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Treaty Establishing the European Community

as Amended by Subsequent Treaties

ROME, 25 March 1957


CONTENTS

Part Three. Community Policies

TITLE VIII. SOCIAL POLICY, EDUCATION, VOCATIONAL TRAINING AND YOUTH

CHAPTER 1. SOCIAL PROVISIONS

[117] [118] [118a] [118b] [119] [120] [121] [122]

CHAPTER 2. THE EUROPEAN SOCIAL FUND

[123] [124] [125]

CHAPTER 3. EDUCATION, VOCATIONAL TRAINING AND YOUTH

[126] [127]

Part Three. Community Policies

TITLE VIII. SOCIAL POLICY, EDUCATION, VOCATIONAL TRAINING AND YOUTH

CHAPTER 1. SOCIAL PROVISIONS

Article 117. Member States agree upon the need to promote improved working conditions and an improved standard of living for workers, so as to make possible their harmonisation while the improvement is being maintained.

They believe that such a development will ensue not only from the functioning of the common market, which will favour the harmonisation of social systems, but also from the procedures provided for in this Treaty and from the approximation of provisions laid down by law, regulation or administrative action.

Article 118. Without prejudice to the other provisions of this Treaty and in conforrnity with its general objectives, the Commission shall have the task of promoting close co-operation between Member States in the social field, particularly in matters relating to:

  • employment;
  • labour law and working conditions;
  • basic and advanced vocational training;
  • social security;
  • prevention of occupational accidents and diseases;
  • occupational hygiene; the right of association, and collective bargaining between employers and workers.

To this end, the Commission shall act in close contact with Member States by making studies, delivering opinions and arranging consultations both on problems arising at national level and on those of concern to international organisations.

Before delivering the opinions provided for in this Article, the Commission shall consult the Economic and Social Committee.

Article 118a.

  1. Member States shall pay particular attention to encouraging improvements, especially in the working environment, as regards the health and safety of workers, and shall set as their objective the harmonisation of conditions in this area, while maintaining the improvements made.
  2. In order to help achieve the objective laid down in the first paragraph, the Council, acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 189c and after consulting the Economic and Social Committee, shall adopt, by means of directives, minimum requirements for gradual implementation, having regard to the conditions and technical rules obtaining in each of the Member States.

    Such directives shall avoid imposing administrative, financial and legal constraints in a way which would hold back the creation and development of small and medium-sized undertakings.

  3. The provisions adopted pursuant to this Article shall not prevent any Member State from maintaining or introducing more stringent measures for the protection of working conditions compatible with this Treaty.

Article 118b. The Commission shall endeavour to develop the dialogue between management and labour at European level which could, if the two sides consider it desirable, lead to relations based on agreement.

Article 119. Each Member State shall during the first stage ensure and subsequently maintain the application of the principle that men and women should receive equal pay for equal work.

For the purpose of this Article, 'pay' means the ordinary basic or minimum wage or salary and any other consideration, whether in cash or in kind, which the worker receives, directly or indirectly, in respect of his employment from his employer.

Equal pay without discrimination based on sex means:

  • (a) that pay for the same work at piece rates shall be calculated on the basis of the same unit of measurement;
  • (b) that pay for work at time rates shall be the same for the same job.

Article 120. Member States shall endeavour to maintain the existing equivalence between paid holiday schemes.

Article 121. The Council may, acting unanimously and after consulting the Economic and Social Committee, assign to the Commission tasks in connection with the implementation of common measures, particularly as regards social security for the migrant workers referred to in Arts. 48 to 51.

Article 122. 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.

CHAPTER 2. THE EUROPEAN SOCIAL FUND

Article 123. In order to improve employment opportunities for workers in the internal market and to contribute thereby to raising the standard of living, a European Social Fund is hereby established in accordance with the provisions set out below: it shall aim to render the employment of workers easier and to increase their geographical and occupational mobility within the Community, and to facilitate their adaptation to industrial changes and to changes in production systems, in particular through vocational training and retraining.

Article 124. The Fund shall be administered by the Commission.

The Commission shall be assisted in this task by a Committee presided over by a member of the Commission and composed of representatives of Governments, trade unions and employers' organisations.

Article 125. The Council, acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 189c and after consulting the Economic and Social Committee, shall adopt implementing decisions relating to the European Social Fund.

CHAPTER 3. EDUCATION, VOCATIONAL TRAINING AND YOUTH

Article 126.

  1. The Community shall contribute to the development of quality education by encouraging cooperation between Member States and, if necessary, by supporting and supplementing their action, while fully respecting the responsibility of the Member States for the content of teaching and the organization of education systems and their cultural and linguistic diversity.
  2. Community action shall be aimed at:
    • developing the European dimension in education, particularly through the teaching and dissemination of the languages of the Member States;
    • encouraging mobility of students and teachers, inter alia by encouraging the academic recognition of diplomas and periods of study;
    • promoting cooperation between educational establishments;
    • developing exchanges of information and experience on issues common to the education systems of the Member States;
    • encouraging the development of youth exchanges and of exchanges of socio-educational instructors;
    • encouraging the development of distance education.
  3. The Community and the Member States shall foster co-operation with third countries and the competent international organizations in the sphere of education, in particular the Council of Europe.
  4. In order to contribute to the achievement of the objectives referred to in this Article, the Council:
    • acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 189b, after consulting the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, shall adopt incentive measures, excluding any harmonization of the laws and regulations of the Member States;
    • acting by qualified majority on a proposal from the Commission, shall adopt recommendations.

Article 127.

  1. The Community shall implement a vocational training policy which shall support and supplement the action of the Member States, while fully respecting the responsibility of the Member States for the content and organization of vocational training.
  2. Community action shall aim to:
    • facilitate adaptation to industrial changes, in particular through vocational training and retraining;
    • improve initial and continuing vocational training in order to facilitate vocational integration and reintegration into the labour market;
    • facilitate access to vocational training and encourage mobility of instructors and trainees and particularly young people;
    • stimulate cooperation on training between educational or training establishments and firms;
    • develop exchanges of information and experience on issues common to the training systems of the Member States.
  3. The Community and the Member States shall foster cooperation vith third countries and the competent international organizations in the phere of vocational training.
  4. The Council, acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 189c and after consulting the Economic and Social Committee, shall adopt measures to contribute to the achievement of the objectives referred to in this Article, excluding any harmonization of the laws and regulations of the Member States.

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