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The initial Council of Europe European Social Charter (ESC) of 18 October 1961 and the revised European Social Charter (RESC) adopted on 3 May 1996, also known as the ‘Social Constitution of Europe’, have been landmark human rights instruments for the protection and enforcement of fundamental trade union, workers’ and social rights and the improvement of working and living conditions of people in Europe.

This year, in 2021, the ESC marks its 60th anniversary, while the RESC marks its 25th! On this occasion, and using the momentum of these anniversaries, the ETUC:


  • Recalls the importance of the Charter and its further developments in order to achieve a more social Europe;
  • Urges Member States to fully abide by their obligations deriving from these social standards and the respective case-law of the European Committee of Social Rights and to ensure that the Charters rights are fully respected and effectively implemented;
  • Calls on all Members States to fully adhere to all the instruments developed in the framework of the Charter, in particular the RESC and the Collective Complaint Procedure Protocol, as well as to the European Code of Social Security;
  • Calls on the EU and its institutions to underline the importance of the EU respecting all the social rights enshrined in the European Social Charter by adhering to both the ECHR and the RESC (and collective complaints procedure) and to ensure that in the design, interpretation and implementation of EU legislation, the European Social Charter is duly taken into account;
  • Calls on the Council of Europe and its institutions as well as the Member States to improve the effective implementation of the social rights enshrined in the Charter, along the lines adopted at the so-called 2014 Turin Process as well as the recently adopted reports of the Council of Europe Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) on ‘Improving the protection of social rights in Europe’ (Volume I and Volume II);
  • Calls on all Member States to enhance their financial support to the Council of Europe to ensure an effective and continuous functioning of the Council of Europe and its bodies through sufficient human and material means to conduct their missions; in particular the European Committee of Social Rights and the European Court of Human Rights should be safeguarded from withdrawals or reductions in funding.
  • Calls on the EU to ratify the Istanbul Convention as it may pave the way for further support to the ratification by the EU of the European Social Charter and the European Convention of Human Rights.


To read more about the ETUC’s commitment to Human Rights and its involvement in the development of both Charters, please find the full text of the Resolution here

To read about the more specific demands formulated by the ETUC as well as its suggestions on how to improve the efficiency of the European Social Charter and its supervision mechanisms in order to ensure a better protection of trade union, workers and social rights in Europe, please download the Annex in Pdf here