The political and social achievements of Europe are under threat. Public over
indebtedness, particularly in a context of crisis, exposes states to pressures to cut back
investment in the field of social protection, access to health-care, education and housing.
This reduces their ability to take action against inequalities and discrimination. The
disappearance of jobs as a result of company relocations and technological change in the
absence of retraining and product innovation, employment insecurity and impoverishment
of parts of the population, notably young people and the elderly, and rising levels of
household debt challenge the principle that everyone has a right to an equitable future.
There is a growing gap between the formal recognition and the application of the
principles of justice, which undermines confidence in the possibility of improving living
conditions, especially for the least advantaged, and fuels feelings of insecurity in the face
of these changes. Fears that democratic and social achievements may be damaged or lost
are taking precedence over aspirations for social progress. This gives rise to the danger of
victimising groups who can most easily be blamed without any real justification, such as
the poor, migrants and minorities.
The full text of the draft (March 1, 2011) of the Council of Europe's Charter on shared social responsibiliities can be downloaded below