The European Social Charter (ESC) was signed in 1961 and has been in force since 1965. Protecting 19 fundamental rights, it was conceived as the counterpart, in the field of social and economic rights, to the European Convention on Human Rights. However, it was considered to have several shortcomings as a human right instrument, namely a slow, confusing and government-controlled monitoring mechanism as well as a list of protected rights that was incomplete. This last criticism was partly met by the Additional Protocol to the Charter of 1988, which guaranteed four additional rights. However, an informal Ministerial Conference on Human Rights held in Rome on 5 November 1990 acknowledged that one had to go further. The ministers invited the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to take the necessary steps for a detailed study of the role, content, and operation of the European Social Charter with a view to giving it a new impetus. In response, the Committee of Ministers authorized the convening of an ad hoc committee, the Committee on the European Social Charter (the so-called “Charte-Rel Committee”). It was instructed to make proposals for improving the effectiveness of the Charter and, in particular, the functioning of its supervisory machinery. In carrying out its task, the Committee consulted the international representatives of management and labour, including the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the Union of the Confederations of Industry and Employers of Europe (UNICE), as well as the International Labour Organization (ILO) at all stage.