Ministers’ Deputies
CM Documents

CM(2006)111 20 June 20061
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972 Meeting, 6 September 2006
6 Social cohesion


6.1 Committee of Experts on Social Security (CS SS)

a. Abridged report of the first meeting (Strasbourg, 9-11 May 2006)

b. Draft resolutions ResCSS(2006)… on the application of the European Code of Social Security
c. Draft terms of reference of the Committee of Experts on Social Security (CS-SS)

Item to be prepared by the Rapporteur Group for Social and Health Questions (GR-SOC) at its meeting on 11 July 2006

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1. The Committee of Experts on Social Security (CS-SS) held its 1st meeting on 9-11 May 2006 with Mr Philip Melville (Ireland) in the chair. The agenda appears in Appendix 1.

2. During the meeting, the CS-SS:

a. in accordance with Article 74 of the European Code of Social Security, adopted the draft resolutions on the application of the code and its additional protocol for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005 (Appendix 2). These conclusions concern seventeen countries: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Spain, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Owing to administrative and technical difficulties, the government of Cyprus sent its report late and therefore it could not be examined;

b. transmitted its draft resolutions, for information, to the European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS) which will take note of them at its 17th meeting on 7 and 8 November 2006;

c. in accordance with its terms of reference, transmitted the draft resolutions to the Committee of Ministers and invited it to adopt the resolutions on the application of the European Code of Social Security and its protocol by the Contracting Parties.

3. The Committee examined the issue on the monitoring of defined contribution schemes within the pension system.

4. The Committee took note of the co-operation activities with countries that had not yet signed or ratified the Code, the Protocol or the (revised) Code and the technical co-operation with countries that had ratified but that were experiencing legal or administrative difficulties in applying these instruments or wished to extend their obligations by accepting additional parts of the Code or Protocol.

5. The committee also took note of the information on the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in the field of social security.

6. Within the framework of paragraph 4 viii of the terms of reference which instructed the CS-CO to observe pan-European trends and developments in the social security field in 2006, the Committee held an exchange of views on the concept of suitable employment in relation to unemployment benefits.

7. The Committee approved, and decided to submit to the Committee of Ministers for its approval, the draft terms of reference of the CS-SS for the three years to come on the basis of the standard form prepared following the Committee of Ministries Resolution Res(2005)47 on Committees and subordinate bodies, their terms of reference and working methods. The competences and structure of the CS-SS remain the same. The draft terms of reference are set out in Appendix 3.

8. The 2nd meeting of the committee will take place in Strasbourg from 18 to 20 April 2007.

Appendix 1 - Agenda

    I. OPENING OF THE MEETING

    II. ELECTION OF THE CHAIRPERSON AND THE VICE-CHAIRPERSON

    III. ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA

    IV. SUPERVISION OF THE APPLICATION OF THE EUROPEAN CODE OF SOCIAL SECURITY (Art. 74)

    a. Examination of the conclusions of the Committee of Experts on the application of ILO Conventions and Recommendations, and adoption by the CS-SS of these conclusions for submission to the Committee of Ministers

      i. General observations
      ii. Conclusions concerning individual Contracting Parties

    b. Information submitted by Contracting Parties

    c. Reflections from the supervisory bodies on the role of social security in the framework of a social policy oriented towards social cohesion

    V. PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THE CODE AND ITS PROTOCOL

How to monitor defined contribution schemes

    VI. DEBATE ON THE CONCEPT OF SUITABLE EMPLOYMENT IN RELATION TO UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

    VII. ACTIVITIES FOR THE PROMOTION OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE INSTRUMENTS IN THE SOCIAL SECURITY FIELD

    a. State of signature and ratification of the Council of Europe’s legal instruments in the field of Social Security

    b. Bilateral and regional cooperation activities

    c. 17th training course on social security

    d. Social Institutions Support Programme (SISP-CARDS)

    VIII. ACTIVITIES IN THE FIELD OF THE COORDINATION OF SOCIAL SECURITY

    IX. ACCESS TO SOCIAL PROTECTION FOR ILLEGAL LABOUR MIGRANTS

    X. SOCIAL SECURITY AS A HUMAN RIGHT: EXECUTION OF JUDGMENTS OF THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE FIELD OF SOCIAL SECURITY

    XI. INFORMATION FROM THE SECRETARIAT

    a. Decisions of the Committee of Ministers and of the CDCS of interest to the CS-SS Committee

    b. Other information of interest to the CS-SS Committee

    XII. COUNCIL OF EUROPE PUBLICATIONS IN THE FIELD OF SOCIAL SECURITY

    XIII. OTHER BUSINESS

Renewal of the terms of reference of the CS-SS Committee

    XIV. DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING OF THE CS-SS

Appendix 2 - Draft Resolutions

Draft Resolution ResCSS(2006)…
on the application of the European Code of Social Security and its Protocol
by Belgium
(Period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on …….. 2006
at the ….. meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In the exercise of the functions conferred upon it by Article 75 of the European Code of Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), as modified by the provisions of its Protocol (hereinafter referred to as the “Protocol”), and with a view to supervising the application of these two instruments by the Contracting Parties;

Whereas the Code and the Protocol, signed on 16 April 1964, entered into force on 17 March 1968 and since 14 August 1970 have been binding on Belgium, which ratified them on 13 August 1969;

Whereas, when ratifying the Code and the Protocol, the Government of Belgium stated that it accepted, in addition to the parts which must be applied by every Contracting Party (Parts I, XI, XII, XIII and XIV), the following parts of the Code, as modified by the Protocol:

– Part II on “medical care”,
– Part III on “sickness benefit”,
– Part IV on “unemployment benefit”,
– Part V on “old-age benefit”,
– Part VI on “employment injury benefit”,
– Part VII on “family benefit”,
– Part VIII on “maternity benefit”,
– Part IX on “invalidity benefit”,
– Part X on “survivors’ benefit”;

Whereas, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of Article 74 of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, the Government of Belgium submitted its 35th annual report and the additional information on the application of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005;

Whereas, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 74, that report was examined by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, at its 76th meeting in November-December 2005,

Notes:

I. concerning Part II (Medical care), Article 10.2.a.i of the Code, as amended by the Protocol, and with reference to its previous conclusions concerning the level of individual cost-sharing by ordinary insured persons with non-preferential status for visits and consultations with general medical practitioners and specialists, that detailed information has been provided in the report concerning the various measures to lower the individual share in costs for certain categories of beneficiaries. With regard more particularly to consultations and visits to general practitioners, for which, in the case of ordinary beneficiaries, the individual share in costs amounts to 30% and 35%, respectively, the Committee of Ministers notes that there has been a sharp increase in the number of cases of overall medical case management (dossier medical global), allowing a 30% reduction of the individual share in the cost of this type of care provided by the general practitioner managing the case, bringing it below the 25% authorised by the Protocol. According to the statistics provided by the government, between 30 June 2003 and 30 September 2004 the number of cases increased by 35%, thus covering 39.5% of the insured population.

As to the reduction of the individual share in the cost of consultations with specialists, which in the case of insured persons with ordinary status currently amounts to 40% of the specialist’s fees, the Committee of Ministers notes the new measures to extend the ceiling of cost sharing, so that once the individual shares of a household in certain types of care totals more than a specified amount, the insurer or, as the case may be, the tax authority, reimburses in full the amount in excess of the established ceiling;

II. concerning Part V (Old-age benefits) of the Code, as amended by the Protocol, that in its previous conclusions the Committee of Ministers had asked the government to state the extent to which it plans to take account, for the purpose of applying Part V of the Code, of the supplementary pensions provided by the occupational scheme in addition to the old-age pension provided by the state, since the gross replacement rate provided by the state old-age pension scheme for wage earners was 32%, whereas combined with the occupational scheme, it was 65%. In reply, the government indicates that in Belgium the state pension still constitutes the basic protection for retired persons and has in no way been affected by the development of supplementary pensions. On the contrary, it has now been reinforced, as pensions are adjusted every two years in order to offset the widening gap between pensions, particularly the most longstanding ones, and wages;

III. concerning the reforms of the social security system, that in response to the Committee of Ministers’ previous conclusions concerning the federal administration reform, known as the “Copernicus Reform”, the government indicates that the new regulation on the appointment of officers in charge of the day-to-day management of public social security institutions and administration contracts concluded with such institutions seeks to ensure, in accordance with Article 71.2 of the Code, the sound administration of the institutions and departments that are involved in applying the Code, by placing more emphasis on the state’s general responsibility in this area. In the administration contract between the State of Belgium and the National Employment Office, for example, the office has subscribed to 39 commitments covering various aspects of its activities, including deadlines for processing social security claims, deadlines for payment, uniform application of the regulations, proper management of financial resources, etc. These commitments are thus aimed at improving the activities the office carries out in order to provide insured persons with a proper service in accordance with Part IV of the Code. The Committee of Ministers notes this information with interest;

Finds that law and practice in Belgium continue to give full effect to all parts of the Code, as amended by the Protocol, subject to the point raised below.

Decides to invite the Government of Belgium:

I. concerning Part II (Medical care), Article 10.2.a.i of the Code, as amended by the Protocol:

a. since the majority of the insured population has not as yet benefited from the reduction afforded by overall medical case management, to take targeted measures in order gradually to reduce to 25%, for ordinary beneficiaries, the individual share in the cost of consultations and visits to general practitioners, as required by the Protocol;

b. since the rate of the share in specialists’ fees will not conform immediately to the threshold established by the Protocol, but will depend on the amount of medical costs incurred once the ceiling has been exceeded, to review the effectiveness of such a ceiling in reducing the individual share in specialist consultations to the 25% threshold established by the Protocol;

II. concerning Part V (Old-age benefits) of the Code, as amended by the Protocol, to show in its next report, on the basis of detailed statistics, that the state old-age pension for a standard beneficiary attains the replacement rate of 45% of the reference wage prescribed by the Protocol;

III. concerning the reforms of the social security system, since the conclusion of administration contracts between the state and public social security institutions is a major innovation in terms of management of the system, to indicate the institutions with which administration contracts have already been concluded and to specify the commitments undertaken by the Belgian state vis-à-vis these institutions, particularly as regards the provision of benefits under the Code (Article 70.3) and also provide information on the status and functions of the Federal Public Social Security Service established by the Royal Order of 23 May 2001.

Draft Resolution ResCSS(2006)…
on the application of the European Code of Social Security
by the Czech Republic
(Period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on …… 2006
at the ….. meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In exercise of the functions conferred upon it by Article 75 of the European Code of Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), and with a view to supervising the application of these two instruments by the Contracting Parties;

Whereas the Code, signed on 16 April 1964, entered into force on 17 March 1968 and since 9 September 2001 has been binding on the Czech Republic, which ratified it on 8 September 2000;

Whereas, when ratifying the Code, the Government of the Czech Republic stated that it accepted, in addition to the parts which must be applied by every Contracting Party (Parts I, XI, XII, XIII and XIV), the following parts of the Code:

– Part II on “medical care”,
– Part III on “sickness benefit”,
– Part IV on “unemployment benefit”,
– Part V on “old-age benefit”,
– Part VII on “family benefit”,
– Part VIII on “maternity benefit”,
– Part IX on “invalidity benefit”,
– Part X on “survivors’ benefit”;

Whereas, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of Article 74 of the Code, the Government of the Czech Republic submitted its 3rd annual report on the application of the Code, for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005;

Whereas, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 74, this report was examined by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, at its 76th meeting in November-December 2005,

The Committee of Ministers notes the information supplied by the government in reply to its previous conclusions;

Finds that the law and practice in the Czech Republic give full effect to the parts of the Code that have been accepted.

Draft Resolution ResCSS(2006)…
on the application of the European Code of Social Security
by Denmark
(Period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on ……… 2006
at the ….. meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In the exercise of the functions conferred upon it by Article 75 of the European Code of Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), and with a view to supervising the application of this instrument by the Contracting Parties;

Whereas the Code, signed on 16 April 1964, entered into force on 17 March 1968 and since 17 February 1974 has been binding on Denmark, which ratified it on 16 February 1973;

Whereas, when ratifying the Code, the Government of Denmark stated that it accepted, in addition to the parts which must be applied by every Contracting Party (Parts I, XI, XII, XIII and XIV), the following parts of the Code:

– Part II on “medical care”,
– Part III on “sickness benefit”,
– Part IV on “unemployment benefit”,
– Part V on “old-age benefit”,
– Part VI on “employment injury benefit”,
– Part VII on “family benefit”,
– Part VIII on “maternity benefit”,
– Part IX on “invalidity benefit”,

Whereas, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of Article 74 of the Code, the Government of Denmark submitted its 32nd annual report on the application of the Code, for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005;

Whereas, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 74, that report was examined by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, at its 76th meeting in November-December 2005,

Notes:

I. concerning Part IV (Unemployment benefit), that according to the rules on the readiness and availability of job seekers to take up offered employment laid down in the Unemployment Insurance Act, as amended by Act No. 1035 of 17 December 2002, the unemployed person shall be available for “reasonable” work from the first day of unemployment (previously after three months of unemployment); the term “reasonable” meaning work which may be outside the occupational field of the unemployed person. Pursuant to section 63 of the Unemployment Insurance Act, benefit shall not be paid to persons who without adequate reason refuse to take up “reasonable employment” offered to them. In its previous conclusions, the Committee of Ministers observed that the notion of “reasonable employment” is at odds with the concept of “suitable employment” used in the Code, which ensures that during the minimum period of protection unemployed persons shall be offered jobs corresponding to their skills, qualifications, acquired experience and length of service in the former occupation – the criteria normally used in assessing the suitability of employment – and that their benefit could not be suspended for refusal to accept a job unsuitable in this respect (Article 20 of the Code in relation to Article 68.h).

In reply, the government furnished detailed information on the content and changes of the availability rules for the unemployed, which are specified in sections 62 and 63 of the Unemployment Insurance Act and in the notifications issued by the National Directorate of Labour. The overall purpose of the changes in the availability rules has been to “motivate” the unemployed into having the necessary will and readiness to match, at any time, the requirements of the labour market. This “motivation” was achieved, inter alia, by restricting the possibility of refusing a job offer or leaving a job and aggravating the consequences of such acts for the receipt of unemployment benefit. Since 2002, the distinction between suitable work (the term applied in the previous legislation to work within the person’s profession) and reasonable work (meaning any ordinary work that a person is able to perform) was abolished so that unemployed persons have a duty to apply for and take up reasonable work immediately. Failure to do so implies loss of unemployment benefit for three weeks. Moreover, a person who, without valid reason, refuses to take up or leaves an ordinary job or an offer for activation under the Act on Active Employment Policy, is considered to be a self-induced unemployed person and will bear the same sanction. According to section 24 of Notification No. 516 of 17 June 2003 on availability for work, the unemployment insurance fund shall investigate and assess members’ availability whenever there is doubt about their availability for work. The government adds, however, that if an unemployed person seeks a sufficient number of suitable jobs within his or her profession, the unemployment insurance fund will not have a duty to question whether that person is available for work and, in practice, such person will be eligible for unemployment benefit. As regards job offers by the Public Employment Service (PES), they are made on the basis of the information about qualifications provided to the service by the unemployed person himself. In the selection of suitable jobseekers, it shall be ensured that a jobseeker’s qualifications are compatible with the job profile (Article 33.2 of Notification No. 577 of 19 June 2003 on active employment measures).

From the above explanations of the government, it appears that there is a discrepancy between law and practice in Denmark as regards the conditions of availability for unemployment benefit. Whereas in practice the availability of the jobseeker is not questioned as long as he or she is actively looking for a suitable job in terms of his or her qualifications and if the job offers of the PES are also based on his or her declared qualifications, in law the new requirements are drafted in such a manner as to purposefully deprive unemployed persons of the possibility to protect their qualifications and compel them to accept immediately any ordinary job on pain of loss of benefits. As regards the situation in law, the Committee of Ministers considers that such “motivation” of unemployed persons to subordinate their will and professional aspirations to the dictate of the labour market goes against the very objectives of social security enshrined in the Code. However desirable it may be for the labour market authorities and for society as a whole to move more people into employment, unemployed persons should be treated with due respect for their professional, social and family status and not as ordinary labourers, physically and mentally fit for any job;

II. concerning Part VI (Employment injury benefit), that the report provides information on the changes made in the reporting period by the reform of the employment injury benefit branch, brought about by the Workers’ Compensation Act which entered into force on 1 January 2004. The new extended list of occupational diseases took effect on 1 January 2005. The act amending medical expenses of 3 June 2005 gave insurance companies and the Labour Market Occupational Diseases Fund the power to make decisions themselves on defrayed and future expenses for treatment and aid, which were previously made by the National Board of Industrial Injuries. The Committee of Ministers notes this information as well as the statistics on the rates of benefits, which however is not sufficient for it to fully assess the impact of the reform on the application of Part VI of the Code, including questions of organisation and management of the branch, separate coverage of occupational diseases, the role of private insurance companies, gratuity of medical care and rehabilitation services and conditions of lump-sum benefits;

III. concerning Part XII (Common provisions),Article 68, thataccording to Act No. 327 of 18 May 2005, the payment of a social pension and other social benefits as referred to in the act shall be suspended in case of evasion of criminal prosecution or execution of a sentence. The act applies to persons in custody, persons wanted by the police and in the case of a ruling for custody (in absentia). If the person concerned is not found guilty, the amount retained shall be repaid;

Finds that law and practice in Denmark continue to give full effect to the parts of the Code which have been accepted, subject to receiving additional information on the point mentioned below.

Decides to invite the Government of Denmark:

I. concerning Part IV (Unemployment benefit):

a. in order to assess the practical effect of the new rules on availability of jobseekers, to supply statistics on the number of registered unemployed, the number of placements into “reasonable” jobs and the number of cases per year in which unemployment benefit was suspended due to refusal to accept an offer of such a job or activation measure, for the whole period since the entry into force of the new rules in 2002;

b. to explain the practice followed by the PES in determining whether the person concerned has a reasonable ground for refusing such offer, indicating in particular to what extent account is being taken of the person’s acquired professional and social status, or his or her personal and family situation in cases where the job offered implies a change of residence;

c. taking into account the sensitivity and the complexity of the issues involved, as well as of the need to co-ordinate the respective obligations of Denmark under the Code and the European Social Charter, to seek a solution of the issues through early discussions between the competent national services and experts from the Council of Europe and the ILO and hopes that the Government of Denmark will avail itself of the technical assistance that these organisations can provide in this connection;

II. concerning Part VI (Employment injury benefit), and taking into account these questions, to explain in its next report the main reasons and objectives of the reform of the workers’ compensation scheme, to make a comprehensive list of the new laws and regulations and to specify concrete provisions which give effect to each of the articles of Part VI of the Code;

III. concerning Part XII (Common provisions), taking into account that suspension of benefits in the cases mentioned may go beyond the grounds listed in Article 68 of the Code;

a. to provide in its next report detailed explanations concerning the social benefits affected by the act which fall under the ambit of the Code, and to provide detailed information on the matter in which the new legislation is applied in practice by the administrative authorities and, as the case may be, the judicial authorities;

b. to also provide statistics on the number of cases of suspension of benefits under the act, together with its translation into English, if possible.

Draft Resolution ResCSS(2006)…
on the application of the European Code of Social Security
by France
(Period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on ……. 2006
at the ….. meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In the exercise of the functions conferred upon it by Article 75 of the European Code of Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), and with a view to supervising the application of this instrument by the Contracting Parties;

Whereas the Code, signed on 16 April 1964, entered into force on 17 March 1968 and since 18 February 1987 has been binding on France, which ratified it on 17 February 1986;

Whereas, when ratifying the Code, the Government of France stated that it accepted, in addition to the parts which must be applied by every Contracting Party (Parts I, XI, XII, XIII and XIV), the following parts of the Code:

– Part II on “medical care”,
– Part IV on “unemployment benefit”,
– Part V on “old-age benefit”,
– Part VI on “employment injury benefit”,
– Part VII on “family benefit”,
– Part VIII on “maternity benefit”,
– Part IX on “invalidity benefit”;

Whereas, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of Article 74 of the Code, the Government of France submitted, on 22 July 2004, its 18th annual report and the additional information on the application of the Code, for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005;

Whereas, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 74, that report was examined by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, at its 76th meeting in November-December 2005,
Notes:
I. concerning the major social security reforms, that the government’s report describes important changes in France’s social security legislation which affect, in particular, Parts II, IV, V and VII of the Code:

1. concerning Part II (Medical care), that the report introduces the adoption of Act No. 2004-810 of 13 August 2004 on sickness insurance as a new step in the far-reaching reforms made necessary by a deterioration in the financial position of the sickness insurance system. With the aim of improving governance of the health system, the act introduces deep changes in the structure of sickness insurance, reforms its operation and improves its administration at both national and local levels. While the state retains responsibility for policy-setting and public health finances, Parliament will monitor more closely the manner in which sickness insurance finances are conducted. The act improves co-ordination between the basic sickness insurance schemes and co-ordination between these and other bodies and players by establishing, respectively, the National Union of Sickness Insurance Funds (UNCAM), the Union of Supplementary Sickness Insurance Bodies and the National Union of Health Professionals. The act confirms and extends the UNCAM’s duties: contractual relations with health professionals, designation of refundable services and benefits and of the amount of the insured person’s share in costs. In the interests of improved medical care management, an independent public authority has been set up, the Haute autorité de santé (HAS), to assess more accurately the medical usefulness of refundable health services and products and to promote sound use of health care among health professionals and insured persons. The HAS is also responsible for drawing up and implementing procedures for the evaluation of professional practices, the accreditation of

professionals and medical teams, and the certification of health establishments. The act extends the competence of the Economic Committee on Health Products, particularly as regards the pricing of drugs, and the participation of sickness insurance in the committee. To ensure the accountability of all players and contain the cost of sickness insurance, by 1 July 2007 every individual will have a computerised personal medical file so as to keep track of outpatient and hospital medical care and services. The amount of the medical care or service payable to the individual will depend on the file being presented to the practitioner. A lower share in costs will be an incentive for people to opt for a “care path” co-ordinated by a general practitioner, freely chosen as from 1 July 2005. Exemption from cost sharing for patients suffering from long-term diseases (approximately 12% of the population) will henceforth be subject to observance of a “care protocol” drawn up jointly by the patient’s own doctor and the fund’s advisory doctor, and signed by the patient. In addition to the patient’s own contribution, there is a flat-rate charge of €1 for every item of medical and biological care, up to an annual ceiling, except for children, women more than six months pregnant and beneficiaries of supplementary universal sickness coverage (persons with the lowest income, approximately 7% of the population). The act also steps up medical control by the insurance funds and the penalising of abusive practices by health professionals that involve extra costs unnecessarily.

According to the report, the various measures introduced by the 2004 reform to streamline and improve the health-care supply should allow savings of some €10 billion, in addition to the €1 billion from patients’ contributions. The 2004 act also establishes a new revenue of approximately €4 billion. The rate of the overall social contribution (la contribution sociale généralisée) is increased from 6.2% to 6.6% of the replacement wage, from 7.5% to 8.2% of income from assets and investments and from 7.5% to 9.5% of proceeds from gambling; the income tax assessment base has also been increased slightly (from 95% to 97% of gross income). The same is true for assessment of the “tax for reimbursement of the social debt”. The “corporate social solidarity tax”, based on a rate of 0.13%, has been increased by 0.03% for companies with an annual turnover of more than €760 000. The tax on promotional spending for medical equipment and drugs and the pharmaceutical laboratories’ turnover tax have also been increased.

The Committee of Ministers notes the government’s statement that the measures undertaken to reform sickness insurance, and in particular to redress its finances, appear not to have affected application of Part II of the Code, but that more specific information will be provided in the detailed report for 2006.

With regard to patients’ cost sharing, the Committee of Ministers notes that the government shares the objective of keeping the patient’s contribution low enough not to place too heavy a burden on beneficiaries who are hospitalised or who use the services of hospital specialists. According to the government, the reform of hospital charge setting does not affect the rates of specialists or arrangements for patient participation, and aims first and foremost to improve transparency in the activities of medical establishments and the associated costs and to further improve resource allocation. The 2004 reform introduces no changes to the arrangements for providing full coverage for the most needy. People with the lowest incomes are given, in addition to universal sickness cover (CMU), a “supplementary CMU”, which aims to avoid any financial participation by the beneficiaries: it includes more advantageous payment rates for certain types of care (optical care, dental care, etc.), and, under the tiers payant (direct payment by the insurer) system, provides exemption from advance payment of the contributions and various fixed charges. Approximately 7% of the population benefit from this arrangement. The 2004 reform does, however, supplement this arrangement by providing financial assistance to facilitate the acquisition of supplementary insurance by persons whose income is slightly over the ceiling set for supplementary CMU (approximately 2% of the population). The government indicates that the various measures introduced by the 2004 reform in order to rationalise health-care provision should amount to some €10 billions in savings, to which must be added €1 billion in patients’ contributions;

2. concerning Part IV (Unemployment benefit) thatAct No. 2005-35 of 18 January 2005 on the planning of social cohesion modernises and adapts the organisation of the services market to jobseekers in order to improve its overall efficiency: end of the National Employment Agency’s monopoly and opening up to private operators (with supervision) of placement activities, definition of “public employment service”, co-ordination and guidance of the activities of all those involved at national and subnational level. It also provides for the establishment of employment centres, the main purpose of which is to co-ordinate the public employment service’s local activities and to conduct activities to anticipate human resource needs at local level. According to the report, the act reforms the system of jobseekers’ obligations and the administrative sanctions that may

be applied to make the obligations more effective, setting them in order of importance and introducing the principle of adversarial proceedings (implementation measures in preparation). It contains specific and clear provisions on the organisation and supervision of jobseeking to be applied by certain officials of the Ministry of Employment, the National Employment Agency and unemployment insurance bodies.

The Committee of Ministers takes note of this general information, which gives an account of radical change in the organisation of the employment services and in the jobseekers’ obligations;

3. concerning Part V (Old-age benefit), that further to its previous conclusions, detailed information on how Act No. 2003-775 of 21 August 2003 reforming pensions is affecting the application of each Article of Part V of the Code will be sent in the detailed report for 2006. The government also states that in its calculations pursuant to Part V of the Code, it is not planning to count the benefits provided under occupational or personal pension schemes in addition to the benefits provided by the general old-age insurance. It furthermore indicates that the retirement pension (basic and supplementary) of a standard beneficiary with an insurance and employment career of 30 years at the minimum wage will have a replacement rate of 62.5% in 2008;

4. concerning Part VII (Family benefit), thatfurther to its previous conclusions, the government undertakes to provide in its detailed report for 2006, the updated statistics required by the report form under Article 44 of the Code, concerning the total amount of family benefit;

Finds that law and practice in France continue to give full effect to the parts of the Code which have been accepted.

Decides to invite the Government of France, concerning the major social security reforms, in order to be able to assess the impact of the changes on the application of the provisions of the respective parts of the Code, to provide additional information on the points mentioned hereunder:

1. concerning Part II (Medical care):

a. to include in the detailed report for 2006 information and statistics showing that the measures taken have been effective in terms not only of restoring equilibrium in the branch by 2007, but also of the principal criterion set by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Recommendation 1626 (2003) on the reform of health-care systems in Europe: reconciling equity, quality and efficiency) for judging the success of health system reforms, namely effective access to health services for all and improvement of the general standard of health and welfare of the entire population;

b. to state the main indicators used to monitor the general standard of health and welfare of the French population and trends in this standard in the last few years;

c. to provide information on the measures taken or envisaged to ensure the sustainability of the sickness insurance system in the long term;

d. with regards to patients’ cost sharing, in view of the sizeable transfer of sickness insurance charges to users, to explain which categories of patients will be the most affected and what kind of effort will be asked of them in order to recover the various amounts, and in particular the practical arrangements, and the consequences for ordinary (non-preferential) beneficiaries, of a flat-rate contribution (€1) for every medical and biological item of care up to an annual ceiling;

2. concerning Part IV (Unemployment benefit) to include information in its detailed report for 2006 on how the changes are affecting the application of Part IV of the Code, particularly as regards the notions of availability for work and suitable employment used in Article 20 of the Code, read in conjunction with Article 68.h.

Draft Resolution ResCSS(2006)…
on the application of the European Code of Social Security and its Protocol
by Germany
(Period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on …… 2006
at the ….. meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In the exercise of the functions conferred upon it by Article 75 of the European Code of Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), as modified by the provisions of its Protocol (hereinafter referred to as the “Protocol”), and with a view to supervising the application of these two instruments by the Contracting Parties;

Whereas the Code and the Protocol, signed on 16 April 1964, entered into force on 17 March 1968 and since 28 January 1972 have been binding on the Federal Republic of Germany, which ratified them on 27 January 1971;

Whereas, when ratifying the Code and the Protocol, the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany stated that it accepted, in addition to the parts which must be applied by every Contracting Party (Parts I, XI, XII, XIII and XIV), the following parts of the Code, as modified by the Protocol:

– Part II on “medical care”,
– Part III on “sickness benefit”,
– Part IV on “unemployment benefit”,
– Part V on “old-age benefit”,
– Part VI on “employment injury benefit”,
– Part VII on “family benefit”,
– Part VIII on “maternity benefit”,
– Part IX on “invalidity benefit”,
– Part X on “survivors’ benefit”;

Whereas, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of Article 74 of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany submitted its 34th annual report on the application of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005;

Whereas, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 74, that report was examined by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, at its 76th meeting in November-December 2005 ,

Notes:

I. concerning Part IV (Unemployment benefit) of the Code, as amended by the Protocol, that in addition to explanations given in the report, the government supplied the following documents and statistical information requested in the Committee of Ministers’ previous conclusions:

– a copy of the rules for the implementation of section 144 of Book III of the Social Code (position: January 2005);

– a compilation of (selected) rulings of the Federal Social Court defining “gross negligence” and “good reason”;

– a copy of an integration agreement;

– statistics on disqualification periods imposed according to section 144 of Book III of the Social Code;

– a list giving the numbers of appeals and court action for the year 2004.

The Committee of Ministers will examine this information at its next session due to the large extent of the information provided;

II. concerning Part V (Old-age benefit):

a. that in its previous conclusions, that it had requested the government to provide an updated calculation of old-age pension to show that it reaches the replacement rate of 45% prescribed by the Protocol for a man with 30 years of contributions, a wife of pensionable age and no dependent children. The government indicated that calculations made on this basis resulted in a replacement rate of 43% of the reference salary in the old Länder and 42.3% in the new Länder, whereas calculations based on 35 years of contributions gave the replacement rates of 50.1% in the old Länder and 49.3% in the new Länder. According to the government, it would be unrealistic to base the calculation on a contributory period of 30 years, since under the German pension law periods of unemployment or training, etc., were credited for pension purposes. In support of this view, the government referred to a study on pensions newly awarded in 2002, which showed that about 70% of all new male pensioners had contributed for a period of more than 40 years;

b. the report indicates that the Act to Secure the Sustainable Financial Basis of the Statutory Pension Insurance (Pension Insurance Stability Act) (Gesetz zur Sicherung der gestzlichen Rentenversicherung – RV – Nachhaltigkeitsgesetz), which entered into force on 1 January 2005, modified the formula for the adjustment of pensions by introducing a sustainability factor, through which the correlation between persons receiving benefits and persons in compulsorily insured employment is taken into account when pension adjustments are made. The adjustment of pensions was also aligned with changes of the sum of gross wages and salaries that are liable to compulsory contributions;

III. concerning Part IX (Invalidity benefit), that,in its previous comments, the Committee of Ministers had asked the government to show, by means of concrete examples, the impact on the calculation of the invalidity benefit of an intermittent career containing both missing and credited periods. In reply, the government provided calculation of the invalidity pension on the basis of the period between age 17 (commencement of employment) and age 34 (onset of invalidity) including a period of one year during which the employee received unemployment benefit I (ALG I) or unemployment benefit II (ALG II). The Committee of Ministers notes that in both cases the resulting replacement rate of the invalidity pension satisfies the 50% required by the Protocol;

IV. concerning Part X (Survivor’s benefit).With reference to its previous conclusions, that, as for the invalidity pension, the calculation of the replacement rate of the survivors’ pension given in the report is based on a contributory period of the breadwinner of 43 years, which comprises a period of uninterrupted employment of 15 years and an additional credited fictitious period of 28 years. As regards means-testing of the survivors’ benefit under the new legislation which takes into account income from property and investment, the Committee of Ministers notes that most of the newly awarded survivors’ pensions were still governed by the old legislation, which takes into account only work-related income;

Finds that the law and practice in Germany continue to give full effect to Parts II, III, IV, VI, VII and VIII of the Code, as amended by the Protocol, and that they also ensure the application of Parts V, IX and X, subject to the following points;

Decides to invite the Government of Germany:

I. concerning Part IV (Unemployment benefit) of the Code, as amended by the Protocol, to continue to indicate any changes in the national legislation or practice related to the conditions governing entitlement to and suspension of unemployment benefit.

II. concerning Part V (Old-age benefit):

a. to provide in its next report detailed information on which additional periods were credited for pension purposes, including invalidity and survivors’ pensions, and how they were valued;

b. to explain the practical effect of the new pension adjustment rules on the application of Article 65.10 of the Code and to provide all relevant statistics;

III. concerning Part IX (Invalidity benefit), to include, in its next report, calculations of the replacement rate of an invalidity pension for a standard beneficiary whose career after the age of 17 included periods of education, self-employment or unemployment until age 30 when he or she started uninterrupted salaried employment for 15 years and became an invalid at age 45, and examples of calculations for the same beneficiary who, before having a stable employment career at the age of 30, spent maximum allowed periods on unemployment benefits I and/or II;

IV. concerning Part X (Invalidity benefit), to provide in its next report, calculations of the replacement rate of the survivors’ benefit for a standard beneficiary whose career after the age of 17 included periods of education, self-employment or unemployment until age 30 when he or she started uninterrupted salaried employment for 15 years and died at age 45, including examples of calculations for the same beneficiary who, before having a stable employment career at the age of 30, spent maximum allowed periods on unemployment benefits I and/or II.


Draft Resolution ResCSS(2006)…
on the application of the European Code of Social Security
by Greece
(Period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on ……. 2006
at the ….. meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In the exercise of the functions conferred upon it by Article 75 of the European Code of Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), and with a view to supervising the application of this instrument by the Contracting Parties;

Whereas the Code, signed on 16 April 1964, entered into force on 17 March 1968 and since 10 June 1982 has been binding on Greece, which ratified it on 9 June 1981;

Whereas, when ratifying the Code, the Government of Greece stated that it accepted, in addition to the parts which must be applied by every Contracting Party (Parts I, XI, XII, XIII and XIV), the following parts of the Code:

– Part II on “medical care”,
– Part III on “sickness benefit”,
– Part V on “old-age benefit”,
– Part VI on “employment injury benefit”,
– Part VIII on “maternity benefit”,
– Part IX on “invalidity benefit”,
– Part X on “survivors’ benefit”;

Whereas, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of Article 74 of the Code, the Government of Greece submitted its 23rd annual report on the application of the Code, for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005;

Whereas, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 74, that report was examined by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, at its 76th meeting in November-December 2005 ,

Notes concerning Part VI (Employment injury benefit) of the Code(Article 36, paragraph 2), thatin reply to its previous conclusions concerning the question of re-establishing in the Greek legislation the right to long-term benefit at a reduced rate for victims of employment injury with incapacity of less than 50%, the government states that, in view of the complex technical issues involved in establishing such a scheme, it accepts the proposal of the Committee of Ministers to have recourse to the technical assistance of the International Labour Organization in order to find an economically suitable regulation for this matter and that it will send the requested statistical information compiled by the actuarial services of the IKA as soon as possible. The Committee of Ministers hopes that this assistance could be put in place in the near future on the basis of the direct co-operation between the interested departments of the Greek Government, the Council of Europe and the ILO. It wishes to recall that the effectiveness of international assistance will depend on the quality and reliability of the information provided by the IKA, which should estimate the number of potential beneficiaries, the degree of incapacity to be covered, the possible level of the benefit, the overall cost of the programme and its other actuarial implications under conditions set out in Article 70 of the Code.

With reference to its previous conclusions, the Committee of Ministers notes with interest the government’s statement that it has invited the Organization for Manpower of Greece to consider the possibility of ratifying Part IV of the Code, taking into account that Greece does not have any difficulties in the application of similar obligations it has already accepted under Part IV of Convention No. 102. As regards the country’s ability to ratify other additional parts of the Code and the Protocol, in reply to the invitation of the Committee of Ministers to have recourse to the technical expertise of the ILO, the government stated that it would examine this possibility. In this connection, the Committee of Ministers recalls that the technical co-operation activities in the application of the Code, initiated by the 6th Meeting (May 2004) of the Committee of Experts on Standard-Setting Instruments in the Field of Social Security (CS-CO), in close co-operation with the ILO, are destined in particular to those contracting parties which wish to extend their obligations by accepting additional parts of the Code or its Protocol;

Finds that law and practice in Greece continue to give full effect to the parts of the Code which have been accepted, subject to the following point concerning Part VI (Employment injury benefit);

Decides to invite the Government of Greece, concerning Part VI of the Code(Article 36, paragraph 2), to inform the Committee of Ministers of the progress made in relation to point I in the government’s next report.

Draft Resolution ResCSS(2006)…
on the application of the European Code of Social Security
by Ireland
(Period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on ………… 2006
at the …… meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In the exercise of the functions conferred upon it by Article 75 of the European Code of Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), and with a view to supervising the application of this instrument by the Contracting Parties;

Whereas the Code, signed on 16 April 1964, entered into force on 17 March 1968 and since 17 February 1972 has been binding on Ireland, which ratified it on 16 February 1971;

Whereas, when ratifying the Code, the Government of Ireland stated that it accepted, in addition to the parts which must be applied by every Contracting Party (Parts I, XI, XII, XIII and XIV), the following parts of the Code:

– Part III on “sickness benefit”,
– Part IV on “unemployment benefit”,
– Part V on “old-age benefit”,
– Part VII on “family benefit”,
– Part X on “survivors’ benefit”;

Whereas, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of Article 74 of the Code, the Government of Ireland submitted its 32nd annual report on the application of the Code for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005;

Whereas, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 74, that report was examined by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, at its 76th meeting in November-December 2005,

Notes that in reply to the Committee of Ministers’ previous conclusions concerning the introduction by the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2004, of a habitual residence condition (HRC) for non-contributory schemes and the child benefit scheme with effect from 1 May 2004, the government stated that this measure was seen as a necessary response to the potential effects on the social security system of enlargement of the EU, and as an inextricable component of the decision to provide workers from the 10 new member states with full and immediate access to the Irish labour market from 1 May 2004. Child benefit was included in the scope of HRC because it is a universal benefit, which is not means-tested and does not require any attachment to the labour force. The following five criteria are used for determining habitual residence: length and continuity of residence in a particular country; length and purpose of absence from Ireland; nature and pattern of the employment; applicant’s main centre of interest; and future intention of applicant as it appears from all the circumstances. In accordance with the relevant jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice, which precludes reliance on any specific duration of residence for the purpose of establishing habitual residence, no such specific period is the determining factor in any HRC decision and there is no implied presumption that those who are resident in Ireland for more than two years would be regarded as habitually resident. Detailed guidelines exist for specially trained deciding officers and are applied to claimants of all nationalities including Irish citizens. The government therefore believes that there is no significant difference between the Irish use of the term “habitual residence” and the concept of “ordinary residence” in the European Code of Social Security. As regards the application of the HRC legislation in practice, some 46 000 new child benefit claims were made during the period 1 May 2004 to end June 2005, of which 6 000 involved HRC issues. Of the 4 800 claims, which have been determined, approximately 80% have succeeded in establishing habitual residence, while 985 child benefit claims were disallowed. This latter represents 2% of the total number of claims received during this period.

As regards the difference between the concepts of “habitual residence” used in the Irish legislation and “ordinary residence” used in the Code, the Committee of Ministers would like to point out that, unlike the HRC which is not linked to any specific period of residence in the country leaving this question at the discretion of the deciding officer, the concept of ordinary residence is used to determine the precise maximum duration of the qualifying period which the claimant may be required to complete in order to become entitled to benefit. As regards the child benefit, under Article 43 of the Code, the claimant may be required to complete up to six months of ordinary residence and/or one month of contribution or employment. In contrast, section 208A of the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2004, requires the deciding officer to presume, until the claimant proves otherwise, that he or she is not habitually resident in Ireland unless he or she has been present in the common travel area for a continuous period of two years. Moreover, as stated by the government, there is no implied presumption that those who are resident in Ireland for more than two years would be regarded as habitually resident. The Committee of Ministers considers that, while under these provisions in some cases habitual residence may be determined even before the completion of the six-month residence period by the claimant concerned, as the length of residence is not the only criteria taken into account, there may also be cases where the deciding officer could disallow child benefit for claimants who have duly completed the qualifying period prescribed by the Code, but have not as yet satisfied in the eyes of the deciding officer such other criteria of habitual residence as the claimant’s main centre of interest and future intentions, which are not foreseen by the Code.

The Committee of Ministers recalls that, according to the government’s 31st Report on the Code, from 5 April 2004, the minimum contribution period qualifying a person for receipt of sickness benefit and unemployment benefit was increased from 39 weeks to 52 weeks to ensure that those who have recourse to the scheme have a reasonable attachment to the workforce.

The Committee of Ministers notes with interest that the joint technical co-operation mission of the Council of Europe and the ILO, which took place in Dublin in April 2005, examined certain technical questions with a view to ratification by Ireland of additional parts of the Code and that the government confirms its intention to conclude this process as quickly as possible;

Finds that law and practice in Ireland continue to give full effect to the parts of the Code which have been accepted;

Decides to invite the Government of Ireland, concerning the introduction of a habitual residence for non-contributory schemes and the child benefit scheme:

a. to provide a copy of the guidelines for deciding officers, as well as to continue to provide statistics on the number of claims to child benefit involving HRC issues;

b. in order to be able to appraise whether the substantial extension of the qualifying period was warranted to preclude abuse of the corresponding social security schemes, particularly as what concerns sickness benefit, to explain in its next report the reasons which have led to the introduction of the measures in question, and to provide statistical data on the number of employees affected;

c. in order to avoid possible conflict of laws in cases where the discretionary power of the deciding officers might extend beyond the conditions of entitlement to the family benefit laid down by the Code, to draw the attention of the deciding officers (through a circular letter, for example) to the international obligation of Ireland under Article 43 of the Code to provide family benefit to all persons protected who, within a prescribed period, could justify six months of ordinary residence in the country.

Draft Resolution ResCSS(2006)…
on the application of the European Code of Social Security
by Italy
(Period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on …….. 2006
at the ….. meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In the exercise of the functions conferred upon it by Article 75 of the European Code of Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), and with a view to supervising the application of this instrument by the Contracting Parties;

Whereas the Code, signed on 16 April 1964, entered into force on 17 March 1968 and since 21 January 1978 has been binding on Italy, which ratified it on 20 January 1977;

Whereas, when ratifying the Code, the Government of Italy stated that it accepted, in addition to the parts which must be applied by every Contracting Party (Parts I, XI, XII, XIII and XIV), the following parts of the Code:

– Part V on “old-age benefit”,
– Part VI on “employment injury benefit”,
– Part VII on “family benefit”
– Part VIII on “maternity benefit”;

Whereas, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of Article 74 of the Code, the Government of Italy submitted its 20th annual report on the application of the Code, for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005;

Whereas, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 74, that report was examined by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, at its 76th meeting in November-December 2005,

Notes :

I. concerning Part V (Old-age benefit):

a. thataccording to the report, Act No. 243 of 23 August 2004, which took effect on 6 October 2004, introduces a reform of the retirement system. Most of the new provisions will take effect as from 2008. For workers eligible at 31 December 2007 for the old-age or retirement pension provided for in the legislation applying before the abovementioned reform, the provisions governing access and criteria for the calculation of the pension remain unchanged. As from 2008, for all old-age pensions granted under the defined contributions system, the age of eligibility will rise from 57 to 65 years for men and to 60 years for women, access under the age of 65 years being possible with 35 years of contributions or after 40 years of contributions with no age criteria. The age of eligibility for retirement pensions will likewise be raised in stages. Thus, as from 2008 the requirements will be 35 years of contributions and age 60 for wage earners (62 as from 2014) and age 61 for self-employed workers (63 as from 2014), or 40 years of contributions with no age criteria. To encourage people to remain in activity, the new act introduces a “bonus” for any private sector employee entitled to a retirement pension at 31 December 2007 who continues to work after that date. Lastly, the government is to issue a legislative decree under which the ban on receiving a pension and wages together will be phased out;

b. the Committee of Ministers notes that Act No. 243 of 23 August 2004 marks a new phase in the reform of Italy’s retirement system which began with Act No. 335 of 1995. Regulation of old-age benefits in Italy is complex owing to a series of laws enacted over a 10-year period, so that the old rules governing old-age benefits coexist with the new ones and with the transitional arrangements. It draws the government’s attention to the fact that the qualifying period of 35 or 40 years of contributions for entitlement to old-age pension, prescribed by the reform, exceeds the maximum qualifying period (30 years of contributions or employment) allowed by the Code;

II. concerning Part VI (Employment injury benefit), that in reply to its previous comments, the government has provided detailed information on the current reform of the compulsory insurance against occupational accidents and diseases and the benefits provided under this branch. The Committee of Ministers also notes the statistics showing a 10% drop in the number of occupational accidents that occurred in the national economy in the period 2001-04;

a. with regard to the reform introduced by Legislative Decree No. 38/2000, the government refers to the new regulatory framework, under which the role of the National Institute against Occupational Accidents (INAIL) is evolving from mere insurance provision to “integrated protection”, aimed at overall coverage of employee and employer. The INAIL has undergone far-reaching changes, in terms not only of role and structure, but also of the services offered, the system for their distribution and the wider range of end users. The INAIL has an outlook based on the principles of corporate ethics, interactivity between all the partners and shared goals. It is administered on the basis of strategic objectives, focusing on transparent management and verification of results. Strategic tasks have been centralised while authority for decision-making has in effect been transferred to regional and provincial units. In keeping with the Institute’s new role of overall coverage and integrated protection of the worker, reform is now focused on decentralised, flexible and user-oriented organisation. These changes are based, inter alia, on special protection, a principle laid down in the Constitution and section 95 of the Finance Act of 2001, whereby a victim of an occupational accident is entitled to special care which differs from the care provided for all by the National Health Service. Lastly, a draft legislative decree has been framed to revise the Single Text of 1965 on occupational accidents with a view to extending protection to the whole of the working world, in other words to atypical workers, the self-employed, and persons engaged in activities of a social nature, and to establish active protection focusing on measures that combine prevention, injury compensation and the possibility of maximum psycho-physical recovery;

b. with regard to calculation of benefits, the government indicates that the economic benefits provided by the INAIL are reassessed yearly pursuant to a decree of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy which sets the minimum and maximum amounts of periodical payments. The Committee of Ministers notes that in 2004, the minimum was set at €1 030.05, which is close to the reference wage – €1 091.98 – of an ordinary labourer (first level) cited in the previous report;

III. concerning the governance and organisation of social security,the Committee of Ministers notes the information in the report concerning the activities of the National Social Security Institute (INPS) scheduled for the years 2005-07. It notes in particular that the INPS is to have a more flexible and decentralised structure so that it can better adapt to the wider range of activities it has to perform and improve the network of services it provides nationwide. The aim is to establish closer interaction with other public administrations and local bodies in order to generate synergies allowing better nationwide coverage so that service distribution is more suited to users’ expectations. Since the current focus on decentralisation involves high costs for the INPS, the agencies in the various parts of the country, particularly the large cities, will need to be restructured to meet new requirements such as simplification and speed in service provision and reduced public expenditure. To improve performance and efficiency, the INPS is committed to abandoning paper operations and conducting its business entirely online by the second half of 2007. Communications and internal and external operations will be entirely computerised. Individuals, enterprises and organisations will be able to access all services directly by Internet or by telephone. With a view to simplifying relations between users and the public administration, a joint INPS-INAIL contact point has been set up to provide information and certain services online. Act No. 243 of 2004 on the reform of the retirement system requires the INPS to set up a central database of members of all social security schemes, which will serve as a civil register showing in full the insurance status of all persons entered. The INPS will thus have all the data pertaining to every worker engaged in economic activity in Italy, and will thus be able to issue certificates and provide benefits in real time. Lastly, a key objective of the 2005-07 plan is to enhance “transparency”, inter alia, by means of a Services Charter, which should allow the purposes and procedures for access to the services and the deadlines for their provision to be clearly conveyed and understood.

The Committee of Ministers observes that implementation of the new organisation and administration model for the INPS laid down in the plan of activities for the next three years relies heavily on advanced technology, the aim being to computerise the public administration fully in keeping with the current trend towards the “information society”. It is to be hoped that the establishment of an administration that operates entirely by computer with no paper documents and with direct online access will allow improvement of the quality and speed of the services provided to protected persons, greater operational autonomy and efficiency in the decentralised agencies throughout the country, and lower public administration management costs. While aware that these developments are necessary and important, the Committee of Ministers observes that changes of this nature are often too radical and too rapid for certain categories of persons (the elderly, the most needy, etc.), who, lacking the capacity and the means to adapt, are left out of the “information society” and continue to need direct contact with a person because they have no access to the new communication technologies;

Finds that law and practice in Italy give full effect to the parts of the Code that have been accepted;

Decides to invite the Government of Italy:

I. concerning Part V (old-age benefit):

a. because regulation of old-age benefits in Italy is complex owing to a series of laws enacted over a 10-year period, so that the old rules governing old-age benefits coexist with the new ones and with the transitional arrangements, to provide detailed information in its next report on how the pension reforms have so far affected the application of each of the Articles of Part V of the Code, including the statistics required by the report form under Article 74, paragraph 1.b.i and ii (in conjunction with Article 65 or 66), in so far as they concern old-age benefits;

b. to indicate whether a protected person who has completed a qualifying period of 30 years’ contributions before the contingency is entitled to an old-age pension, and to show, on the basis of exact calculations or estimates, that old-age or retirement pensions under the new rules will in all cases meet the level required by the Code (40% of the reference wage) for a standard beneficiary who has completed the qualifying period set in Article 29, paragraph 1.a, of the Code;

c. to send the text of the new legislative provisions introducing the reform of the retirement system;

II. concerning Part VI (Employment injury benefit):

a. to send with its next report the text of the legislative provisions introducing the reform of the compulsory occupational accidents and diseases insurance;

b. with regard to calculation of benefit, to specify the cases in which the minimum benefit is provided and to give the calculation of the replacement rate with reference to the total wage and family allowances of a first-level worker with a spouse and two children and to indicate the amount payable to the spouse and the two children in the event of death;

III. concerning the governance and organisation of social security, to provide information on the measures planned for the categories of protected persons under the INPS 2005-07 activities plan and to also provide a copy of the INPS Services Charter as soon as it is adopted.

Draft Resolution ResCSS(2006)…
on the application of the European Code of Social Security and its Protocol
by Luxembourg
(Period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on ……… 2006
at the …..meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In the exercise of the functions conferred upon it by Article 75 of the European Code of Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), as modified by the provisions of its Protocol (hereinafter referred to as the “Protocol”), and with a view to supervising the application of these two instruments by the Contracting Parties;

Whereas the Code and the Protocol, signed on 16 April 1964, entered into force on 17 March 1968 and since 4 April 1969 have been binding on Luxembourg, which ratified them on 3 April 1968;

Whereas, when ratifying the Code and the Protocol, the Government of Luxembourg stated that it accepted, in addition to the parts which must be applied by every Contracting Party (Parts I, XI, XII, XIII and XIV), the following parts of the Code, as modified by the Protocol:

– Part II on “medical care”,
– Part III on “sickness benefit”,
– Part IV on “unemployment benefit”,
– Part V on “old-age benefit”,
– Part VI on “employment injury benefit”,
– Part VII on “family benefit”,
– Part VIII on “maternity benefit”,
– Part IX on “invalidity benefit”,
– Part X on “survivors’ benefit”;

Whereas, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of Article 74 of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, the Government of Luxembourg submitted its 37th annual report on the application of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005;

Whereas, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 74, that report was examined by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, at its 76th meeting in November-December 2005,

Notes that new measures have been adopted to improve the management of incapacity for work and reintegration into working life, to combat abusive absenteeism and to redress the sickness insurance budget deficit for the long term. To that end, a law was enacted on 21 December 2004 to amend the Social Insurance Code, inter alia, by repealing the old provision that distinguished between “same case of sickness” and “other sickness” and limiting the maximum period of sickness benefit to a total of 52 weeks in a reference period of 104 weeks. All periods of incapacity within the reference period are counted, whether due to sickness, accident, occupational disease or occupational accident;

Finds that the law and practice in Luxembourg continue to give full effect to the provisions of the Code and Protocol;

Decides to invite the Government of Luxembourg to indicate in its next report the extent to which the above legislation continues to give effect to Article 18 of the Code, as amended by the Protocol, under which the benefit may be limited to 52 weeks in each case of sickness or to 78 weeks in any consecutive period of three years.

Draft Resolution ResCSS(2006)…
on the application of the European Code of Social Security and its Protocol
by the Netherlands
(Period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on …………. 2006
at the …… meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In the exercise of the functions conferred upon it by Article 75 of the European Code of Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), as modified by the provisions of its Protocol (hereinafter referred to as the “Protocol”), and with a view to supervising the application of these two instruments by the Contracting Parties;

Whereas the Code and the Protocol, signed on 16 April 1964, entered into force on 17 March 1968 and since that date have been binding on the Netherlands, which ratified them on 16 March 1967;

Whereas, when ratifying the Code and the Protocol, the Government of the Netherlands stated that it accepted, in addition to the parts which must be applied by every Contracting Party (Parts I, XI, XII, XIII and XIV), the following parts of the Code, as modified by the Protocol:

– Part II on “medical care”,
– Part III on “sickness benefit”,
– Part IV on “unemployment benefit”,
– Part V on “old-age benefit”,
– Part VI on “employment injury benefit”,
– Part VII on “family benefit”,
– Part VIII on “maternity benefit”,
– Part IX on “invalidity benefit”,
– Part X on “survivors’ benefit”;

Whereas, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of Article 74 of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, the Government of the Netherlands submitted its 38th annual report on the application of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005;

Whereas, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 74, that report was examined by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, at its 76th meeting in November-December 2005,

Notes:

I. concerning Part III (Sickness benefit) of the Code in relation to Articles 70 and 71 (Private insurance in sickness and disability schemes), that for a number of years the Committee of Ministers has been questioning the reforms making the employers liable for the payment of the sickness and disability benefits under certain conditions, in view of the breach opened in the collective nature of social security funding, the abandonment of the participatory management of social security schemes and the risk of discrimination of workers with a history of medical problems. In reply to these concerns, the government has provided an in-depth explanation of its strategy and reform policies, highlighting the principles upon which the new design of the sickness and disability schemes is based and the problems in their practical implementation. According to the government, the final element of the reforms of the past few years will be put in place by the revision of the current Disability Benefits Act (WAO) by the new Work and Income (Capacity for Work) Act (WIA), which will enter into force from 1 January 2006. The Committee of Ministers will reassess the compatibility of the Dutch sickness and disability schemes, including privatisation trends, with the corresponding provision of the Code, once it has full knowledge of the new legislation;

II. concerning Part IV (Unemployment benefit) in conjunction with Article 68.f that this article of the Code authorises suspension of benefit only where the contingency has been caused by the wilful misconduct of the person concerned;

III. concerning Part VI (Employment injury benefit), that there is close technical co-operation between the Dutch Government and the ILO in the area of the ongoing reform of the disability benefit scheme giving effect to Part VI of the Code. According to the report, pending this reform, the government has suspended the decision about the ratification of the revised Code, which allows states whose insurance systems have abandoned the concept of employment injury to meet the required standards of protection through compensatory benefits provided under other branches of social security. The Committee of Ministers will reassess the application of this part of the Code, as amended by the Protocol, once it has full knowledge of the new legislation adopted in the reform process;

The Committee of Ministers observes that for a number of years the reports of the government did not state, as required in Question IV of the report form on the Code, whether courts of law or other courts have given decisions involving questions of principle relating to the application of the accepted parts of the Code;

Finds that the law and practice in the Netherlands continue to give full effect to Parts II, IV, V, VII, VIII, IX and X of the Code, and that they also ensure the application of Parts III and VI, subject to the points mentioned below;

Decides to invite the Government of the Netherlands:

I. concerning Part IV (Unemployment benefit) in conjunction with Article 68.f and further to its previous comments, to provide detailed explanations and the text of the internal rules followed by the deciding officers in applying sanctions to claimants of unemployment benefit who are deemed to be “culpably unemployed” or “predominantly to blame for her or his unemployment”, as well as statistics on the number of cases in which such sanctions were applied and appealed by the claimants;

II. with regards to the requirement in Question IV of the report form on the Code, taking into account that the 2006 report shall be a detailed one, to review under each part of the Code, as amended by the Protocol, the recent jurisprudence of the relevant national courts, including the Central Court of Appeal in Utrecht (Centrale Raad van Beroep), which is the highest court in the Netherlands for social security matters.

Draft Resolution ResCSS(2006)…
on the application of the European Code of Social Security and its Protocol
by Norway
(Period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on ………. 2006
at the ….. meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In the exercise of the functions conferred upon it by Article 75 of the European Code of Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), as modified by the provisions of its Protocol (hereinafter referred to as the “Protocol”), and with a view to supervising the application of these two instruments by the Contracting Parties;

Whereas the Code and the Protocol, signed on 16 April 1964, entered into force on 17 March 1968 and since 17 March 1968 have been binding on Norway, which ratified them on 26 March 1966;

Whereas, when ratifying the Code and the Protocol, the Government of Norway stated that it accepted, in addition to the parts which must be applied by every Contracting Party (Parts I, XI, XII, XIII and XIV), the following parts:

– Part II of the Code on “medical care”,
– Part III of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, on “sickness benefit”,
– Part IV of the Code on “unemployment benefit”,
– Part V of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, on “old-age benefit”,
– Part VI of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, on “employment injury benefit”,
– Part VII of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, on “family benefit”,
– Part IX of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, on “invalidity benefit”,
– Part X of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, on “survivors’ benefit”;

Whereas, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of Article 74 of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, the Government of Norway submitted its 38th annual report on the application of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005;

Whereas, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 74, that report was examined by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, at its 76th meeting in November-December 2005,

Notes:

I. concerning Part IV (Unemployment benefit) of the Code, Article 20 of the Code (in conjunction with Article 68.h), that in its previous conclusions, which it has been making since 1998, the Committee of Ministers observed that the presence in the Norwegian social security legislation (sections 4-5 and 4-20 of the new National Insurance Act of 28 February 1997) of the elements of coercion to work under the menace of the withdrawal of unemployment benefit in the case of refusal to accept work unsuitable to the person’s acquired professional and social status, or to participate in an unsuitable labour market programme, or else to earn income from self-employment, rather than from suitable employment, is incompatible with the aims and principles of the Code as regards unemployment benefit. Among the restrictive features of this legislation, the Committee of Ministers has specifically pointed out that the possibility of compelling unemployed persons to accept jobs offering less income than the unemployment benefit to which they would otherwise be entitled as of right, or to accept self-employment, which would deprive them of further social security coverage against unemployment, if abused by the employment service, could completely undermine the nature and purpose of unemployment benefit as foreseen by the Code. With a view to amending this legislation, the Committee of Ministers suggested that an appropriate solution might be sought through direct contacts between the competent Norwegian services and experts from the Council of Europe and the ILO.

The Committee of Ministers notes that such an informal meeting between the representatives of the Norwegian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and experts from the Council of Europe and the ILO took place in April 2005 in Strasbourg. Following that meeting, in a letter dated 20 December 2005, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of Norway informed the Council of Europe that the legal provisions compelling unemployed persons to accept jobs offering less income than the unemployment benefit or to generate income from self-employment, had been abrogated. As regards other elements of coercion to work under the menace of withdrawal of unemployment benefit in the case of refusal to accept work unsuitable to the person’s acquired professional and social status, or to participate in an unsuitable labour market programme, the Committee of Ministers recalls that it had decided to invite the Government of Norway to avail itself of the assistance that the Council of Europe and the ILO can provide in this connection;

II. concerning the governance and administration of social security, that on 1 October 2004, the new Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs was established, merging the tasks of the previous Ministry of Social Affairs and those relating to employment and work of the previous Ministry of Labour and Government Administration. The new single ministry assumed the overall responsibility for the governance of income security, employment services and welfare services and strengthened the process towards a more integrated organisation and management process. The administration of income security and employment services in Norway is presently split between three agencies. This organisational model is criticised for being fragmented and inaccessible for the public, as well as ineffective and inefficient as regards the co-ordination between different services, which have to cut across administrative borders. In a green paper presented to the Storting (Norwegian Parliament) on 11 March 2005, the government proposed two major organisational changes:

a. the creation of a new unified state employment and welfare agency, offering the same range of services as the National Insurance Service and the Labour Market Administration provide today, while keeping social assistance services under municipal responsibility;

b. the establishment by this new governmental agency, together with the municipalities, of employment and welfare offices, as a joint front-line service, in each Norwegian municipality, by the year 2010. These proposals were approved by the Storting, which has since passed a law establishing an interim organisation, and the government is currently preparing proposals for the legislative changes required by the organisational reform. The Committee of Ministers notes the move towards integrated management of the social sector in Norway, including the institutions and services comprising the national system of social security;

III. concerning the reforms of social security, that on 26 May 2005 the Storting adopted the framework of the new pension scheme, which comprises a set of principles for the future scheme, and that the government will now conduct further studies and prepare a concrete proposal on the design of the new pension scheme. Taking into account the central place of a pension scheme in any social security system, the Committee of Ministers hopes that, in preparing this proposal, the government will continue to take guidance from the basic principles of organisation and management of the social security system set forth in Part XII of the Code;

Finds that the law and practice in Norway continue to give full effect to Part II of the Code and Parts III, V, VI, VII, IX and X of the Code, as amended by the Protocol, and that they also ensure the application of Part IV of the Code, subject to measures being taken on the following point;

Decides to invite the Government of Norway:

I. concerning Part IV (Unemployment benefit) of the Code, Article 20 of the Code (in conjunction with Article 68.h), to indicate in its next report the concrete measures taken to abolish the provisions in question;

II. concerning the governance and administration of social security, to explain in detail the new organisational model and the effect it is expected to have on the functioning of the branches of social security accepted under the Code and to keep the Committee of Ministers informed of the progress made in this respect;

III. concerning the reforms of social security, to continue to send information on the reform proposals that are under discussion.

Draft Resolution ResCSS(2006)……
on the application of the European Code of Social Security and its Protocol
by Portugal
(Period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on ………… 2006
at the ……. meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In the exercise of the functions conferred upon it by Article 75 of the European Code of Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), as modified by the provisions of its Protocol (hereinafter referred to as the “Protocol”), and with a view to supervising the application of these two instruments by the Contracting Parties;

Whereas the Code and the Protocol, signed on 16 April 1964, entered into force on 17 March 1968 and since 16 May 1985 have been binding on Portugal, which ratified them on 15 May 1984;

Whereas, when ratifying the Code and the Protocol, the Government of Portugal stated that it accepted, in addition to the parts which must be applied by every Contracting Party (Parts I, XI, XII, XIII and XIV), the following parts:

– Part II of the Code, on “medical care”,
– Part III of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, on “sickness benefit”,
– Part IV of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, on “unemployment benefit”,
– Part V of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, on “old-age benefit”,
– Part VII of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, on “family benefit”,
– Part VIII of the Code, on “maternity benefit”,
– Part IX of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, on “invalidity benefit”,
– Part X of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, on “survivors’ benefit ”;

Whereas, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of Article 74 of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, the Government of Portugal submitted its 20th annual report on the application of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005;

Whereas, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 74, that report was examined by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, at its 76th meeting in November-December 2005,

Notes:

I. concerning Part IV (Unemployment benefit), Article 23 of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, the government states that pursuant to a resolution of the Council of Ministers, No. 110 of 30 June 2005, a revision of the unemployment benefit regime was under way and was scheduled for completion at the end of 2005. The Committee of Ministers trusts that as part of the revision, the excessive qualifying period for entitlement to unemployment allowance will be reduced so that it is consistent with Article 23 of the Code;

II. concerning the major social security reforms.In its previous comments, the Committee of Ministers referred to the regulation of the various subsystems and schemes of the public social security system that were phased in following the entry into force of Framework Act No. 32/2002 of 23 December, establishing a new structure for the social security system. The Committee of Ministers notes that the social security reform must henceforth be part of the new framework for the governance of the social sector as a whole. Legislative Decree No. 74 of 15 April 2005 on the organisational structure of the government sets up a new Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity, which is responsible not only for labour, employment and training matters, but also social security and social action, formerly the domain of the Ministry of Social Security, the Family and Children;

1. concerning Part II (Medical care) of the Code that new measures have been introduced to secure an improvement in the management of medical care and better governance of the health system, which is still in the process of reform. Order No. 418 of 14 April 2005 sets forth the organisation and operation of the departments of the Health Regulatory Body (ERS) and the internal rules of each department. Order No. 1108 of 7 September 2004 approves the hospital classification list (central level, district level and level I) for the purpose of determining the value of the health benefits provided by the various institutions of the National Health Service. Council of Ministers Resolution No. 84 of 27 April 2005 approves the principles underlying policy and reorganisation as regards health care for the elderly and for dependent persons, and sets up a committee to be in charge of the work involved. A working party has been established to study primary health-care reform. As to the financial management of the branch, Council of Ministers Resolution No. 102 of 24 June 2005 provides for the adoption of measures to ensure the financial viability of the National Health Service, particularly as regards state participation in the cost of drugs. As for sharing by patients in the cost of health care, Legislative Decree No. 173 of 1 August 2003 approves the legal framework for beneficiaries’ own contributions applying to health-care access within the National Health Service and defines the persons who are exempt from them. Order No. 985 of 13 September 2004, amended by Order No. 103 of 23 January 2004, approves the scale of own contributions. Order No. 310 of 23 March 2005 establishes the requirement for the various bodies reporting to the ERS to pay contributions and own contributions.

The Committee of Ministers observes that the reforms undertaken by the government are extensive. It reminds the government that, whatever the circumstances, governments must assume general responsibility for the sound administration of health institutions (Article 71.2 of the Code) and for the provision of the medical benefits provided in compliance with the Code, and must take all measures required for this purpose (Article 70.3 of the Code). To ensure the financial sustainability of the branch, they must ensure in particular that actuarial studies and calculations are made periodically and, in any event, prior to any change in benefits, in the rate of insurance contributions or in the taxes allocated to covering the contingencies in question, or the volume of the benefits themselves. Furthermore, in accordance with Article 70.1 of the Code, any emergency or long-term measures must be implemented in a manner which avoids hardship to persons of small means and takes into account the economic situation of the classes of persons protected. As to the volume of the medical benefits provided, in seeking to optimise the financial and medical management of the branch, the government must ensure that the benefits are not limited to curative medical care but aim also to maintain and improve the health of the protected persons (Articles 7 and 10.3 of the Code), as far as possible by using the available general health services (Article 10.4). The Committee of Ministers draws attention in this connection to Recommendation No. 1626 (2003) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the reform of health-care systems in Europe, which states that “the main criterion for judging the success of health systems reforms should be effective access to health care for all without discrimination, which is a basic human right. This also has the consequence of improving the general standard of health and welfare of the entire population.”;

2. concerning Part III (Sickness benefit), that the new government’s programme provides for a review of the statutory sickness insurance protection scheme, regulated by Legislative Decree No. 28 of 4 February 2004;

3. concerning Part V (Old-age benefit), that the Council of Ministers Resolution No. 102 of 24 June 2005 suspends the lowering of the age of eligibility for a pension, allowed by Legislative Decree No. 9 of 8 January 1999 on the flexible retirement age scheme, pending a review of the scheme;

4. concerning Part VII (Family benefit),with regard to the new statutory family benefit scheme introduced by Legislative Decree No. 176 of 2 August 2003, that detailed statistics have been supplied by the government in response to its previous comments. The statistics show that in 2004, the average monthly family allowance for dependent children and young persons under 16 years of age amounted to €37 469 260.24 and represented 5.3% of the monthly wage of an unskilled labourer in the textile industry (€397.50) multiplied by the total number of children of all residents (1 765 413). It further notes from the report that there were 1 468 357 children under the age of 16 for whom family benefit was paid, while the total number of beneficiaries per step of the income scale amounted to only 1 197 129 and the number of active persons affiliated to the social security scheme and receiving family benefit amounted to 1 182 672;

5. concerning Part VIII (Maternity benefit),with regard to the review of the statutory maternity, paternity and adoption benefits scheme, that Act No. 35 of 29 July 2004 regulates the Labour Code (Act No. 99 of 2 August 2003) and introduces the possibility of extending maternity and paternity leave from 120 to 150 days, and the adoption allowance from 100 to 130 days. As compared to the scheme advocated in the current labour legislation, Legislative Decree No. 77 of 13 April 2005, defines social protection for maternity, paternity and adoption within the framework of the provident subsystem. With the new rules on payment of maternity and paternity benefit, where the beneficiary opts for an unbroken period of 150 days of leave, the daily amount of the maternity and paternity benefit is equal to 80% of the reference wage (100% where the period of leave is 120 days);

Finds that the law and practice in Portugal give full effect to all the parts of the Code and the Protocol which have been accepted, subject to the point relating to Part IV;

Decides to invite the Government of Portugal:

I. concerning the major social reforms, in view of the extensive structural and organisational changes, to provide in the next report detailed organisational charts showing the new administrative structure and functions of all the social security subsystems, schemes, services and institutions that give effect to each part of the Code ratified by Portugal. So that it may assess the impact the reforms undertaken by the government are having on the application of the various parts of the Code, to provide further information on the points mentioned;

1. concerning Part II (Medical care) of the Code, to provide the texts of the legislation mentioned with a detailed account of how the measures taken have affected the application of each article of Part II of the Code, and to inform it of the measures taken or envisaged to ensure that the system is sustainable in the long term;

2. concerning Part III (Sickness benefit), to explain the reasons for the new review of the branch, and its objectives, and to evaluate the potential effect of measures already taken or envisaged on the application of Part III of the Code, particularly on the proper administration of sickness insurance institutions and services, in accordance with Article 71.2 of the Code;

3. concerning Part V (Old-age benefit), to inform it of the measures taken in regard to the flexible retirement age scheme;

4. concerning Part VI (Family benefit):

a. to explain how the average monthly amount of family benefit is calculated and to provide the monthly statistics of the amounts paid in family benefit for dependent children and young persons, for each step of the income scale, indicating the number of beneficiaries;

b. to explain how these figures tally, specifying the number of employees or active persons in each of the income categories for which family benefit is payable in relation to the total number of employees or residents in accordance with Article 41 of the Code.

Draft Resolution ResCSS(2006)…
on the application of the European Code of Social Security
by Spain
(Period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on ……… 2006
at the …..meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In the exercise of the functions conferred upon it by Article 75 of the European Code of Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), and with a view to supervising the application of this instrument by the Contracting Parties;

Whereas the Code, signed on 16 April 1964, entered into force on 17 March 1968 and since 9 March 1995 has been binding on Spain, which ratified it on 8 March 1994;

Whereas, when ratifying the Code, the Spanish Government stated that it accepted, in addition to the parts which must be applied by every Contracting Party (Parts I, XI, XII, XIII and XIV), the following parts of the Code:

– Part II on “medical care”,
– Part III on “sickness benefit”,
– Part IV on “unemployment benefit”,
– Part V on “old-age benefit”,
– Part VI on “employment injury benefit”,
– Part VIII on “maternity benefit”,
– Part IX on “invalidity benefit”;

Whereas, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of Article 74 of the Code, the Government of Spain submitted its 10th annual report on the application of the Code, for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005;

Whereas, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 74, that report was examined by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, at its 76th meeting in November-December 2005,

Notes:

I. concerning Part IV (Unemployment benefit) of the Code, the Committee of Ministers recalls that Act No. 45/2002, of 12 December 2002, and Royal Legislative Decree No. 5/2002, of 24 May 2002, on urgent measures to reform the system of unemployment coverage and improved employability have introduced new conditions for entitlement to unemployment benefit and sanctions for violations of the rules respecting the seeking of work. In its previous conclusions the Committee of Ministers had asked the government to furnish information on the practical application of the new requirements placed upon jobseekers, including statistics of the number of cases in which the benefit is suspended or reduced under the new provisions, as well as the number of appeals filed in such cases.

The Committee of Ministers notes with interest the detailed information provided by the government in this regard. According to the statistics supplied by the government, in 2004 the number of cases of cancellation of benefit totalled 162 598 and the number of cases of reduction of benefit 90 522, whereas the number of judgements on appeals pronounced by the social courts and the high courts of justice amounted only to 408 cases, of which 237 decisions confirmed the sanctions applied by the National Employment Service, while 171 decisions rejected them in favour of the unemployed.

The Committee of Ministers also observes that in 42% of cases the courts have reversed the decision of the sanctioning body and re-established the unemployed person’s rights to benefit;

II. concerning Part VI (Employment injury benefit), Article 36 and with reference to its previous conclusions to which the government’s report does not reply, the Committee of Ministers recalls that the concept of permanent incapacity is set out in section 137 of the General Social Security Act (LGSS). Section 137, subsection 3, provides that permanent partial incapacity arises when there is a decrease of at least 33% in the worker’s normal capacity for work in his or her usual occupation, without preventing the worker from discharging fundamental activities. In such a case, workers are entitled to a benefit in cash consisting of a lump sum which is fully compatible with their maintenance in the job that they were discharging, in view of the fact that they retain sufficient capacity to perform the fundamental activities of the occupation that they carried on. The government adds in its report that the employer is obliged to maintain the worker in his or her job even though his or her performance is below the standard. In view of the fact that a worker with partial incapacity for a job is maintained in the job and conserves the full capacity to work in another occupation, the government considers its legislation to be in line with Article 36.3.a of the Code, which permits the conversion of a pension into a lump sum where the degree of incapacity is slight.

The Committee of Ministers understands from the definition of permanent partial incapacity that it is expressed as a minimum incapacity of 33%. This raises questions as to the point at which the percentage may extend beyond this minimum and still remain partial incapacity. It recalls that section 8 of Act No. 24/1997 of 15 July 1997 replaced the definitions of the various categories of invalidity by specifying that qualification for the various degrees of permanent incapacity shall be determined by regulations on the basis of the percentage of the reduction of capacity for work;

III. concerning the calculation of benefits, the report states that, for 2005, the maximum amount of contributory pensions cannot exceed €2 159.12 per month plus two extra payments or €30 227.68 per year. The amount of social security non-contributory retirement and disability pension is fixed at an annual rate of €4 043.06. In the annex to the report, however, the minimum amount of the social security pension for old age and invalidity (annual gross amount) is given at €6 788.46. Referring to the provisions of Article 211.3 of the rewritten version of the General Act on Social Security, the report states that the minimum and maximum amounts of the contributory unemployment benefit paid to a standard beneficiary would amount respectively to €574.86 and €1 208.81. TAS Order No. 77/2005 of 18 January fixing the contributions to the Social Security, Unemployment, Salary Guarantee Fund and Training fixed the maximum and minimum monthly earnings on which to pay contributions to the Social Security General Scheme at €2 813.40 and €598.50, respectively.

The Committee of Ministers understands from this information that in the Spanish social security system the maximum and minimum limits are prescribed for the rate of the benefits as well as for the earnings taken into account for the calculation of benefits. It wishes to point out in this respect that, in accordance with Article 65, paragraph 3, of the Code, where such maximum limits for the benefits or earnings are set by the national legislation, they should be fixed in such a way as to permit the benefit of the standard beneficiary to attain the level prescribed in paragraph 1 of this article. On the contrary, where minimum benefits are guaranteed by the system, they should not be lower than the level prescribed by Article 66 of the Code for the standard beneficiary. It notes in this respect that, in comparing in the report the minimum amounts of contributory and non-contributory pensions with the minimum replacement levels fixed by the Code, the government uses the reference wage of a skilled manual male employee under Article 65 of the Code, instead of the reference wage of an ordinary adult male labourer determined under Article 66 of the Code;

IV. concerning the governance and organisation of social security.Following Royal Decrees Nos. 553/2004 of 17 April 2004 and 562/2004 of 19 April 2004, Royal Decree No. 1600/2004 of 2 July 2004 elaborated the structure of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs down to the level of the general subdirectorates, including those reporting to the Secretary of State for Social Security. The competence and functions are established also for the autonomous bodies, management institutions and common services of social security. Royal Decree No. 1865/2004 of 6 September 2004 regulated the structure and functioning of the National Council on Disability, a consultative body which allows people with disabilities to participate in disability policies and promotes equal opportunities and non-discrimination measures through its specialised permanent office. Royal Decree No. 117/2005 of 4 February 2004 regulated the Old Aged National Council which is an inter-ministerial body advising the State General Administration on policies aimed at participation

of elderly people in care, social insertion and quality of life. TAS Order No. 3988/2004 of 25 November 2004 created the Committee for Investigation and Promotion of Social Protection as a body attached to the State Secretariat for Social Security with the task to promote the study, investigation and dissemination of information in the field of social protection. The Committee of Ministers notes the profound changes in the organisation and governance of the social sector in Spain;

Finds that the law and practice in Spain give full effect to the parts of the Code which have been accepted, subject to the receipt of additional information on one point concerning Part VI;

Decides to invite the Government of Spain:

I. concerning Part IV (Unemployment benefit) of the Code,

a. to explain what appears to be a very small number of cases brought before the courts in comparison with the large number of sanctions imposed on the unemployed for small and grave violations of the new rules;

b. to explain in detail in its next report the legal provisions and internal guidelines applied by the administration in taking a decision on a person’s entitlement to unemployment benefit and to supply a copy of the activity compromise (Compromiso de actividad) to which all claimants are obliged to subscribe;

II. concerning Part VI (Employment injury benefit), Article 36, to indicate in its next report the degrees of partial incapacity prescribed by the new regulations and the provisions obliging employers to maintain an incapacitated employee in his or her previous job or another job where the degree of the employee’s incapacity for work in his or her usual occupation is not slight;

III. concerning the calculation of benefits, to use in its next report the methodology of Article 65 of the Code when assessing the level of the benefits in the schemes prescribing maximum limits for the rate of the benefit or the earnings taken into account for its calculation, and the methodology of Article 66 in assessing the level of the minimum amounts of different types of pensions and benefits guaranteed by the legislation, and to specify also the categories and the number of persons protected who actually receive such minimum pensions in Spain;

IV. concerning the governance and organisation of the country’s social security:

a. to explain in its next report the new structure of responsibilities inside the government in the areas of social protection and social security, taking into account the basic principles of administration and management of social security set forth in Articles 70 and 71 of the Code;

b. to continue to provide detailed information on the impact of the changes made on the application of the corresponding parts of the Code and supply consolidated versions of the reformed legislation as soon as they are published.

Draft Resolution ResCSS(2006)…
on the application of the European Code of Social Security and its Protocol
by Sweden
(Period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers ……… 2006
at the ….. meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In the exercise of the functions conferred upon it by Article 75 of the European Code of Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), as modified by the provisions of its Protocol (hereinafter referred to as the “Protocol”), and with a view to supervising the application of these two instruments by the Contracting Parties;

Whereas the Code and the Protocol, signed on 16 April 1964, entered into force on 17 March 1968 and since that date have been binding on Sweden, which ratified them on 25 September 1965;

Whereas, when ratifying the Code and the Protocol, the Government of Sweden stated that it accepted, in addition to the parts which must be applied by every Contracting Party (Parts I, XI, XII, XIII and XIV), the following parts:

– Part II of the Code, on “medical care”,
– Part III of the Code as modified by the Protocol, on “sickness benefit”,
– Part IV of the Code as modified by the Protocol, on “unemployment benefit”,
– Part V of the Code as modified by the Protocol, on “old-age benefit”,
– Part VII of the Code as modified by the Protocol, on “family benefit”,
– Part VIII of the Code, on “maternity benefit”,
– Part IX of the Code as modified by the Protocol, on “invalidity benefit”,
– Part X of the Code as modified by the Protocol, on “survivors’ benefit”;

Whereas, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of Article 74 of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, the Government of Sweden submitted its 38th annual report on the application of the Code, as modified by the Protocol, for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005;

Whereas, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 74, that report was examined by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, at its 76th meeting in November-December 2005,

Notes the information provided by the government in reply to its previous conclusions:

I. concerning Part III (Sickness benefit) of the Code, as amended by the Protocol, thataccording to the report, the level of the sickness benefit was raised from 77.6% to 80% of the income qualifying for sickness benefit. The time for which the employer pays out sick pay was decreased from 21 days to 14 days. At the same time the employer was required to bear part of the costs for sick leave of his or her employees through a special sickness insurance contribution for those employees, who, after the period for which the employer pays out sickness allowance, receive sickness compensation from the Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan). This new special sickness contribution amounts to 15% of the total sick pay paid out to employees by an employer during one calendar month. The aim of introducing this contribution is to make it more profitable for the employer to take precautions to decrease long sick leaves by preventive measures, rehabilitation, or part-time working arrangements helping those on sick leave to re-enter full-time work. Employers have the possibility to take out insurance for sick-pay costs and are offered protection against high costs resulting from the special sickness contribution, which are subjected to a ceiling. In addition, the general sickness insurance contribution is lowered by 0.24% for all employers;

II. concerning Part IX (Invalidity benefit) of the Code, as amended by the Protocol, that the government indicates that, as a result of the reform, the disability pension was separated from the old-age pension system and incorporated, as from January 2003, into the national health insurance system in the form of sickness compensation or activity compensation paid as an income-related benefit or as a guaranteed benefit. Both types of benefits are considered to be an invalidity pension according to EC Regulation 1408/71. To be entitled to income-related sickness or activity compensation, the insured person must have a minimum of one year with pensionable income within the framework period. It is paid at 64% of the person’s assumed future income up to a certain ceiling;

III. concerning the governance and organisation of social security, with reference to its previous conclusions concerning the ongoing reform process in the field of social security, the Committee of Ministers notes that on 1 January 2005 a new integrated government agency – the Social Insurance Agency – with responsibility for the Swedish social insurance system replaced the 21 regional social insurance offices and the National Social Insurance Board;

Finds that the law and practice in Sweden continue to give full effect to the parts of the Code and the Protocol which have been accepted;

Decides to invite the Government of Sweden:

I. concerning Part III (Sickness benefit) of the Code, as amended by the Protocol, to explain in its next report how it plans to monitor the operation of the new scheme in terms not only of achieving its objectives in diminishing long-term absence from work due to sickness, but also in terms of precluding possible discrimination by the employers of workers with a medical history;

II. concerning Part IX (Invalidity benefit) of the Code, as amended by the Protocol, taking into account that, as with the former disability pension, payments of compensation will continue to be provided in the form of one-quarter, one-half, three-quarters or full compensation, depending on the degree of incapacity, to calculate the replacement level ensured by the income-related compensations for a standard beneficiary receiving the referenced wage, whose incapacity does not exceed two thirds;

III. concerning the governance and organisation of social security, to explain the structure and responsibility of the new agency (the Social Insurance Agency) in the management of the social security branches covered by the Code.

Draft Resolution ResCSS(2006)…
on the application of the European Code of Social Security
by Switzerland
(Period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on ………… 2006
at the …. meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In the exercise of the functions conferred upon it by Article 75 of the European Code of Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), and with a view to supervising the application of this instrument by the Contracting Parties;

Whereas the Code, signed on 16 April 1964, entered into force on 17 March 1968 and since 17 September 1978 has been binding on Switzerland, which ratified it on 16 September 1977;

Whereas, when ratifying the Code, the Government of Switzerland stated that it accepted, in addition to the parts which must be applied by every Contracting Party (Parts I, XI, XII, XIII and XIV), the following parts of the Code:

– Part V on “old-age benefit”,
– Part VI on “employment injury benefit”,
– Part VII on “family benefit”,
– Part IX on “invalidity benefit”,
– Part X on “survivors’ benefit”;

Whereas, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of Article 74 of the Code, the Government of Switzerland submitted its 27th annual report on the application of the Code, for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005;

Whereas, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 74, that report was examined by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, at its 76th meeting in November-December 2005 ,

Finds that the law and practice in Switzerland continue to give full effect to the parts of the Code which have been accepted.

Draft Resolution ResCSS(2006)…
on the application of the European Code of Social Security
by Turkey
(Period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on ………….. 2006
at the …… meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In the exercise of the functions conferred upon it by Article 75 of the European Code of Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), and with a view to supervising the application of this instrument by the Contracting Parties;

Whereas the Code, signed on 16 April 1964, entered into force on 17 March 1968 and since 8 March 1981 has been binding on Turkey, which ratified it on 7 March 1980;

Whereas, when ratifying the Code, the Government of Turkey stated that it accepted, in addition to the parts which must be applied by every Contracting Party (Parts I, XI, XII, XIII and XIV), the following parts of the Code:

– Part II on “medical care”,
– Part III on “sickness benefit”,
– Part V on “old-age benefit”,
– Part VI on “employment injury benefit”,
– Part VIII on “maternity benefit”,
– Part IX on “invalidity benefit”,
– Part X on “survivor’s benefit”;

Whereas, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of Article 74 of the Code, the Government of Turkey submitted its 24th annual report on the application of the Code, for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005;

Whereas, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 74, that report was examined by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, at its 76th meeting in November-December 2005,

Notes:

I. concerning the reform of the social security system:

a. that a draft law on social insurance and general health insurance is on the agenda of the Turkish Grand National Assembly with a view to determine the basic principles and parameters of coverage and protection provided by different branches of the insurance system. With regard to the restructuring of the social security establishment, a draft law on Social Security Institution (SSI) is being elaborated. By Act No. 5283 of 19 January 2005, all health facilities owned and administered by the Social Security Institution were passed to the Ministry of Health together with all administrative functions, rights and obligations. Consequently, the Institution has started to provide its medical services by way of buying these services from public or private medical establishments. Work was completed with the establishment of a cash-flow and funds management system allowing the processing of cash collections in the provinces under one roof. As of August 2005, it became obligatory for the employers employing at least three insured persons in their workplaces to send their monthly contribution and service statements to the SSI by electronic means over the Internet. Work has started to prepare a new analytical budget in order to transform the current dispersed accounting system into a centrally managed structure;

b. the Committee of Ministers observes, from this and other information given in the report, that the process of reforming the Turkish social security system continues to gain momentum accelerated by the introduction of new forms of organisation and management based on modern information and communication technologies, which in time would completely change the face of the Turkish social security system. Although the modernisation of this system was long overdue, the speed with which these changes have been taking place in recent years remains particularly impressive. In such periods of rapid and profound reforms, it is important to ensure that the pace and magnitude of change does not exceed the capacity of the insured population to adapt to them. Special concern should be paid to the situation of those categories of persons protected who, by being illiterate, poor or living in remote areas, may experience particular difficulties in abiding by the new rules of conduct and communication procedures. The government’s general responsibility for the proper administration of the social security institutions and services under Article 71.2 of the Code implies not only that equal access to protection should be guaranteed to all, but that the services themselves should be people-centred, client-oriented and easily attainable. By associating the representatives of the persons protected and the representatives of the employers with the management of these institutions and services, Article 71.1 of the Code establishes an extra guarantee against possible administrative and technological barriers preventing easy access to benefits. Being the cornerstone of good governance of social security institutions, these principles gain in importance when the institutions concerned undergo radical reorganisation and restructuring;

II. as regards Part IV of the Code (Unemployment benefit), which has not yet been accepted by Turkey, the Committee of Ministers notes the detailed information and statistics provided in the report on the functioning of the compulsory unemployment insurance scheme established by the Unemployment Insurance Act No. 4447 of 1999. It also notes that, in response to the proposed technical co-operation in the application of the Code, the government has had recourse to the technical expertise of the Council of Europe and the International Labour Organization in assessing the compatibility of the new Turkish unemployment benefit scheme with the Code and Convention No. 102 for the purpose of accepting the obligations of Part IV under these instruments and that a meeting of experts to that end took place in Ankara in September 2005;

Finds that law and practice in Turkey continue to give full effect to all parts of the Code which have been accepted;

Decides to invite the Government of Turkey:

I. concerning the reform of the social security system, to highlight the application of the new principles in the reform process of the Turkish social security system;

II. concerning Part IV of the Code (Unemployment benefit), and taking into account that within the framework of the general reform of social security the unemployment insurance scheme is also going to be revised in the near future, to continue to avail itself of the technical assistance of the Council of Europe and the ILO particularly as regards the legal expertise of the draft legislation revising the unemployment insurance.

Draft Resolution ResCSS(2006)…
on the application of the European Code of Social Security
by the United Kingdom
(Period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005)

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on …………….. 2006
at the ….. meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers,

In the exercise of the functions conferred upon it by Article 75 of the European Code of Social Security (hereinafter referred to as the “Code”), and with a view to supervising the application of this instrument by the Contracting Parties;

Whereas the Code, signed on 16 April 1964, entered into force on 17 March 1968 and since 13 January 1969 has been binding on the United Kingdom, which ratified it on 12 January 1968;

Whereas, when ratifying the Code, the Government of the United Kingdom stated that it accepted, in addition to the parts which must be applied by every Contracting Party (Parts I, XI, XII, XIII and XIV), the following parts of the Code:

– Part II on “medical care”,
– Part III on “sickness benefit”,
– Part IV on “unemployment benefit”,
– Part V on “old-age benefit”;

Whereas the Government of the United Kingdom has subsequently, on 19 July 1982, accepted Part VII on “family benefit”;

Whereas, in pursuance of paragraph 1 of Article 74 of the Code, the Government of the United Kingdom submitted its 37th annual report on the application of the Code, for the period from 1 July 2004 to 30 June 2005;

Whereas, in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article 74, that report was examined by the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, at its 76th meeting in November-December 2005,

Notes:

I. concerning Part II (Medical care), that a number of new measures are reported by the government aimed at improving the organisation and management of the National Health Service (NHS), as well as the general health services with a view to safeguarding and improving the health of the population, in accordance with Article 10, paragraphs 3 and 4, of the Code. These measures are set out in particular in the NHS Improvement Plan, published in June 2004 by the Department of Health (DH) and lead to radical change in the whole way the NHS works to ensure that everything fits around the individual needs of patients and public – rather than patients having to fit around the NHS. The NHS is also becoming a true health service, not only a service for the sick, injured and vulnerable, which works in partnership with other institutions locally and across government to help people live healthier lives. To address local needs, the first NHS foundation trusts were set up as local organisations. Two independent inspectorates have been established – the Healthcare Commission and the Commission for Social Care Inspection – which will review the whole range of services, drive up standards and enable patients to be assured of the quality of the care they receive. A new vision for adults of all age groups in England in the next 10 to 15 years was set out in the DH’s Green Paper Independence, well-being and choice (March 2005), which emphasised person-centred, proactive and seamless services. In July 2005, the DH announced an exercise to help shape the future of care outside hospitals and prepare the White Paper on health outside hospitals. The aim is to design family health and social care shifting the focus of services towards promoting good health as well as treating disease and managing long-term conditions like diabetes, heart disease and obesity. These changes are underpinned by a continuing commitment to the basic values of the NHS – the intention to provide services, equally, to

everyone regardless of their circumstances and their ability to pay. Finally, the Health Protection Agency Act 2004 established the Health Protection Agency as a UK-wide non-departmental public body (NDPB) on 1 April 2005. It now provides more integrated arrangements for health protection and will improve the ability to tackle the problems posed by infectious diseases and other hazards, including chemical, biological and nuclear terrorism;

Finds that law and practice in the United Kingdom continue to give full effect to the provisions of the parts of the Code which have been accepted, subject to receiving further information on the point below;

Decides to invite the Government of the United Kingdom:

I. with regards to Part II (Medical care), to explain in its next report how the efficiency of the measures regarding the National Health Service (NHS) is being monitored in terms of improvements they bring to service delivery and the state of health of the population and what criteria are used for this purpose;

II. concerning Part IV (Unemployment benefit) to include in its next report:

a. information requested under Articles 21 (persons protected) and 66 (rate of benefits) by the report form for the Code, including statistics on the level of the contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) for a standard beneficiary receiving the wage of an ordinary adult male labourer with the same family responsibilities;

b. information on the number and nature of steps that jobseekers are required to take to search for jobs on a daily or weekly basis.

Appendix 3 - Draft terms of reference of the Committee of Experts on social security (CS-SS)

1.

Name of Committee:

Committee of Experts on social security (CS-SS)

2.

Type of Committee:

Committee of Experts

3.

Source of terms of reference:

European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS)

4.

Terms of reference:

 

- European Code of Social Security and its Protocol;
- European Code of Social Security (revised);
- European Interim Agreement on Social Security Schemes relating to Old Age, Invalidity and Survivors and Protocol thereto;
- European Interim Agreement on Social Security other than Schemes for Old Age, Invalidity and Survivors, and Protocol thereto;
- European Convention on Social and Medical Assistance, and Protocol thereto;
- European Convention on Social Security via its Supplementary Agreement.

   
 

Within the framework of the Programme of Activities 2004/DG3/37, Promoting the principles of the European Code of Social Security, the Committee is instructed to:

i. examine the functioning and implementation of the above-mentioned instruments, with a view to adapting them and improving their practical application;

ii. supervise the application of the European Code of Social Security (Article 74) and examine the conclusions of the Group of Consultants on the non-ratified provisions of the Code (Article 76);

iii. analyse the conclusions of the control mechanism(s) of the European Code of Social Security so as to identify needs and priorities at national level, with a view to suggesting concrete solutions;

iv promote the ratification of the Social Security instruments mentioned above particularly assisting member states wishing to ratify these instruments in the examination of the legal, financial and administrative implications of ratification;

v. promote coordination of social security schemes;

vi. take stock of problems that states have in meeting specific provisions of these legal instruments by providing, notably, the necessary technical assistance with a view to suggesting possible measures for overcoming the above-mentioned problems;

vii. develop the knowledge of social security instruments through promotional activities, inter alia, organisation of colloquia, study visits, training courses etc;

viii. study the evolution of national social security legislation, observe pan-European trends and developments in the social security field and prepare, for the attention of the CDCS, information on current issues and best practices;

ix. deal with any other question relating to international social security at the request of the CDCS.

5.

Composition of the Committee:

5.A

Members

Governments of member states are entitled to appoint representatives in the field of social security and with the following qualifications: senior national officials in the fields covered by the present terms of reference.

The Council of Europe budget will bear the travel and subsistence expenses of one representative from each member state (two in the case of the state whose representative has been elected Chair).

5.B

Other participants

i.

The European Commission may send representatives to meetings of the Committee without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses.

ii.

The states with observer status with the Council of Europe (Canada, Holy See, Japan, Mexico, United States of America) may send representatives to meetings of the Committee without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses.

iii.

The following intergovernmental organisations may send representatives to meetings of the Committee without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses2:
International Labour Office (ILO)*
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
International Social Security Association (ISSA)

iv.

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) may send representatives to meetings of the Committee without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses.

5.C

Observers

 

The following non-member states may send representatives to meetings of the Committee without the right to vote or defrayal of expenses:
Australia
New Zealand

6.

Working methods and structures

 

The CS-SS adopts its conclusions on the application of the European Code of Social Security and its Protocol and transmits them directly to the Committee of Ministers, and to the CDCS for information.

The Committee will develop exchanges with various specialists or experts, particularly from other Council of Europe bodies or international organisations and from the academic world, on identified subjects connected with the areas of competence of the Committee.

7.

Duration

 

These terms of reference will expire on 31 December 2009.

Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue. Unless the Committee of Ministers decides otherwise, it will be declassified according to the rules set up in Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.
Note 2 Subject to special arrangements applicable to states or organisations marked by *.


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