European Economic and Social Committee

European Economic and Social Committee

European Economic and Social Committee (Article 301 TFEU)

Content about European Economic And Social Committee from the publication “The ABC of European Union law” (2010, European Union) by Klaus-Dieter Borchardt.

The purpose of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is to give the various economic and social groups (especially employers and employees, farmers, carriers, business people, craft workers, the professions and managers of small and medium-sized businesses) representation in an EU institution. It also provides a forum for consumers, environmental groups and associations.

Context of European Economic And Social Committee in the European Union

The EESC is made up of a maximum of 350 members (advisers), drawn from the most representative organisations in the individual Member States. They are appointed for five years by the Council, which, acting in unanimity, adopts a list of members drawn up in accordance with the proposals made by each Member State.

More about European Economic And Social Committee in the European Union

The members are divided up into three groups (employers, workers and other parties representative of civil society). Opinions to be adopted at plenary sessions are drawn up by ‘study groups’ consisting of EESC members (in which their alternates may also participate as experts). The EESC also works closely with the committees of the European Parliament.

Other Aspects

The EESC, which was established under the Treaties of Rome, must in certain circumstances be consulted by the Council acting on a proposal from the Commission. It also issues opinions on its own initiative. These opinions represent a synthesis of sometimes very divergent viewpoints and are extremely useful for the Commission and the Council because they show what changes the groups directly affected by a proposal would like to see. The EESC’s own-initiative opinions have on a number of occasions had considerable political implications, one example being that of 22 February 1989 on basic social rights in the EU, which provided the basis for the ‘Social Charter’ proposed by the Commission (and adopted by 11 Member States).

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