The European Union Affairs Committee (EUAC) does not support the draft initiated by the European Commission on reducing the number of seats in the Committee of the Regions and the Economic and Social Affairs Committee by one per Member State. The reduction is to start with the least populous Member States, i.e. Estonia, Luxembourg and Cyprus.
“Estonia finds it unacceptable that the Commission proposes to start the reduction of members with the least populous Member States. The reduction could be started with the larger countries where the loss of one seat is not such a proportionally affecting factor for the representation of interest groups in EU institutions,” said the Chairman of the EUAC Kalle Palling.
Palling added that the principles for determining the number of members in advisory committees should be developed in a more transparent way, in cooperation with Member States.
The decision would reduce the number of Estonia’s representatives in the Committees from the current seven to six. Luxembourg and Cyprus would have five representatives instead of the current six.
The Committee of the Regions is an advisory EU body that represents local and regional governments and provides local and regional opinions on EU legislation. Estonia’s seven seats have been distributed between the Association of Estonian Cities and the Association of Municipalities of Estonia.
The European Economic and Social Affairs Committee is the representative and advisory body of the civil society vis-à-vis the European Commission, Council of the EU and the European Parliament. The Estonian members of the Committee come from among employers, employees and other interest groups. The membership list is approved by the Government, based on the proposals of NGOs to the Minister of Social Affairs.
The EU founding treaties provide 350 seats for each of the two Committees. The accession of Croatia meant a temporary increase to 353. The European Commission justifies the reduction of seats in the Committees with the need to respect the terms of the EU founding treaties.
The Riigikogu Press Service
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