Committee of the Regions

Representative of Regional Identities

The Committee of the Regions  is the youngest institution of the European Union (EU). It was established in 1993 by the Treaty on European Union as a representative of the EU regions. Its creation was driven by efforts to respect the regional and local identities within the EU and to participate in the creation and realisation of EU policies in a variety of areas.
The committee is a consultative body that has the potential to influence other EU institutions. In certain cases the European Commission and the Council of the EU are obliged to refer their opinions to the Committee for consultation. The Committee may also, on its own initiative, prepare and submit its opinions in other matters. The Committee has its seat in Brussels.

Involvement of local governments

The Committee of the Regions is concerned with the application of the principle of subsidiarity, which is established by the Treaty on the European Union. This principle allows for the participation of local and regional governments which are directly affected by the specific measures, in the creation and realisation of EU policy. This creates a significant obstacle to centralised decision-making at EU or national level. The application of the subsidiarity principle lies in the transfer of responsibility for decision-making to those public administration bodies which are closest to the actual citizens.
The Committee meets regularly for five plenary meetings in Brussels and two extraordinary meetings in one of the Member States. It has 344 members, who are nominated by the Member States and consequently unanimously appointed by the Council for four-year terms. The representatives are selected from among the elected officials of the local and regional governments of the individual countries. The representatives then elect a sixty-member bureau which administers the Committee’s workload and the individual agenda , for a two-year term. The bureau is headed by the President who convenes each meeting of the Committee and represents it externally. The current President, serving since February 2008, is Luc Van den Brande.

Last update: 16.8.2011 16:02

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