On 9 - 10 November, the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) paid a visit to Denmark with the aim of promoting the acceptance of the revised European Social Charter, as well as of the 1995 Additional Protocol providing for a system of collective complaints and the 1991 Amending Protocol of the European Social Charter reforming the supervisory mechanism.
At the European level, the revised European Social Charter is the most wide-ranging and comprehensive legal instrument for the protection of social rights.
Currently, the Charter has 42 States Parties, of which 35 are Parties to the revised Charter and only 7 remain with the 1961 Charter, including Denmark.
Denmark signed the revised Charter immediately after its opening for signature on 3 May 1996, and the 1995 Additional Protocol providing for a system of collective complaints on 9 November 1995. However, to date these signatures have not been followed by ratifications by Parliament.
During its visit to Denmark, the European Committee of Social Rights conducted in-depth discussions with representatives of the Ministry of Employment, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Housing and Senior Citizens, the Ministry of Children and Education, the Danish Maritime Authority, the Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment and Danish Working Environment Authority (WEA). Ms. Vibe Westh, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Employment led the discussions. Interventions and comments in light of ECSR jurisprudence were made by Ms Karin Møhl Larsen and Ms Miriam Kullmann, members of the ECSR, Mr Giuseppe Palmisano, professor of International Law at the University of Rome and former President of the ECSR, Mr Henrik Kristensen, Deputy Executive Secretary of the ECSR, and Ms Loreta Vioiu, Programme Manager in the Council of Europe Department of Social Rights.
The discussions focused inter alia on the situation in law and practice in relation to selected provisions of the Charter that have not yet been accepted by Denmark and clarified the standards applied by the ECSR when making its assessments of national situations.
The ECSR also held bilateral meetings with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with a group of members of the Danish Parliament (Folketinget) discussing the prospects of undertaking new commitments under the Charter system by Denmark.
During the visit, the ECSR delegation also had the opportunity to explain to a group of representatives of the social partners that, the Danish model of labour market organisation is consistent with the requirements of the Charter. Finally, the ECSR met with the Director of the Danish Institute of Human rights, Ms Louise Holck and the Institute’s staff and with a group of civil society representatives working on social rights and vulnerable groups.
The report on the non-accepted provisions of the European Social Charter in respect of Denmark will be forthcoming.