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The European Social Charter


The European Social Charter is a Council of Europe treaty that guarantees fundamental social and economic rights as a counterpart to the European Convention on Human Rights, which refers to civil and political rights. It guarantees a broad range of everyday human rights related to employment, housing, health, education, social protection and welfare.

The Charter lays specific emphasis on the protection of vulnerable persons such as elderly people, children, people with disabilities and migrants. It requires that enjoyment of the abovementioned rights be guaranteed without discrimination.

No other legal instrument at pan-European level can provide such an extensive and complete protection of social rights as that provided by the Charter, which also serves as a point of reference in European Union law; most of the social rights in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights are based on the relevant articles of the Charter.

The Charter is therefore seen as the Social Constitution of Europe and represents an essential component of the continent’s human rights architecture.

The 7th edition of the Collected texts provides an updated account of all of the relevant instruments of the Charter, and the functioning of the various bodies which participate in the monitoring procedures.

More information about the European Social Charter

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The European Commission adopts its European Pillar of Social Rights

28/04/2017 Brussels, Belgium

The European Commission adopted its proposal for the “European Pillar of Social Rights”. This pillar sets out 20 principles and rights to support fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems. It is designed as a compass for a renewed process of upward convergence towards better...

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Secretary General’s Opinion on the European Pillar of Social Rights

20/01/2017 Strasbourg, France

Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland has published today his Opinion on the European Union initiative to establish a European Pillar of Social Rights. In his letter to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, Council of Europe Secretary General highlighted the fact that this...

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