a) The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
Article 34(3) of the Charter affirms recognition and respect of the right, inter alia, to social assistance to ensure a decent existence for all those who lack sufficient resources in accordance with the rules laid down by Union law and national laws and practices.
b) The legislative powers and their limits
According to Article 153(2) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the Union is empowered to adopt measures to support and complement the activities of Member States in the field of the integration of persons excluded from the labour market. Article 153(4) provides that provisions adopted pursuant to Article 153 TFEU shall not affect the right of Member States to define the fundamental principles of their social security system and must not significantly affect the financial equilibrium thereof. Pursuant to Article 156 TFEU, the Commission is tasked to encourage cooperation between the Member States and facilitate coordination of their action in all social policy fields under Title X of the TFEU.
c) Existing measures
Council Recommendation 92/441/EEC on common criteria concerning sufficient resources and social assistance in social protection systems (commonly known as the "Minimum Income Recommendation")(108) calls on Member States to recognise the right to social assistance and sets out principles and guidelines to implement this right.
Commission Recommendation 2008/867/EC(109) on the active inclusion of persons excluded from the labour market calls on Member States to combine adequate income support with access to quality services and inclusive labour market measures in an integrated active inclusion strategy. This call to the Member States was reiterated in the Council Recommendation of 15 February 2016 on the integration of the long-term unemployed into the labour market.(110)
(108) Council Recommendation 92/441/EEC of 24 June 1992, OJ L 245, 26.8.1992, p. 46.
(109) Commission Recommendation 2008/867/EC of 3 October 2008 on the active inclusion of people excluded from the labour market, OJ L 307, 18.11.2008, p. 11, endorsed by the Council of the European Union on 17 December 2008.
(110) Council Recommendation of 15 February 2016, OJ C 67, 20.2.2016, p. 1.