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

Reply to Recommendation | Doc. 15586 | 01 July 2022

Committee of Ministers
Adopted at the 1437th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (15 June 2022). 2022 - Third part-session
Reply to Recommendation
: Recommendation 2210 (2021)
1. The Committee of Ministers has carefully considered Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 2210 (2021) “Socio-economic inequalities in Europe: time to restore social trust by strengthening social rights”. It has forwarded the text to the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) and to the European Platform for Social Cohesion (PECS)/European Committee for Social Cohesion (CCS), for information and possible comments.
2. The Committee of Ministers concurs with the Assembly’s view that, despite Europe’s apparent prosperity, socio-economic inequalities continue to widen between and within countries, with negative effects on individuals and communities. To tackle the root causes of such inequalities, it is important to guarantee social rights with a view, inter alia, to providing effective access to decent housing, to quality education, to health care and to stable employment and a decent income, especially for the most fragile or disadvantaged groups.
3. In this context, the Committee of Ministers draws the attention of member States to the call of the Assembly to take both legal action and practical measures to seek to achieve the objectives of the European Social Charter within a reasonable time, with measurable progress and to an extent consistent with the maximum use of available resources. It recalls in this regard that one of the objectives of the ECSR’s periodic conclusions on compliance by States Parties with the provisions of Charter is to minimise the existing gaps between the rights protected by the Charter and the socio-economic policies pursued at national level by identifying any existing shortcomings and issues in the States Parties thus helping them to bring their socio-economic policies in line with the Charter.
4. With regard to paragraph 3 of the Assembly’s recommendation, the Committee of Ministers notes the Assembly’s support for the continued promotion of the ratification of the revised Charter and encourages those States Parties which have not yet done so to also consider accepting the collective complaints procedure.
5. It also takes note of the Assembly’s proposal to invite the ECSR to study the feasibility of adding new provisions to the Charter on the social protection of workers in non-standard forms of work. In this respect, it would point out that, for example, under Article 3§2 of the Revised Charter, the ECSR examines measures taken by public authorities to protect workers against work-related stress, aggression and violence specific to work performed under atypical working relationships, in examining the personal scope of occupational health and safety regulations,Note that relate to temporary workers, interim workers, domestic workers and the self-employed. The Committee of Ministers would also point out that targeted questions were addressed by the ECSR to the States Parties in 2019 and 2020 on issues related to new forms of work, including platform work, work involving artificial intelligence, digital technology, etc. It would also draw attention to the relevance of the work of its Ad hoc Working Party on improving the European Social Charter system (GT-CHARTE), which will be called on, in the second phase of its work, to examine longer term substantive and procedural issues related to the Charter.
6. Finally, the Committee of Ministers takes note of the Assembly’s proposal to pursue efforts to promote the European Union’s accession to the Revised Charter and thus seek greater complementarity between the European Social Charter system and the European Pillar of Social Group Rights. This question of complementarity may also be considered by the above-mentioned GT-CHARTE when examining longer term substantive and procedural issues related to the Charter.