Social Policy Agreement
The Social Policy Agreement was signed by 11 of the Member States in December 1991. The United Kingdom opted out. It sets out the policy objectives for which the 1989 Social Charter paved the way: promoting employment, improving living and working conditions, combating exclusion, developing human resources, etc. It also lays down the procedure for adopting social policy measures and acknowledges the vital part played by management and labour in this field.
When it was signed, this Social Policy Agreement was annexed to the Social Policy Protocol, the mechanism by which the United Kingdom allowed the other Member States to advance on the social policy front without taking part itself.
Following the election of a new government in May 1997, the United Kingdom announced that it intended to drop its opt-out. The Social Policy Agreement was then incorporated into the Social Chapter of the EC Treaty through the Treaty of Amsterdam. This also involved the formal abolition of the Social Policy Protocol.