Thursday, 11 December 2008

European Union: Social developments

The Commission shall include a separate chapter on social developments within the European Community (European Union) in its annual report to the European Parliament.

The Treaty of Lisbon eliminates a part of the overlap in the formal reporting requirements.



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Article 145 TEC

The current Article 145 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC), as published in the latest consolidated version of the treaties, OJ 29.12.2006 C 321 E/111:

Article 145 TEC

The Commission shall include a separate chapter on social developments within the Community in its annual report to the European Parliament.

The European Parliament may invite the Commission to draw up reports on any particular problems concerning social conditions.

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Original Lisbon Treaty (ToL)

Article 2, point 120 of the original Treaty of Lisbon (ToL) amends Article 143 TEC and point 121 concerns the European Social Fund (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/82).

This means that there are no specific amendments. The ‘Community’ is replaced by the ‘Union’ according to the horizontal amendment mentioned in point 2(a) on page 42.


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Renumbering ToL

The Table of equivalences of the original Treaty of Lisbon tells us that the social policy title was to be renumbered Title X. Article 145 TEC first became Article 145 TFEU (ToL), then to be renumbered Article 161 TFEU in the consolidated versions of the amending treaties (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/216).


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Consolidated Lisbon Treaty

Following renumbering of Article and the horizontal amendment replacing ‘Community’ by ‘Union’, Article 161 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), appears as follows in the consolidated TFEU, published in the Official Journal of the European Union, OJ 9.5.2008 C 115/119:


(TITLE X
SOCIAL POLICY)

Article 161 TFEU
(ex Article 145 TEC)

The Commission shall include a separate chapter on social developments within the Union in its annual report to the European Parliament.

The European Parliament may invite the Commission to draw up reports on any particular problems concerning social conditions.


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European Union: Social situation report

According to Article 143 (ex Article 120) of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) the Commission already has the obligation to produce an annual report on the achievement of the social policy objectives of the Community. To these is added the demographic situation of the Community.

The second paragraph entitles the European Parliament to request special reports on social questions.

The current Article 143 TEC, as published in the latest consolidated version of the treaties, OJ 29.12.2006 C 321 E/110:

Article 143 TEC

The Commission shall draw up a report each year on progress in achieving the objectives of Article 136, including the demographic situation in the Community. It shall forward the report to the European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee.

The European Parliament may invite the Commission to draw up reports on particular problems concerning the social situation.


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More reporting


Article 145 TEC (ex Article 122) adds the obligation to include a separate chapter on social developments in the Commission’s (general) annual report and mandates the European Parliament to ask for specific reports on social conditions, although the report based on Article 143 TEC (Article 159 TFEU) is addressed to the European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee and the demographic situation is mentioned specifically.
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The second paragraphs of Article 143 and Article 145 are almost identical.
The Lisbon Treaty eliminates the overlapping second paragraph of Article 143 TEC in what became Article 159 TFEU.

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The social situation in the European Union 2007

The latest report based on Article 143 TEC (Article 159 TFEU) is the following:
The Commission’s (Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities; Eurostat) annual social policy report called The Social Situation in the European Union 2007 – Social Cohesion through Equal Opportunities (published 2008; 199 pages):
http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/spsi/docs/social_situation/ssr2007_en.pdf

For a quick take on the findings, you can read the press release issued when the report was published, 22 May 2008 (MEMO/08/326):

http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=MEMO/08/326

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General Report

The General Report on the Activities of the European Union is published annually to the European Parliament according to Article 212 TEC:

Article 212 TEC

The Commission shall publish annually, not later than one month before the opening of the session of the European Parliament, a general report on the activities of the Community.



The same obligation is found in Article 249(2) TFEU.

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The General Report on the Activities of the European Union 2007 can be found here:

http://europa.eu/generalreport/en/2007/index.htm

Chapter III Solidarity most closely resembles the requirements of Article 145 TEC, although the contents go beyond social policy. Here are links to its contents:

Chapter III - Solidarity
Section 1 - 3.1. Consolidating economic and social cohesion
Section 2 - 3.2. Solidarity with future generations and management of natural resources
Section 3 - 3.3. Promoting common values within the European Union

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European Parliament

According to Article 200 TEC the General Report is discussed by the European Parliament in plenary session:

Article 200 TEC

The European Parliament shall discuss in open session the annual general report submitted to it by the Commission.



Ralf Grahn