Also known as EESC, the European Economic and Social Committee was established in 1957 with the aim of being an advisory body of nominated individuals representing groups of economic and social interest. The Nice Treaty (2000) refers to the EESC as bringing together representatives of the various economic and social components of organised civil society. The Lisbon Treaty (2009) extends the definition of EESC as composed of representatives of organisations of employers, of the employed, and of other parties representative of civil society, notably in socio-economic, civic, professional and cultural areas
The EESC is an assembly of 344 members from the 27 EU Member States. It is composed of three groups appointed by the Council of Ministers on the basis of lists drawn up by national governments for a renewable five-year term:
- Group 1: employers
- Group 2: trade unions
- Group 3: various economic and social interest actors i.e. farmers, consumers
The EESC has three main roles:
- to advise the Council, Commission and European Parliament, either at their request or on the Committee's own initiative;
- to encourage civil society to become more involved in EU policy-making;
- to bolster the role of civil society in non-EU countries and to help set up advisory structures.
The EESC must be consulted before decisions are taken on economic and social policies. On its own initiative, it may also give opinions on other matters it considers.
For more information, visit EESC website at: www.eesc.europa.eu/index_en.asp