Press release - 097(2011)


Helsinki international seminar to discuss reform of the European Social Charter

Date: 8 February 2011

Venue: Helsinki, The House of Estates, (Snellmaninkatu 9)

Organised by: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and the Council of Europe

Description: Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the European Social Charter in 2011, the Council of Europe is launching a discussion process with its 47 members states to examine how to strengthen the European Social Charter and its monitoring procedures in order to further protect essential economic and social rights of Europeans.

In the seminar representatives of member states, international organisations such as the International Labour Organisation, the European Commission, trade unions and NGOs as well as international experts in social and economic rights will examine a number of measures to reform the procedures of the Charter and the work of its monitoring body, the European Committee of Social Rights.

The measures to be discussed include making the reporting by states more targeted and visible, further promoting the collective complaints procedure - which contributes to reducing the number of complaints related to economic and social issues lodged with the European Court of Human Rights –, strengthening the European Committee of Social Rights and notably for its members to be elected by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

The President of the Republic of Finland, Tarja Halonen, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and the president of the European Committee of Social Rights, Luis Jimena Quesada, will participate in the opening session.

Link to the programme

Practical information: The seminar, which starts at 9.30 am, is open to the media. Those media which wish to attend the event can obtain an accreditation on the spot from 8.30 to 9.15. For interview requests please contact the press officer below.


The European Social Charter is a Council of Europe treaty which guarantees the following social and economic human rights: housing, health, education, employment, social and legal protection, movement of persons and non discrimination. It was adopted in 1961 and revised in 1996. The Revised Charter, which updated the original treaty and included new rights such as the right to housing, came into force in 1999 and is gradually replacing the 1961 treaty. The European Committee of Social Rights is the body responsible for monitoring compliance in States Parties.

More information on the Social Charter

Contact: Jaime Rodriguez, +33 3 90 21 47 04;

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