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Thank you, Chair.
I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Montenegro[*], Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Ukraine and Georgia align themselves with this statement.
We would like to reiterate our commitment to promoting and protecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law. In this regard, we recognize the important role played by the ILO in developing, promoting and supervising international labour standards. The European Union firmly believes that compliance with ILO Conventions is essential for social and economic stability in any country and that an environment conducive to dialogue and trust between employers, workers and governments contributes to creating a basis for solid and sustainable growth and inclusive societies.
We are also actively engaged in the promotion of universal ratification and implementation of the core labour standards, as part of our Action Plan on Human Rights. Decent work, including fundamental principles and rights at work, is promoted in all our relevant internal and external policies, including employment, trade, human rights and development cooperation policies, in member states as well as at the EU-level.
ILO's supervisory system is part of the Organisation's core mandate. It is unique and constitutes a real asset. Within this system, the CAS ' regular monitoring plays a central role and we commend the fact that it has been able to reconvene and function in a positive manner since 2015.
Ensuring a regular and successful monitoring of the International Labour Standards' application is crucial to ensure ILO's mandate and authority, as Conventions lose most of their purpose if they are not implemented. None of the ILO Member States is pleased to be on the short list, for obvious reasons, but it is also an opportunity for a dialogue with the constituents and a possibility for governments to provide information, explain their policies and improve their application of ratified conventions. In this regard, we welcome the new changes made to the functioning of the CAS this year and we hope that it will enable a smooth discussion on the different cases.
Since improving the working methods of the CAS is a work in process, let us make a few additional comments and recommendations:
-As already stated last year, in order to avoid duplicating procedures and efforts, we believe that we should avoid as much as possible discussing at CAS cases that are already under the article 26 procedures.
-When reading the CEACR report, it is sometimes difficult to assess the seriousness of some cases, especially when the report does not benefit from up-to-date information. The EU and its Member States take the floor on cases of infringement of ILO Conventions, but sometimes we may refrain from doing so due to lack of information. To enable better and updated sharing of information on the cases, we would like to strongly encourage governments which are on the preliminary list, to provide the Office with any available information, once this list is issued. This information would be made available to all ILO constituents. Such a process would allow for more transparency and also provide the opportunity to governments to present updated information prior to the establishment of the short list and potential discussion in CAS.
-It would be also useful for each case to have a clear assessment of the CEACR on the situation. In some cases, the assessment in the report concerns particular aspects but it is difficult to get an overall and clear picture of the level of compliance with the concerned convention. In other cases, the Committee's comments only refer to social partners' observations and it is difficult from the report to evaluate the seriousness of the situation.
-While we understand the workers' and employers' own constraints in terms of internal consultations, we would like to flag once again that having the final list of cases when the Conference has already started is very challenging in terms of preparation. This is why we would like to recall that having for each case discussed at CAS, a clear description of the issue at stake, along with the most updated information and assessment of the CEACR is essential to be able to have an informed and fruitful discussion.
Finally, within the framework of the Standard Review Mechanism (SRM), the constituents and the ILO Office are, on the basis of an agreed task and work plan, committed to updating and modernising the body of Conventions and Recommendations. The aim is to make the normative framework of the ILO fit for purpose in today’s and tomorrow’s world of work. For the EU the General Survey this year and coming years should be an instrument that assists and informs the discussion of the SRM. Outcomes of the SRM discussion could also feed into the General Survey discussion in this committee. The results of both discussions in the SRM working group and on the General Survey could then be communicated to the Governing Body and further discussed there.
Thank you Chair.
[*] Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.