Speaking at the High-Level Conference on the European Social Charter in Turin, Italy on October 17, the International Organization of Employers (IOE) Vice President for Europe, Renate Hornung-Draus said that the European Social Charter will only gain relevance if it supports reforms for job creation and sustainable social security systems. She warned that the way in which the supervisory bodies of the Council of Europe interpreted the principles of the European Social Charter was undermining its relevance for Member States.
Since 1990 many new member States have joined the Council of Europe. They have different economic and social challenges than the founding members. The interpretation of the European Social Charter by its Supervisory bodies has to be more responsive to their specific situation.
Hornung-Draus said: “The Social Charter will achieve its goal of promoting economic and social development only if its principles are implemented in a way that respect the variety of situations of Member States, and if they are conducive to the structural reforms and fiscal consolidation required by the changing economic and social context.”
Globalization, technological changes require open, dynamic and flexible labor markets and a commitment to life-long learning. In some European countries, where labor market regulation has not adapted to this changing context, very high unemployment, and especially youth unemployment, can only be properly addressed with profound structural labor market reforms.
In addition, social spending in some countries European countries has reached levels that overwhelm economic resources, leading to high public debt. Public debt crowds out investment, because social security systems in those countries become unsustainable in light of changing demographics. Fiscal consolidation in these countries is urgently required, not only to restore the credibility of financial markets and attract investment, but also as an act of social justice towards the young generation.
Staff contact: Ariel Meyerstein