Economic and Social Committee

Economic and Social Committee in Europe

Introduction to Economic and Social Committee

The Economic and Social Committee is a member advisory body drawn from national interest groups of employers, trade unions, and other occupational groups. It must be consulted by the European Commission and the Council of the European Union on issues dealing with economic and social welfare.

Description of Economic and Social Committee (ESC)

The Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union describes economic and social committee (esc) in the following terms: [1] The EU’s Economic and Social Committee, or EcoSoc, has 222 members and 222 substitutes, nominated by the member states and divided into three groups – employers, trade unionists and other interests. On issues such as workers’ rights, the first two groups usually vote against each other, leaving the third group (consumers, academics, farmers, the self-employed and so forth) to decide the outcome (see more in this European encyclopedia). EcoSoc is a perfect work of corporatist bureaucracy, with its rotating presidency, its tripartite managing bureau, its working groups, its draft reports and its specialist sections. In 1997 it was on the receiving end of a stinging rebuke from the Court of Auditors for abuse of expense accounts.

EcoSoc must, under the Treaty of Rome, be consulted on various issues, though there is no obligation on the Commission or the Council to take its advice (see more in this European encyclopedia). It may also offer opinions (and minority ‘contrary opinions’) on any other subject on which its members wish to pronounce (see more in this European encyclopedia). The idea of abolishing EcoSoc was often canvassed until the Maastricht Treaty surprisingly bolstered it by attempting to graft on to it the newly created Committee of the Regions, with which it shares certain services in Brussels.

Economic and Social Committee and the European Union


See Also

  • ESC


Notas y References

  1. Based on the book “A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union from Aachen to Zollverein”, by Rodney Leach (Profile Books; London)

See Also


Notes and References

  • Information about Economic and Social Committee in the Encarta Online Encyclopedia
  • Guide to Economic and Social Committee

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