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What is the European Committee of the Regions?
The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) has existed since 1994. It was set up by the Maastricht Treaty and its competences greatly increased after the Lisbon treaty entered into force. It is an advisory body of the European Commission, the EU Council and the European Parliament.
The CoR gives regions and cities a formal say in EU law-making ensuring that the position and needs of regional and local authorities are respected. The European Commission, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament must consult the CoR when drawing up legislation on matters concerning local and regional government such as health, education, employment, social policy, economic and social cohesion, transport, energy and climate change. If this is not done, the CoR can bring a case before the Court of Justice. Once the CoR receives a legislative proposal, it prepares and adopts an opinion and circulates it to the relevant EU institutions. The CoR also issues opinions on its own initiative and takes up resolutions in the area of current political issues.
At present the CoR has 329 members representing local and regional authorities from all 27 EU Member States.
Six political groups are represented in the CoR: the European People's Party (EPP), the Party of European Socialists (PES), Renew Europe, the European Alliance Group (EA), the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) and The Greens.
CoR members meet five or six times a year during plenary sessions in Brussels; they also work in six permanent commissions and in exceptional circumstances also in the ad hoc commissions.
Permanent CoR commissions have been listed below:
CIVEX – Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs
COTER – Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget
ECON – Commission for Economic Policy
ENVE – Commission for Environment, Climate Change and Energy
NAT – Commission for Natural Resources
SEDEC – Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture