Tuesday, 9 December 2008

European Union: Social situation report

The preambles of existing and future treaties mention economic and social progress among the main reasons for European integration.

The Commission has a treaty obligation to report annually on the achievement of the social policy objectives and on the demographic situation in the European Community (European Union).

We look at the relevant provisions of the current Treaty establishing the European Community and of the Lisbon Treaty.

The latest annual report The social situation in the European Union 2007, published 22 May 2008, calls for social cohesion through equal opportunities. In other words, its message is to invest in people.

Students, researchers and politicians can profit from the report for the benefit of EU citizens.

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Article 143 TEC

According to Article 143 (ex Article 120) of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) the Commission 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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Social policy objectives

The social policy objectives of the European Community (European Union) mentioned in Article 136 TEC (ex Article 117), in the latest consolidated version of the treaties, OJ 29.12.2006 C 321 E/103, are:

– promotion of employment

– improved and harmonised living and working conditions

– social protection

– dialogue between management and labour

– development of human resources

– combating exclusion.

Article 143 TEC adds the demographic situation in the Community to the matters to be covered in the report. The European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee are named as recipients of this annual report.


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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. The second paragraphs of Article 143 and Article 145 are almost identical:


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 (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/82):

120) In Article 143, the second paragraph shall be deleted.


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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 143 TEC first became Article 143 TFEU (ToL), then then to be renumbered Article 159 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 referral, the horizontal amendment replacing ‘Community’ by ‘Union’ and the specific amendment deleting the second paragraph, Article 159 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 115/118,:

(TITLE X
SOCIAL POLICY)

Article 159 TFEU
(ex Article 143 TEC)

The Commission shall draw up a report each year on progress in achieving the objectives of Article 151, including the demographic situation in the Union. It shall forward the report to the European Parliament, the Council and the Economic and Social Committee.


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The Lisbon Treaty eliminates one of the overlapping second paragraphs concerning particular problems.

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The social situation in the European Union 2007

The Commission’s (Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities; Eurostat) latest annual social policy report is 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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‘Economic and social progress’ denotes that the European Union is more than an economic community.


Ralf Grahn