European Social Charter (revised) (ETS No. 163) and its protocols. In particular, the Assembly calls on the four countries which have not yet ratified the Protocol amending the European Social Charter (ETS No. 142, “Turin Protocol”) – namely Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom – to do so as soon as possible and, regarding the election of the members of the European Committee of Social Rights by the Assembly, to ensure, in the absence of rapid progress, that the Assembly can fully discharge its appointed function in the Charter’s monitoring machinery by adopting a unanimous decision to that effect.
2. The Assembly calls on the Committee of Ministers to draft a new protocol to the revised European Social Charter on the right to health, including the right to a healthy environment.
3. The Assembly recalls the importance of involving parliaments in the early stages of the preparation of international treaties. With a view to improving parliamentary oversight of international institutions and agreements reached at international level, the Committee of Ministers is called on to:
3.1 ensure that national governments submit early drafts of forthcoming agreements to parliament for comment;
3.2 continue to involve the Assembly in the process of drafting new conventions at different levels, from representation on the drafting committee to the timely submission of the draft text for opinion to the Assembly, and reconsider the possibility of introducing co-decision making on such texts in line with Recommendation 1763 (2006) on the institutional balance at the Council of Europe;
3.3 continue to ensure participation of the Assembly at the ministerial conferences and other high-level events organised by the Council of Europe on a regular basis in the field of social rights, social cohesion, public health, etc.
4. In the light of recent trends in the areas of social cohesion and public health policies in member states, the Assembly calls on the Committee of Ministers to ensure that the Council of Europe remains present in these policy fields by maintaining strong intergovernmental and standard-setting activities despite the ongoing reform process within the Organisation.