The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

Is a consultative body of the European Union. It acts as an intermediary between organised civil society and the European Parliament, Council and Commission. The Committee was set up by the 1957 Rome Treaties and is composed of 350 members, drawn from economic and social interest groups in Europe. There are three components (employers, employees, and representatives of other organisations). The committee meets in plenary session 9 times a year.

The EESC has three key missions:

  • advising the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission;
  • promoting the development of a European Union that is more in touch with public opinion;
  • securing European Union dialogue with organised civil society and supporting their role and participatory democracy.

The European Committee of the Regions (CoR)

Is a consultative body of the European Union. It was set up by the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 and is composed of 350 members (grouped by political party) who have been elected at local or regional level (for example as Mayors or Presidents of a region). They meet six times a year in plenary session to debate their opinions on proposed legislation and agree on resolutions for further action by the EU.

The Committee’s mission is:

  • to involve regional and local authorities in the European decision-making process
  • to encourage greater participation of fellow citizens.
  • to promote multi-level governance and the principle of subsidiarity.

On 28 November 2018, the European Commission has made two proposals to change the composition of the European Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee. The European Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee each have 350 seats and their term of office will come to an end on 25 January 2020 and 20 September 2020, respectively. It is, therefore, necessary that the Council adopts a decision on the composition of the two Committees, also as the UK’s withdrawal will result in 24 vacant seats. The Commission proposes to give Cyprus, Estonia, and Luxembourg an extra seat in both Committees, as these three Member States lost a seat after the previous decision in 2015 on the composition of the Committees, due to Croatia’s accession. The remaining seats would be left vacant, as a reserve for possible future enlargements.

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