European Economic and Social Committee

Closer to European Citizens

The European Economic and Social Committee is a consultative body to the other institutions of the European Union (EU) and was created under the Treaties of Rome in 1957.  It provides expertise on relation to the formulation of European legislation and connects organisations of civil society with EU institutions.  Its activities aim to find a compromise between different opinion groups and to keep the institutional functions of the EU close to its citizens. Its seat is in Brussels.

The Committee provides binding and non-binding consultations, which are sought by the European Commission, the Council of the EU as well as the European Parliament. In certain defined areas (internal market, education, consumer protection, environment, regional development and social affairs) these institutions are obliged to refer their legislation proposals for consultations with the Committee before they are processed for approval/adoption. Since 1972 the Committee may issue opinions or follow-up opinions to any matter related to the EU. These opinions are published in the Official Journal of the European Union. At the request of the European Commission, Council or Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee also monitors the functioning of the internal market.

Every two years the Committee elects a bureau made up of 34 members, a President and two Vice-Presidents. The current president is Dimitris Dimitriadis. The Committee has in total 344 members selected from representatives of a wide range of economic and social interest groups in Europe.  These representatives are nominated by the Member States and subsequently, upon the recommendation of the European Commission, appointed unanimously by the Council for a renewable term of four years.  Members of the Committee must retain their independence.  The administration is managed by the Secretariat General, which is headed by the Secretary General.  A number of the Committee staff members are shared with the Committee of the Regions. The two institutions are located in the same building.

Last update: 16.8.2011 16:02

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