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What is the European Committee of the Regions?
The European Committee of the Regions 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.
Upon presenting a new legislative proposal, the Commission must consult the CoR if its proposal concerns any of many policy areas that directly affect local and regional authorities. The Lisbon treaty also made it obligatory for the CoR to be consulted by the European Parliament, giving the Committee the opportunity comment on any changes made to the proposed legislation by members of European Parliament. CoR also has the right to question the Commission, the Parliament and the Council if these institutions fail to take on board its viewpoint. In exceptional circumstances the CoR shall also be entitled to approach the European Court of Justice, if it considers that the European Commission, the Parliament or the Council did not consult it in the manner established in the provisions of the treaty. The CoR also takes up resolutions in the area of current political issues upon its own initiative.
At present the CoR has 350 members and the same number of deputy members from 28 European Union countries.
Five political groups are represented in the CoR: European People’s Party (EPP), Party of European Socialists (PSE), Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), European Alliance (EA) and the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR).
CoR members meet five or six times a year during plenary sessions; they also work in six permanent commissions and in exceptional circumstances also in the ad hoc commissions.
Permanent 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
SEDEC – Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture
ENVE – Commission for Environment, Climate Change and Energy
NAT – Commission for Natural Resources