Press release - DC084(2011)

France, Council of Europe and European Union announce joint initiative to strengthen social rights

Strasbourg, 29.09.2011 – In order to maintain and strengthen the social rights of European citizens, the Council of Europe, the EU's European Economic and Social Committee and France's Economic, Social and Environmental Council have decided to jointly hold an annual conference with three main tasks :

    · take stock of application of social rights charters  throughout Europe,

    · work on developing synergies in practice, so as to enhance the effectiveness of the Charters of the Council of Europe and the European Union for  the benefit  of citizens,

    · raise awareness among media and the general public of the importance of applying social rights charters.

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland welcomed the initiative: "At a time when Europe is suffering a serious crisis, solidarity and social rights - which are part of Human Rights - take on a particular importance for ordinary people. This initiative will help us prevent an erosion of the social rights of European citizens", he said.

"It is essential that the social dimension of Europe should continue to guarantee and stabilise social democracy in a visible and credible manner.  If fundamental social rights exist only on paper and not in reality, questions can rightly be asked about our democratic model",  declared Staffan Nilsson, President of the European Economic and Social Committee.

"The change taking place in all our countries means that the European economic and social committees must work together to promote the idea that there can be no prosperity without solidarity and no competitiveness without social cohesion. The celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Social Charter has given us occasion to appreciate how application of the Charter can do a great deal to further these two goals", said Jean-Paul Delevoye, President of the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council.

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The three bodies agreed on the initiative at a joint conference on "The Council of Europe's Social Charter 50 years on: What next?", held in Paris on 23 September 2011 as part of the official celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the European Social Charter. (more information) 


Council of Europe Directorate of Communication
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11