Has our voice been heard in Nice ?

Not really. Nevertheless, we have scored some points.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights which doesn't guarantee the social rights has not been integrated in the Treaty.

After the European Parliament's vote, the Charter was supposed to be pompously proclaimed, and then integrated in the Treaty. The Declaration made by ETUC and the social NGOs was quite ambiguous as well (»For an improved Charter« - the Charter could not be improved in Nice, though...). On the mornings of December 6th and 7th, another Europe was expressing its voice very strongly, against the disappearance of the social rights of the legislation. After these mobilizations, the Charter has been very quickly and quietly signed, which drove Nicole Fontaine (UDF, France), president of the European Parliament, really furious. It has indeed been decided that »the question of the Charter's force will be considered later« (please report to the Conclusions of the Presidency of the Nice European Council Meeting on the 7, 8 and 9 December 2000). Officially, this was decided because the British and the Dutch refused to include the Charter in the Treaty. But this reason is only a diplomatic screen, so that one does not admit that one has yielded to the pressure of the mobilization. Hadn't Jospin made the trip to London a few weeks before, in order to convince his friend Tony ? Has one forgotten the both oral and written satisfactory report by Mr Goldsmith, the Charter's author, Tony Blair's personal representative, who had done his best, and had succeeded indeed, to make sure that the social rights would not be guaranteed any more ?

Nevertheless, »the baby hasn't been thrown out with the bath water«: the ones who were »satisfied« with it haven't lost anything. The civil and political rights are the exact reproduction of the words of the 1950 European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights. It is still possible to go to the Strasbourg Court of Justice to defend these rights. It is interesting to mention, though, the fact that the improvements concerning the jurisprudence and the doctrine during the last 50 years of this Convention's implement have not even been integrated in the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The only new article is the one forbidding human cloning. It is an extremely important article, which will have to be defended. Concerning the trade unionist rights, with which ETUC is pleased, they are kept in the EU Treaties and Directives.


European Marches





The Charter of Fundamental Rights

The European Social Agenda

Article 137 - Treaty of Nice

Article 133 - Treaty of Nice

The European Social Agenda has been rewritten

It is still far from being satisfactory, but the social agenda for the next five years, presented by the European Commission, has been rewritten by the French Presidency of the Employment and Social Affairs Cabinet.
This caused the EU Commissioner, Mrs Diamantopoulou, great displeasure; she declared to the British journalists that this agenda was »archaic«. Some unusual respectful words appear indeed in this document. The objective of "convergence in progress" has reappeared, as well as the will to ensure a follow-up »to the 1992 recommendation on minimum guaranteed resources to be provided by social protection systems« (please report to the annexe 1 of the Presidency's Conclusion.)

Article 137 - Treaty of Nice

In August, the French Presidency had proposed to add a point about the »conditions of allowance of the unemployment benefits« in the article 137, concerning the social dispositions. This point aimed at defining the conditions to receive the allowance, the limitations to the entitlement of receiving these benefits, and it also aimed at controlling the unemployed people's availability for the labour market, through an European Directive voted on a qualified majority. We strongly denounced this plan during a Conference on the social agenda, organized by the European Parliament. The French higher officials seemed to be very uncomfortable. The project was cancelled straight away. It could have reappeared in Nice, but it hasn't. Another point which has been scored…

Article 133 - Treaty of Nice

The article 133 will only be partly revised. Qualified majority is extended to services exchanges; unanimity is kept for the questions of culture, health and education. But the text is so complicatedly written that all sorts of interpretations are possible.

»In this connection, by way of derogation from the first subparagraph of paragraph 5, agreements relating to trade in cultural and audiovisual services, educational services, and social and human health services, shall continue to fall within the shared competence of the Community and its Member States. Consequently, in addition to a Community decision taken in accordance with the relevant provisions of article 300, the negociation of such agreements shall require the common accord of the Member States. Agreements thus negociated shall be concluded jointly by the Community and the Member States.«

We have scored some points, but we haven't won the war !






European Marches

E-Mail Webmaster