On 5 November 1990 an informal ministerial conference on human rights was held in Rome. One of the topics discussed was the European Social Charter, with the result that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe was invited to take the necessary measures so that a detailed study of the role, contents and operation of the European Social Charter might be undertaken as soon as possible.

At their 449th meeting (November-December 1990), the Ministers’ Deputies decided to authorise the convening of an ad hoc committee, the Committee on the European Social Charter (Charte-Rel), which would have the task of making proposals for improving the effectiveness of the European Social Charter and more particularly the functioning of its supervisory machinery.

The Committee was composed of experts designated by each member state. In addition, representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly, ILO, ETUC and UNICE took part in its meetings, but without the right to vote. The Committee of Independent Experts and the Governmental Committee as well as several other Council of Europe committees also participated in this work.

At its first meeting (February 1991), the Committee decided to concentrate, in the first instance, on the improvement of the supervisory machinery before addressing the reform of the substance of the Charter. As concerns the improvement of the supervisory machinery, its efforts resulted in three reforms which together make up a coherent whole: the present Protocol; the draft Additional Protocol laying down a system of collective complaints; the change in the reporting procedure, which the Committee of Ministers decided in September 1992 to introduce for a trial period of four years.

The Charte-Rel Committee adopted the draft Protocol at its third meeting (September 1991) and decided to communicate the text to the Committee of Ministers.6. The Committee of Ministers, to which Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 1168 (1991) had also been referred, adopted the text of the Protocol on 16 October 1991 and agreed that it should be opened for signature on 21 October 1991 in Turin, at a ministerial conference commemorating the 30th anniversary of the signature of the European Social Charter.

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Department of the European Social Charter

Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law
Council of Europe
1, quai Jacoutot
F – 67075 Strasbourg Cedex

Tél. +33 (0)3 90 21 55 23

www.coe.int/socialcharter

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