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Conclusions of the first regional seminar on social rights in Eastern Partnership

The first regional seminar on social rights in Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries focusing on the European Social Charter took place in Chisinau on 18 May 2015.

Members of the national parliamentary committees dealing with social rights shared their experiences and considered ways of addressing the issues raised in the Conclusions of the European Committee of Social Rights on the conformity of national legislation and practice with the European Social Charter.

Csilla Kollonay Lehoczky, Professor of Law at the Central European University in Budapest and former member of the ECSR, said that it was evident that all Eastern partnership countries present at the seminar considered the European Social Charter as a legally binding instrument and took it seriously, which also explained why they had to make reservations wherever they admittedly were not in full compliance yet.


By quoting the examples of certain countries (Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal) she underlined that, wherever legislation was missing, judicial decisions could sometimes fill the gaps to ensure social rights.

Migration and its incidence on social rights is a specific issue yet to be explored in more detail, including between countries of origin and receiving countries, to find responses to current developments, regarding social rights to be ensured to irregular migrants.

As an observer of social rights since many years, she hoped that after the integration of economic, political, social and human rights matters in the process of European unification, the Council of Europe would not be forced to regress due to a possible dominance of economic considerations. She also invited the Eastern partnership countries, facing similar situations as former Soviet Union countries, to join their efforts in this respect.

A most remarkable contribution was made by Jarna Petman, also former member of the ECSR and Professor at the University of Helsinki, who said to all delegations: “Do not feel bad if you have not fully ratified the European Social Charter, but feel better if, as of now, you ratify as many articles as possible”. She also said that the European Social Charter was the Sleeping Beauty of all Council of Europe Conventions.

Tim Treginza from EU-OSHA (EU agency for occupational safety and health based in Bilbao) presented some of the very concrete action of his agency that might also be helpful for SMEs across Europe, including in Eastern partnership programme countries to which EU-OSHAs activities had recently been extended.

Andrej Hunko, PACE rapporteur on collective bargaining, made a presentation on social dialogue in times of globalisation, inviting invited delegations to strengthen collective bargaining mechanisms in their respective countries.

Valeriu Ghiletchi, Chairperson of the plenary Committee and host of the meeting, finally introduced the last debate about reservations made to the European Social Charter by the countries of the Eastern partnership programme.