Acceptance of the provisions of the European Social Charter
The European Social Charter is based on what is termed a ratification system, enabling States, under certain circumstances, to choose the provisions they are willing to accept as binding international legal obligations.
Under this system, each Party undertakes:
- to consider Part I of the Charter as a declaration of the aims which it will pursue by all appropriate means, as stated in the introductory paragraph of that part;
- to consider itself bound by at least six of the following nine articles of Part II of this Charter: Articles 1, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, 16, 19 and 20 (in the corresponding provision of the 1961 Charter the Articles referred to were Articles 1, 5, 6, 12, 13, 16 and 19);
- to consider itself bound by an additional number of articles or numbered paragraphs of Part II of the Charter which it may select, provided that the total number of articles or numbered paragraphs by which it is bound is not less than sixteen articles or sixty-three numbered paragraphs (in the corresponding provision of the 1961 Charter, the total number of articles or numbered paragraphs was supposed not to be less than 10 articles or 45 numbered paragraphs).
With a view to encourage States parties to progressively accept all the Charter’s provisions, Article 22 of the 1961 Charter provides that the States concerned shall send to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, at appropriate intervals and as requested by the Committee of Ministers, reports relating to the provisions of Part II of the Charter which they did not accept at the time of their ratification or approval or in a subsequent notification. It also provides that the Committee of Ministers shall determine, from time to time, in respect of which provisions such reports shall be requested and the form of the reports to be provided.
The procedure for the implementation of Article 22 on non-accepted provisions became effective by a decision of the Committee of Ministers (adopted on 11 December 2002 at the 821st meeting of the Ministers' deputies), whereby States having ratified the Revised European Social Charter are to report on non-accepted provisions every five years after the date of ratification. The European Committee of Social Rights is then invited to examine the information provided by the States concerned.