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Civic Dialogue at European Level

Civic Dialogue at European Level

Civic Dialogue at European Level

What is the European Economic and Social Committee?

EESC is a consultative body of the European Union having a consultative role in relation to the main European institutions (the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament).

EESC issues opinions on EU legislative proposals and regarding various questions, at its own initiative. The Committee provides a “bridge” between the EU institutions and the  “organized civil society”, promotes participatory democracy in EU and helps promoting an active role for the organizations of the civil society by establishing a  “structured dialogue” with these groups from EU member states and from other countries around the world.

EESC was established in 1957, when the founders of the European Union signed the Treaties of Rome.

The aim was to involve different economic and social interest groups in the development of the common market and to enable the European Commission and the Council of Ministers to consult more widely on EU policies. The first plenary meeting of the Committee took place in Brussels, in May 1958.

EESC can:

  • issue opinions on questions that are referred to it by the European Commission, the Council of Ministers or the European Parliament;
  • issue own-initiative opinions, expressing its views whenever it thinks fit;
  • issue exploratory opinions when the Commission, the Parliament or even the Union Presidency ask it to reflect and make suggestions on a given subject. These suggestions may later lead to a proposal formulated by the Commission.

Also, the Committee may decide to prepare an information report examining any question relevant to EU policies. Finally, following a proposal from a section, a group or a third of its members, EESC may agree resolutions on current issues.

Under EU law, in taking its final decisions, the Council must consider the Committee's opinions, whether they were the result of mandatory or optional consultation.

How are members appointed to EESC?

According to art. 32 of 248/2013 Law, the members for the European Economic and Social Committee will be appointed as follows:

  1. 5 members from each party represented within the Economic and Social Council, appointed by consensus or, in case of disagreement, by a simple majority vote;
  2. where the nomination is not made at least 30 days before the deadline for nomination of representatives in the European Economic and Social Committee, the appointment shall be accomplished by the Government

What is the structure of EESC?

EESC has six sections, covering different aspects of EU work, from economy to social affairs, from transport to environment, from internal market to external relations:

  • Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion – ECO
  • Single Market, Production and Consumption – INT
  • Agriculture, Rural Development, Environment Protection – NAT
  • External Relations – REX
  • Employment, Social Affairs, and Citizenship – SOC
  • Transport, Infrastructure, and Information Society – TEN

Members sit on one or more of these sections, depending on their areas of expertise.