The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

Basics:
 Function:     Represents organized civil society
Members:      344
Term:  Four years
Meetings:     Monthly meetings in Brussels
Address:     Rue Belliard 99, B-1040 Brussels
 Tel:  (32-2) 546 90 11
Website:      http://www.eesc.europa.eu/

 

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is the advisory body to represent different pressure groups across the EU. The Committee represents workers’ and employers’ organizations, farmers’ cooperatives, unions of merchants and artisans, consumer organizations, and various non-governmental organizations. The Committee advises the Council, the Commission, and the Parliament to help ensure EU policymaking and legislation is more democratic. Members of the Committee are divided into three groups:

  • Employers:
  • Workers:
  • Other pressure groups (e.g. self-employed): 

The Committee, which was established by the Treaty of Rome (1957), ensures that the economic and civil society organization has a voice and influence in the decisions of the EU through its opinions and reports. The Committee is consulted for its opinions before various decisions are made in the Council, the Commission, and the Parliament.
 
The Committee is based in Brussels. The members of the Committee are elected by the member governments for four years. The number of members per country depends on that country’s population. Members work for the EU, independently of their governments. With the participation of new member states, the Committee now has 353 members.

Permanent representation of the Committee; one office, three groups (employers, workers, and other pressure groups), six working groups, and the general secretariat. A President and two Vice-Presidents are elected for two-year terms; the President represents the Committee abroad.

The Committee has three key tasks:

  • To advise the Council, the Commission, and the Parliament;
  • Promote the values of European integration, and advance the cause of participatory democracy and civil society organizations,
  • Establishing a consultation mechanism by engaging with nongovernmental organizations in non-member countries.

The committee’s six separate working groups are as follows:

  • Agriculture, Rural Development, and Environment Section;
  • Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion Section;
  • Employment, Social Affairs, and Citizenship Section;
  • Foreign Relations Section;
  • Single Market, Production, and Consumption Section;
  • Transport, Energy, Infrastructure, and the Information Society Section;