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CM(2006)53 4 April 20061
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963 Meeting, 3 May 2006
4 Human Rights


Governmental Committee of the European Social Charter –

New system for the presentation of reports on the application of the European Social Charter

Proposal of the Governmental Committee

Item to be considered by the GR-H at its meeting on 27 April 2006

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1. During its meeting in October 2005, the Governmental Committee by unanimous decision reached agreement on a new system for the presentation of reports on the application of the European Social Charter. The Governmental Committee instructed the Secretariat to transmit this proposal to the Committee of Ministers with a view to its adoption after having received the opinion of the European Committee of Social Rights. The draft opinion was adopted during the 214th session (27 February – 3 March 2006). It is appended to this document.

2. The system foreseen is the following:

- States present a report annually on a part of the provisions of the Charter (whether it be the 1961 Charter or the 1996 revised Charter), the provisions having been divided into four thematic groups. In this way, each provision of the Charter will be reported on once every four years. The four groups of provisions are composed as follows:

Group 1 –
31 October 2007:
Employment, training and equal opportunities

- Article 1
- Article 9
- Article 10
- Article 15
- Article 18
- Article 20
- Article 24
- Article 25

Group 2 –
31 October 2008:
Health, social security and social protection

- Article 3
- Article 11
- Article 12
- Article 13
- Article 14
- Article 23
- Article 30

Group 3 –
31 October 2009:
Labour rights

- Article 2
- Article 4
- Article 5
- Article 6
- Article 21
- Article 22
- Article 26
- Article 28
- Article 29

Group 4 –
31 October 2010:
Children, families, migrants

- Article 7
- Article 8
- Article 16
- Article 17
- Article 19
- Article 27
- Article 31

- The reports shall be presented on 31 October in order to give States more time, in particular to obtain the statistical data necessary for the drawing up of the report. The European Committee of Social Rights would be invited to publish its conclusions before the end of the following year. This would allow the work to be adapted to the rhythm of the calendar year, which would constitute a simplification compared to the present system.

- The system would enter into force as from 2007. States would submit their last report under the present system by 31 March 2006.

- There would no longer be full reports for States having recently ratified the 1961 Charter and there would no longer be reports on all the non-hard core provisions for States having recently ratified the 1996 revised Charter.

3. In addition, the Governmental Committee decided that, should the new system be introduced, it would schedule its work so as to give States a one-year period before requesting information on the measures taken to bring situations into conformity following findings of non-conformity by the European Committee of Social Rights.

Appendix 1

Opinion of the European Committee of Social Rights on the new system for the presentation of reports

At its 214th meeting (Strasbourg, 27 February – 3 March 2006), the European Committee of Social Rights considered the proposal to modify the system for presenting national reports, on which the Governmental Committee of the European Social Charter had sought its opinion.

The Committee believes that the proposed approach, involving an annual report on a theme-based selection of provisions, will facilitate communication of the Committee's activities, which in turn will make it more visible and increase its impact at national level.

It notes that the proposed system departs from the text of the Charter, thus reducing the Committee's scope for exercising its responsibility for deciding whether countries are in compliance with the Charter (in its original 1961 or revised 1996 versions), since the Committee will receive reports less frequently than under the current system.

On the other hand, the proposed system will enable the Committee to achieve a better balance between consideration of collective complaints and its examination of national reports. Ideally, then, the new system's entry into force should be conditional on acceptance of the collective complaints procedure, including national non-governmental organisations' right to submit complaints, by a significant number of Council of Europe member states. In all events, the Committee invites all the states party to the Charter to accept the collective complaints procedure.

The Committee also takes this opportunity to repeat its commitment to continuing and improving its dialogue with states party on the Charter's implementation. The celebration of the revised Charter's tenth anniversary on 3 May 2006 will provide a suitable occasion for this.

Finally, the Committee believes that any change to the timetable for presenting national reports should be accompanied by a revision of the form, which is no longer suited to the purpose. It will shortly be making proposals on the subject.

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.


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