Source description last updated: 19 March 2020
The European Committee for Social Rights (CoE-ECSR) is a monitoring mechanism for the Council of Europe member states’ compliance with the European Social Charter of 1961 and its revised edition of 1996.
Coverage on ecoi.net:
Covered weekly on ecoi.net for countries of priorities A-C.
„The European Committee of Social Rights monitors compliance with the Charter under two complementary mechanisms: through collective complaints lodged by the social partners and other non-governmental organisations (Collective Complaints Procedure), and through national reports drawn up by Contracting Parties (Reporting System).
Insofar as they refer to binding legal provisions and are adopted by a monitoring body established by the Charter and the relevant protocols, Decisions and Conclusions of the European Committee of Social Rights must be respected by the States concerned; even if they are not directly enforceable in the domestic legal systems, they set out the law and can provide the basis for positive developments in social rights through legislation and case-law at national level.“ (CoE website: European Committee of Social Rights, undated)
Council of Europe funds.
Scope of reporting:
Geographic focus: The 47 CoE member states (see CoE-website).
Thematic focus: Social rights as agreed upon in the European Social Charter.
In the framework of the reporting system, States Parties regularly submit a report on the implementation of the Charter in law and in practice. National reports are examined by the European Committee of Social Rights, which decides whether the national situations they describe comply with the Charter (See further information about Drafting reports).
In the framework of the Reporting system, the European Committee of Social Rights adopts conclusions which are published every year. They can be consulted on the European Social Charter HUDOC Database. Insofar as they refer to binding legal provisions and are adopted by a monitoring body established by the Charter, the Conclusions of the European Committee of Social Rights must be respected by the States concerned; however, they are not enforceable in the domestic legal systems. In practice, this means that when the Committee rules that the situation in a country is not in compliance with the Charter, one cannot require the Committee’s conclusions to be enforced in domestic law as would be the case with a ruling by a court in the State concerned. As the decisions adopted by the European Committee of Social Rights in the framework of the Collective Complaints procedure, the Conclusions adopted within the reporting system are declaratory; in other words, they set out the law. On this basis, national authorities are required to take measures to give them effect under domestic law. In this connection, domestic courts can declare invalid or set aside domestic legislation if the Committee has ruled that it is not in compliance with the Charter.
The follow-up of the conclusions of the European Committee of Social Rights is ensured by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which intervenes in the last stage of the Reporting System. Its work is prepared by the Governmental Committee of the European Social Charter and European Code of Social Security, comprising representatives of the States party to the Charter and assisted by observers representing European trade unions and employers’ organisations: European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Business Europe (ex UNICE) and International Organisation of Employers (IOE).
Having regard to the proposals made by the Governmental Committee, the Committee of Ministers adopts a Resolution by a majority of two-thirds of those voting. The resolution closes each supervision cycle and may contain individual recommendations to the States parties concerned. If a State takes no action, the Committee of Ministers, on a proposal from the Governmental Committee, may address a Recommendation to that State, asking it to change the situation in law and/or in practice. In view of the importance of this decision, a two-thirds majority of those voting is required here. In the case of both resolutions and recommendations, only States parties to the Charter may take part in the vote.
Texts adopted by the Committee of Ministers in the framework of the reporting system are available on line on the Committee of Ministers’ website. It is also possible to retrieve these texts by performing a search on HUDOC Charter data base system.
Ultimately, it falls to the European Committee of Social Rights to determine whether the situation has been brought into compliance with the Charter. This is done by the European Committee of Social Rights in the framework of the reporting system or the Collective Complaints procedure.” (Coucil of Europe website: Reporting system of the European Social Charter, undated)
“Following the decision taken by the Committee of Ministers in 2006, the provisions [of] the Charter have been divided into four thematic groups. States parties present a report on the provisions relating to one of the four thematic groups on an annual basis. Consequently each provision of the Charter is reported on once every four years.
The four groups of provisions are as follows:
Languages of publication:
English; few reports are available in French.
The European Social Charter and collected relevant texts as of 1 January 2015:
All links accessed 19 March 2020.