It is time for European governments to commit to social rights
Wed, 24/01/2018 - 06:06

Statement on the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe’s Recommendation on Social Rights, Brussels, 24 January 2018

Caritas Europa supports the recommendation that the Conference of International non-governmental Organisations of the Council of Europe adopted today, 24 January 2018, calling on all European states to commit to social rights by acceding to the Revised European Social Charter and recognising it as the social constitution of Europe.

The urgent need for decisive action to protect social rights is once more illustrated by the decisions of the European Committee of Social Rights, presented in Strasburg: the Committee finds 175 violations related to health, social security and social protection in 33 countries in 2017.

"European governments must seize the opportunity that the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights brings about and start detailing a roadmap to promote the effective guarantee of social rights for all," said Peter Verhaeghe, Caritas Europa’s expert in social policies and representative at the INGO Conference.

Caritas Europa sees in the EU’s proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights on 17 November 2017 a strong sign of political commitment to ensure social rights at a time when Europe is slowly recovering from a major economic crisis that caused severe social distress across the Union.

"It is high time for national governments and the EU to put people first. We need to address inequalities between and within countries. Putting people first also means going beyond employment. People are not just workers but human beings", said Jorge Nuño Mayer, Secretary General of Caritas Europa.

Caritas Europa agrees with the Conference’s opinion that all partners of the Turin Process (EU Member States) must follow the proclamation with a genuine commitment to implement effectively all social rights that are already adopted in the framework of the European Social Charter of the Council of Europe.

To ensure that the implementation process is firmly anchored in society, Caritas Europa joins the Conference’s invitation to the European Union and its Member States to monitor the implementation of the principles enshrined in the European Pillar of Social Rights in close consultation with representatives of civil society.

For more information, please contact

Peter Verhaeghe
Social Policy and Advocacy Officer
Tel: +32 (0)2 235 03 96
Mob: +32 (0)478 58 54 33
Alain Rodriguez
Communication Officer
Tel: +32 2 235 26 54
Mob: +32 478 58 54 37

Notes to editor

  1. Caritas Europa is a member of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe.
  2. The recommendation was prepared by the Coordinating Committee for the Turin Process for the European Social Charter, created following (1) the Call for Action (2) of the Conference of INGOs of 29 January 2016 to support the “Turin Process" for the European Social Charter.  (1) | (2)
  3. The Turin Process aims at reinforcing the role of the Social Charter as the key tool to improve social and economic rights in Europe. In this end, the Turin Process also has for objective to merge the Social Charter in EU legislation. Caritas Europa leads the Turin Process Coordinating Committee of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe.
  4. The European Social Charter is a Council of Europe Treaty that guarantees fundamental social and economic rights as a counterpart to the European Convention on Human Rights, which refers to civil and political rights. The Charter guarantees a broad range of everyday human rights related to employment, housing, health, education, social protection and welfare:
  5. The European Pillar of social rights aims at strengthening the social acquis and delivering more effective rights to EU citizens. It focuses on employment and social aspects. The objective of the Pillar is to contribute to social progress by supporting fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems.
  6. Caritas Europa promotes a social just society based on 3 main pillars: 1. Family as the vital cell of society, 2. Inclusive labour-market as a source of well-being, and 3. Social protection as a sound social investment.