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Socio-economic inequalities in Europe: time to restore social trust by strengthening social rights

Recommendation 2210 (2021)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 28 September 2021 (25th and 26th sittings) (see Doc. 15365, report of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development, rapporteur: Ms Selin Sayek Böke). Text adopted by the Assembly on 28 September 2021 (25th and 26th sittings).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution 2393 (2021) “Socio-economic inequalities in Europe: time to restore social trust by strengthening social rights” and underscores the role of States in upholding the implementation of benchmarks for social rights enshrined in the European Social Charter (ETS Nos. 35 and 163, hereafter “the Charter”) by all social partners. It deplores the gap between the rights protected by the Charter and the socio-economic policies pursued at national level, which is reflected in the annual conclusions and statements of the European Committee of Social Rights.
2. The Assembly supports the view of the European Committee of Social Rights that the effective implementation of the Charter requires both legal action and practical measures by States parties so as to allocate adequate resources to underpin the rights recognised in the Charter and to seek “to achieve the objectives of the Charter within a reasonable time, with measurable progress and to an extent consistent with the maximum use of available resources”. The Assembly asks the Committee of Ministers to remind all member States of these obligations, be they party or not to the Charter, with a view to supporting human development and more effectively narrowing socio-economic inequalities.
3. The Assembly supports the proposals put forward by the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to reform the implementation of the Charter by elevating the political support and commitment of member States to developing a level playing field for social rights across Europe and improving the capacity of the Charter’s organs to respond effectively to the member States’ need for feedback and guidance. The Assembly also supports the proposal for the continued promotion of the ratification of the revised European Social Charter by all member States, and reiterates its own recommendations contained in paragraph 3 of Recommendation 2205 (2021) “Overcoming the socio­economic crisis sparked by the Covid­19 pandemic”. It moreover recommends that the Committee of Ministers ask the European Committee of Social Rights to study the feasibility of adding new clauses to the Charter on the social protection of workers in non-standard forms of work.
4. In this context, the Assembly recalls the decisions of the 131st Session of the Committee of Ministers on 21 May 2021, notably as regards co-operation between the Council of Europe and the European Union, whereby the European Union was encouraged to participate in and accede to the Council of Europe instruments “as a way of achieving coherence and complementarity and promoting synergies”. The latter is particularly important for the more effective implementation of social rights in Europe and for stronger action to narrow socio-economic inequalities. The Assembly therefore asks the Committee of Ministers to pursue efforts to promote the European Union’s accession to the revised European Social Charter and thus seek greater complementarity between the Charter system and the European Pillar of Social Rights. It also asks the Committee of Ministers to support the wider application of the European Child Guarantee initiative of the European Union, namely across non-EU member States, including through joint co-operation projects.