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Padraig Flynn, European  Commissioner with responsibility for  Employment and
Social Affairs today announced the creation of  a "Comité des Sages" to  draw
up  a report  to help  prepare discussions  at the  first European   Forum on
Social Policy, to be held on 26-27 March 1996.


In 1993, the Commission adopted  a consultative Green Paper  which stimulated
a wide  ranging  debate on  the future of  European social policy, and  which
was followed in  1994 by the  White Paper on  European  Social  Policy.   One
theme which  emerged strongly from this  consultative process  was that there
is  a growing    debate at  European  level about  the establishment  of  the
fundamental social  rights of  citizens as  a constitutional  element of  the
European Union.

In  its  Medium  Term  Social  Action  Programme,  the  Commission  therefore
announced its  intention to launch  a debate on  the question of  fundamental
social rights in the European Union.

As a first step,  in April  1995 the Commission  organised with the  European
Parliament a  joint Hearing on  the future of  the 1989 Community Charter  of
the  Fundamental Rights of  Workers (the Social Charter).   In  the course of
this  hearing, MEPs, national experts, representatives  of the European Union
Institutions,  social partners  and  non-governmental organisations  examined
both the need to revise and  update the scope of the Social Charter, and  the
extent  to which the  Charter might be  incorporated into  the future Treaty,
and the legal implications of such a step.

The "Comité des Sages"

Following and building on this  Joint Hearing, the Commission  also announced
in the  Social Action Programme its  intention to consult the  European Forum
on Social Policy, and the  Economic and Social Committee, on a  wide range of
social issues, including  the possible  revision of the  Social Charter.   In
this way, the widest  possible range of interested bodies will be  drawn into
the debate on the future of social rights in the Union.

In order to prepare these  discussions, the Commission proposed  to establish
a "Comité des Sages" to draw  up a report.  The remit of  the Comité will be,
inter alia, to  further consider and develop  the issues raised in  the Joint

The  seven  members  (see  attached  list)  nominated  have a  broad  mix  of
political, legal,  social  and economic  expertise.    The Comité  will  meet
between October 1995 and January 1996, and  will then present a report  which
will form the basis for discussions at the European Forum on Social Policy.




- Mrs  Maria  de  Lourdes  Pintasilgo,  former  Portuguese  Prime  Minister;
  President of the Independent Commission on Population and Quality of Life;
  Chairwoman of the World Institute for Development Economics Research - The
  United Nations  University, Member  of the  Interaction Council  of Former
  Heads of State and Government.


- Mr Bengt Westerberg, former Swedish Minister for Social Affairs and deputy
  Swedish Prime Minister, president of the Swedish Telecommunications Board;

- Mr Hartmut Kaeble, professor of Social History at the Humboldt  University
  Berlin, Germany;

- Mrs  Shirley  Williams,  former  UK Minister  of  Education, professor  of
  Economics at Harvard University;

- Mr  Garcia de Enterria, former judge of the European Court of Human Rights
  (Strasbourg); former president of the International Federation of European
  Law; professor of  Administrative Law at the "Universidad  Complutense" of

- Mrs  Louka  Kateseli,  economic  advisor  to  the  Greek  Prime  Minister,
  professor of economics at Athens University, former professor of economics
  at Yale University;

- Mr  Frédéric Pascal, Economist,  President Director  General of  the SCIC;
  President  of  the FONDA  Association;  former  vice-president  of Amnesty
  International, France.

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