Parliamentary Assembly Session January 2011
Thorbjorn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Thorbjørn Jagland sets out importance of social rights in letter to EU’s Jean-Claude Juncker

Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland has set out the importance to Europe of social rights in a letter to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

The ‘Opinion of the Secretary General on the European Union initiative to establish a European Pillar of Social Rights,’ confirms Jagland’s vision of a “social constitution” of Europe. It has been published ahead of an international conference “The European Pillar of Social Rights: Going forward together,”, organised by the European Commission in Brussels today (23 January).

In his letter to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker,Jagland highlights the importance of “building a Europe better attuned to meeting people’s everyday needs and therefore able to promote shared and sustainable growth”.

The Secretary General acknowledges that by establishing the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Union signals its readiness to underline the relevance of social rights in its institutions and policies.

“To meet this challenge, we must promote legal certainty and coherence between European standard-setting systems protecting fundamental social rights. Ensuring that the European Social Charter, the Social Constitution of Europe, is central to the Pillar will contribute to this objective and make Europe not only more prosperous, but also more equitable and united.

“Growth that benefited only a minority would create numerous obstacles to European integration and also weaken our continent’s social cohesion and democratic security. The social question and the democratic question are in fact closely connected.”

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