Consolidated version of the Rules of Procedure of the European Economic and Social Committee — On 14 July 2010 , the European Economic and Social Committee adopted the consolidated version of its Rules of Procedure
OJ L 324, 9.12.2010, p. 52–68 (BG, ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SK, SL, FI, SV)
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Consolidated version of the Rules of Procedure of the European Economic and Social Committee
On 14 July 2010, the European Economic and Social Committee adopted the consolidated version of its Rules of Procedure
This edition combines:
The Rules of Procedure of the European Economic and Social Committee adopted at the plenary session of 17 and 18 July 2002 (OJ No L 268 of 4 October 2002), which entered into force on 1 August 2002, in accordance with Rule 78;
the changes resulting from the following:
1. amendments of 27 February 2003 to the Rules of Procedure of the European Economic and Social Committee (OJ L 258 of 10 October 2003);
2. amendments of 31 March 2004 to the Rules of Procedure of the European Economic and Social Committee (OJ L 310 of 7 October 2004);
3. amendments of 5 July 2006 to the Rules of Procedure of the European Economic and Social Committee (OJ L 93 of 3 April 2007);
4. amendments of 12 March 2008 to the Rules of Procedure of the European Economic and Social Committee (OJ L 159 of 20 June 2009);
5. amendments of 14 July 2010 to the Rules of Procedure of the European Economic and Social Committee.
This edition has been produced by the general secretariat of the European Economic and Social Committee and groups together the different amendments approved by the Committee assembly.
The implementing provisions for the Rules of Procedure, which have been adopted by the Committee bureau in accordance with Rule 77(2a), are presented separately.
1. The European Economic and Social Committee represents the various economic and social components of organised civil society. It is an institutional consultative body established by the 1957 Treaty of Rome.
2. The Committee’s consultative role enables its members, and hence the organisations they represent, to participate in the European Union decision–making process. With views occasionally being diametrically opposed, the Committee’s discussions often require real negotiations involving not only the usual social partners, i.e. employers (group I) and wage-earners (group II) but also all the other socio-occupational interests represented (group III). This expertise, these discussions and negotiations and the search for convergence may improve the quality and credibility of the European Union decision-making process, inasmuch as they make it more comprehensible and acceptable for Europe’s citizens and increase the transparency which is so vital for democracy.
3. Within the European institutional set–up, the EESC fulfils a specific role: it is the prime forum in which the organisations of civil society in the European Union can have their views represented and discussed, and it is especially well placed to act as an intermediary between organised civil society and the European Union institutions.
4. As a chamber for debating and for drawing up opinions, the EESC helps to strengthen the democratic credentials of the process of building the European Union, including the promotion of relations between the EU and socio-economic groupings in third countries. In so doing it helps to promote a genuine identification with Europe.
5. To carry out its missions successfully, on 17 July 2002, the EESC adopted its Rules of Procedure , in accordance with the second paragraph of Article 260 of the Treaty establishing the European Community.
6. On 14 July 2010, the EESC’s plenary assembly adopted the latest codified version of these Rules of Procedure.
ORGANISATION OF THE COMMITTEE
INSTALLATION OF THE COMMITTEE IN OFFICE
1. The Committee shall hold office for terms of five years.
2. The first meeting of the Committee following each five-yearly renewal shall be convened by the oldest member, if possible not later than one month after the members of the Committee have been notified of their appointment by the Council.
1. The Committee shall consist of the following bodies: the assembly, the bureau, the president and the sections.
2. The Committee shall be divided into three groups, the composition and role of which are set out in Rule 27.
3. The members of the Committee may not be bound by any mandatory instructions. They shall be completely independent in the performance of their duties, in the general interest of the Union. During the performance of their duties and on journeys to and from the place of meetings, members shall enjoy the privileges and immunities established in the Protocol on the privileges and immunities of the European Union. Specifically, they shall enjoy freedom of movement, personal inviolability and immunity.
1. The Committee recognises and adopts the following European Union symbols:
a) the flag representing a circle of twelve gold stars on a blue background;
b) the anthem taken from the "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony;
c) the motto "United in diversity".
2. The Committee shall celebrate Europe Day on 9 May.
3. The flag shall be displayed in the buildings of the Committee and to mark official occasions.
4. The anthem shall be played at the opening of every inaugural session at the beginning of a term of office and at other formal sessions, e.g. when welcoming heads of state or government, or new members following an enlargement.
1. The election of the bureau members shall comply with the principle of observing an overall and geographical balance between the groups, with at least one, and a maximum of three, representatives from each Member State. The groups shall negotiate and draft a proposal for bureau membership which shall be submitted to the assembly.
The bureau of the Committee shall comprise:
a) the president, the two vice-presidents;
b) the three group presidents, elected as provided for in Rule 27;
c) the section presidents.
d) a variable number of members, totalling no more than the number of Member States.
2. The president shall be elected in turn from among the members of the three groups.
3. The president and vice-presidents may not be re-elected. For the two and a half years immediately following the expiry of his term of office the president may not be a member of the bureau as a vice-president or as the president of a group or section.
4. The vice-presidents shall be elected from among the members of the two groups to which the president does not belong.
1. At its first meeting, held in pursuance of Rule 1, the Committee, with the interim president in the chair, shall elect from among its members a president, two vice-presidents, the presidents of the sections and the other members of the bureau other than the group presidents for a term of two and a half years, commencing on the date of the installation of the Committee in office.
2. Only matters pertaining to these elections may be discussed under the chairmanship of the interim president.
The meeting at which the bureau of the Committee is elected for the last two and a half years of a five-year period shall be convened by the outgoing president. It shall be held at the beginning of the session of the month in which the term of office of the first bureau expires. The chair shall be taken by the outgoing president.
1. The Committee may set up an election panel, drawn from its members and consisting of one representative per Member State, to receive candidatures and to submit a list of candidates to the assembly, taking due account of the provisions of Rule 3.
2. The Committee, acting in accordance with the provisions of this Rule, shall decide on the list or lists of candidates for the bureau and the presidency.
3. The Committee shall elect the members of the bureau other than the presidents of the groups, holding more than one ballot if necessary, according to the procedure for voting by list.
4. Only complete lists of candidates conforming to the provisions of Rule 3 and accompanied by a declaration of acceptance from each candidate may be admitted to the vote.
5. Those candidates on the list which obtains the highest number and at least one-quarter of the valid votes cast shall be declared elected as members of the bureau.
6. The assembly shall then elect the president and the vice-presidents of the Committee by a simple majority.
7. The Committee shall then elect the presidents of the sections by a simple majority.
8. Finally, the Committee shall vote on the bureau as a whole. At least two-thirds of the total number of valid votes must be cast in favour.
If a bureau member is unable to discharge the duties attaching to his post or in the cases provided for in Rule 70(2), such a member shall be replaced for the remainder of his term of office in accordance with Rule 6. Replacement shall be subject to a vote by the assembly on the basis of a proposal from the group concerned.
1. Meetings of the bureau shall be convened by the president, acting either ex officio or at the request of ten members.
2. Minutes of each bureau meeting shall be drawn up. These minutes shall be submitted to the bureau for approval.
3. The bureau shall lay down its own procedural rules.
4. It shall lay down the organisation and working procedures of the Committee. It shall adopt provisions for implementing the Rules of Procedure after consulting the groups.
5. The bureau and the president shall exercise the budgetary and financial powers provided for in the Financial Regulation and the Committee’s Rules of Procedure.
6. The bureau shall determine the implementing arrangements regarding the travel and subsistence expenses of members, their alternates, appointed in accordance with Rule 18, delegates and their alternates appointed in accordance with Rule 24, and of the experts appointed in accordance with Rule 23, in compliance with the budget and financial procedures.
7. The bureau shall have political responsibility for the general management of the Committee. In particular, it shall ensure that the activities of the Committee, its bodies and its staff are in keeping with its institutional aims.
8. The bureau shall be responsible for ensuring that in carrying out the tasks entrusted to it by the Treaty, the Committee makes good use of the human, budgetary and technical resources available to it. The bureau shall, for instance, take part in the budgetary procedure and in the organisation of the secretariat.
9. The bureau may set up ad hoc groups, drawn from among its members, to examine any questions falling within its competence. Other members may also be involved in the work of these groups, except when issues concerning the appointment of permanent staff are discussed.
10. Every six months the bureau shall examine, on the basis of a report drawn up for this purpose, the action taken on opinions delivered by the Committee.
11. At the request of a member or of the secretary-general, the bureau shall clarify the interpretation of the Rules of Procedure and its Implementing Provisions. Its findings shall be binding subject to the right of appeal to the assembly to make a final decision.
12. At the time of the Committee’s five-yearly renewal, the outgoing bureau shall discharge current business until the first meeting of the new Committee. In exceptional cases, it may make an outgoing member responsible for the implementation of specific tasks, or tasks subject to time limits, that require a particular level of expertise.
Within the framework of interinstitutional cooperation, the bureau may instruct the president to conclude cooperation agreements with the institutions and other bodies of the European Union.
1. A "budget group" shall be set up to prepare all draft decisions of a financial or budgetary nature to be adopted by the bureau.
2. The budget group shall be chaired by one of the two vice-presidents under the authority of the president. It shall have nine members, appointed by the bureau on the proposal of the groups.
2a. The budget group shall participate in the drawing-up of the Committee budget, issue an opinion on it for the approval of the bureau and ensure that the budget is properly implemented and accounted for.
3. For specified additional matters the bureau may delegate its decision-making power to the budget group.
4. The budget group’s decisions shall be governed by the principles of unity and budgetary accuracy, annuality, equilibrium, unit of account, universality, specification, sound financial management and transparency. Its decisions shall be adopted by the following procedure:
a) proposals adopted unanimously by the budget group shall be submitted to the bureau for approval without debate,
b) proposals adopted by simply majority or refusals of such proposals shall be justified in order that they may be examined subsequently by the Committee bureau.
5. The budget group may distribute tasks among its members; however, it shall adopt its decisions by consensus.
6. The president of the budget group shall chair the delegation responsible for negotiations with the budgetary authorities and shall report thereon to the bureau.
7. The budget group’s duties shall include advising the president, the bureau and the Committee and exercising control over the various services.
1. A communication group shall be set up, responsible for guiding and monitoring the Committee’s communication strategy. Each year it shall draw up for the Committee a report on the implementation of this strategy and a programme for the year ahead.
2. The communication group shall be chaired by one of the two vice-presidents under the authority of the president. It shall have nine members, appointed by the bureau on the proposal of the groups.
3. The communication group shall coordinate the activities of the structures responsible for communication and relations with the press and media, and ensure that such activities are consistent with the approved strategy and programmes.
PRESIDENCY AND THE PRESIDENT
1. The presidency shall comprise the president and the two vice-presidents.
2. The Committee presidency shall meet with the group presidents to prepare the work of the bureau and the assembly. The section presidents may be invited to take part in these meetings.
3. In order to define the Committee’s programme of work and assess its progress, the presidency shall meet at least twice a year with the presidents of the groups and sections.
1. The president shall direct all the work of the Committee and its internal bodies, in accordance with the Treaty and with these Rules. He shall have all the powers necessary to direct the deliberations of the Committee and ensure that they proceed smoothly.
2. The president shall involve the vice-presidents in his activities on a permanent basis; he may delegate to them specific tasks or responsibilities falling within his remit.
3. The president may entrust specific tasks to the secretary-general for a limited period.
4. The president shall represent the Committee. He may delegate this authority of representation to a vice-president or, if appropriate, to a member.
5. The president shall report to the Committee on action and measures taken on its behalf between plenary sessions. These reports shall not be followed by a debate.
6. After his election, the president shall present his work programme for his term of office to the plenary session. He shall also present a review of achievements at the end of his term.
These two presentations may be debated by the assembly.
The two vice-presidents shall be respectively president of the budget group and president of the communication group and shall perform these tasks under the authority of the president.
1. The enlarged presidency shall comprise the president of the Committee, the two vice-presidents and the group presidents.
2. The enlarged presidency shall have the role of preparing and facilitating the work of the bureau.
1. The Committee shall comprise six sections. Other sections may be set up by the plenary assembly on a proposal from the bureau, in the fields covered by the Treaties.
2. The Committee shall set up its sections at the inaugural session following each five-yearly renewal.
3. The list of sections and their terms of reference may be re-examined at the time of each five-yearly renewal.
1. The number of members of the sections shall be decided by the Committee on a proposal from its bureau.
2. Apart from the president, every member of the Committee must be a member of at least one section.
3. No member may belong to more than two sections, except if he comes from a Member State where the number of members is nine or less. However, no member may belong to more than three sections.
4. The members of the sections shall be appointed by the Committee. Appointments shall be for two and a half years and shall be renewable.
5. The procedure laid down for the appointment of section members shall also be followed for the replacement of such members.
1. The bureau of a section, elected for a term of two and a half years, shall comprise twelve members including a president and three vice-presidents, one from each group.
2. Elections of section presidents and of other members of section bureaux shall be conducted by the Committee.
3. Section presidents and other members of section bureaux may be re-elected.
4. The presidency of three sections shall be rotated between the groups every two and a half years. The same group may not hold the presidency of any section for a period exceeding five consecutive years.
1. It shall be the task of the sections to adopt opinions or information reports on questions referred to them in accordance with Rule 32.
2. The sections may set up from among their members a study group or drafting group or appoint a rapporteur working alone to deal with the questions referred to them.
3. The appointment of rapporteurs and, where appropriate, co-rapporteurs, and the composition of study and drafting groups shall be decided on the basis of proposals from the groups.
3a. In order that study groups may be set up quickly and in the event of agreement between the three group presidents on the proposed appointment of rapporteurs and, where appropriate, co-rapporteurs, and on the composition of study or drafting groups, the section presidents shall take the steps required to ensure that work can begin.
4. The rapporteur, with the help of his expert, where appropriate, shall be responsible for monitoring action taken on an opinion after its adoption at the plenary session. He shall be assisted in this task by the secretariat of the section concerned. The section shall be informed of the findings of such monitoring.
5. Study groups may not become permanent bodies, save in exceptional cases for which the Committee bureau’s prior authorisation is required for the same two-and-a-half-year period.
1. Any member of the Committee unable to attend a preparatory meeting may arrange to be represented by his alternate.
1a. Alternates shall have no voting rights.
1b. However, should a member be president of a section or study group, member of the section bureau or rapporteur, he may not be represented by his alternate in the performance of these duties.
2. The name and capacity of the alternate selected shall be communicated to the bureau of the Committee for its approval.
3. During the preparatory work the alternate shall carry out the same duties as the member whom he replaces and shall be subject to the same rules as regards travel and subsistence expenses.
SUBCOMMITTEES AND RAPPORTEUR-GENERAL
1. On the initiative of the bureau, the Committee may, in exceptional cases, set up subcommittees drawn from its members to produce, for submission initially to the bureau and then to the assembly, draft opinions or information reports on strictly horizontal general matters.
2. In the periods between plenary sessions the bureau may set up subcommittees, subject to subsequent confirmation by the Committee. In no case may a subcommittee be set up for more than one issue. A subcommittee shall be automatically dissolved as soon as the draft opinion or information report which it has prepared is voted on by the Committee.
3. Subcommittees set up for questions coming within the purview of two or more sections shall be made up of members of those sections.
4. The rules governing sections shall be applicable, mutatis mutandis, to subcommittees.
In the event of referrals covering topics of secondary interest or of an urgent nature, the Committee may appoint a rapporteur-general, who shall address the plenary assembly alone and without first addressing the section.
OBSERVATORIES, HEARINGS, EXPERTS
1. The Committee may set up observatories when the nature, extent and complexity of the subject to be dealt with calls for particular flexibility in the working methods, procedures and instruments to be used.
2. An observatory shall be set up by a decision of the plenary assembly, ratifying a decision taken earlier by the bureau on a proposal from a group or from a section.
3. The decision to set up an observatory shall define the object, structure, composition and duration in each case.
4. The observatories may draw up an annual information document on the application of the horizontal clauses in the Treaty (the social clause, environmental clause and consumer protection clause) and their impact on the policies of the European Union. This report may be forwarded to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, if the assembly so decides.
5. Each observatory shall work under the oversight and supervision of a section.
If an issue under discussion is of sufficient importance, the various bodies and working units of the Committee may invite guest speakers from outside the Committee to a hearing. If the use of guest speakers involves additional costs, the body or unit concerned must seek prior authorisation from the Committee bureau and submit a programme giving reasons why it considers that certain aspects call for outside assistance.
Insofar as such action is essential for preparing certain tasks, the president may, on his own initiative, or on a proposal from the groups, sections, rapporteurs or co-rapporteurs, appoint experts under the terms laid down by the bureau in line with the provisions of Rule 8(6). Experts taking part in preparatory work shall be subject to the same conditions as those laid down for members as regards travel and subsistence expenses.
1. The Committee shall have the option of setting up consultative commissions. These shall be made up of members of the Committee and of delegates from areas of civil society that the Committee wishes to involve in its work.
2. Such commissions shall be set up by a decision of the plenary assembly which shall confirm a decision taken by the bureau. The decision setting up such commissions shall define their object, their structure, their composition, their duration and their rules.
3. In accordance with Rule 24(1) and (2), a "consultative commission on industrial change" (CCMI) may be set up, made up of members of the European Economic and Social Committee and delegates from organisations representing the various economic and social sectors as well as civil society organisations concerned by industrial change. The president of the commission shall be a member of the Committee bureau, to which he shall report every two and a half years on the activity of the CCMI. He shall be chosen from among the members of the bureau referred to in Rule 3(1)(d) of these Rules of Procedure. Delegates and alternates participating in preparatory work shall be subject to the same rules as members as regards travel and subsistence expenses.
DIALOGUE WITH ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL ORGANISATIONS IN EU AND NON-EU STATES
1. The Committee, on the initiative of the bureau, may maintain structured relations with economic and social councils and similar institutions and with civil society organisations of an economic and social nature in the European Union and non-EU countries.
2. In the same way, it shall undertake actions designed to foster the establishment of economic and social councils or similar institutions in countries which do not yet have them.
1. The Committee, on a proposal from the bureau, may appoint delegations to maintain relations with the various economic and social components of organised civil society in states or associations of states outside the European Union.
2. Cooperation between the Committee and partners from organised civil society in the candidate countries shall take the form of joint consultative committees if these have been formed by the Association Councils. Otherwise it shall take place in contact groups.
3. The joint consultative committees and contact groups shall draw up joint information reports and declarations, which may be forwarded by the Committee to the relevant institutions and to the actors concerned.
GROUPS AND CATEGORIES
1. The Committee shall be made up of three groups of members representing respectively employers, employees and the various other economic and social components of organised civil society.
2. The groups shall elect their presidents and vice-presidents. These groups shall participate in the preparation, organisation and coordination of the business of the Committee and its constituent bodies, and help supply them with information. Each group shall be provided with a secretariat.
2a. The groups shall propose to the assembly candidates for election as president and vice-presidents, in accordance with Rule 6(6) and respecting the principle of equality between men and women as defined by the institutions of the European Union.
3. The group presidents shall be members of the bureau in accordance with Rule 3(1)(b).
4. The group presidents shall assist the Committee presidency in the formulation of policy and, where appropriate, in the monitoring of expenditure.
5. The group presidents shall meet with the Committee presidency to assist in preparing the work of the bureau and the assembly.
6. The groups shall make proposals to the assembly for the election of section presidents under Rule 6(7) and of section bureaux under Rule 16.
7. The groups shall make proposals for membership of the budget group to be set up by the bureau under Rule 10(1).
8. The groups shall make proposals for the membership of observatories and consultative commissions to be set up by the assembly under Rules 21 and 24 respectively.
9. The groups shall make proposals for the membership of delegations and joint consultative committees to be set up in accordance with Rules 26(1) and (2) respectively.
10. The groups shall make proposals for rapporteurs and for the composition of study and drafting groups to be appointed/set up by the sections under Rule 17(3).
11. In applying Rules 27(6) to 27(10), the groups shall take account of the representation within the Committee of the Member States, the various components of economic and social activity, terms of reference and the criteria of good management.
12. Members may, on a voluntary basis, join one of the groups subject to the approval of their eligibility by the members of that group. No member shall belong to more than one group at the same time.
13. The general secretariat shall provide members not belonging to a group with the material and technical support required for the performance of their duties. Their participation in study groups and other internal bodies shall be the subject of a decision by the Committee president after consultation of the groups.
1. Members of the Committee may, on a voluntary basis, form categories representing the various economic and social interests of organised civil society in the European Union.
2. A category may be made up of members from the three groups within the Committee. No member shall belong to more than one category at the same time.
3. The creation of a category shall be subject to approval being granted by the bureau, who shall inform the assembly.
PROCEDURE OF THE COMMITTEE
CONSULTATION OF THE COMMITTEE
1. The Committee shall be convened by its president to adopt opinions requested by the Council, the Commission or the European Parliament.
2. It shall be convened by its president, on a proposal from its bureau and with the agreement of the majority of its members, to deliver, on its own initiative, opinions on any question pertaining to the European Union, its policies and their possible developments.
1. Requests for opinions referred to in Rule 29(1) shall be addressed to the president of the Committee. The president, in consultation with the bureau, shall organise the work of the Committee, taking account as far as possible of the time limits set in the request for an opinion.
2. The bureau shall determine the order of priority of opinions allocating them among categories.
3. The sections shall draw up a proposal for allocating opinions among the three categories below. They shall give a provisional indication of the size of the study group. After discussions between the Committee presidency and the group presidents, the proposal shall be submitted to the bureau for a decision. In special cases, the presidents of the groups may propose that the size of the study group be modified. At its next meeting the bureau shall confirm this new proposal and lay down the final size of the study group.
The three categories shall be defined according to the following criteria:
Category A (referrals on topics identified as a priority). This category includes:
- all requests for exploratory opinions (Commission, European Parliament, future Council presidencies);
- all adopted proposals for own-initiative opinions;
- certain mandatory or optional referrals.
Such referrals shall be handled by study groups of various sizes (6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21 or 24 members) and possessing appropriate resources.
Category B (mandatory or optional referrals covering topics of secondary interest or of an urgent nature).
Such referrals shall normally be handled by a rapporteur working alone or a rapporteur-general. In exceptional cases, following a decision by the bureau, a category B referral may be handled by a three-member drafting group (category "B +"). The number of meetings and working languages shall be decided by the bureau.
Category C (mandatory or optional referrals of a purely technical nature).
Such referrals shall be dealt with in a standard opinion, which the bureau shall submit to the assembly. This procedure shall not involve either the appointment of a rapporteur or examination by a section, but simply the adoption or rejection of the opinion at the plenary session. When such items come up at the plenary session, the assembly shall first of all be asked whether it is in favour of or against them being handled according to the above-mentioned procedure, and then to vote for or against the adoption of the standard opinion.
4. For urgent matters, the provisions of Rule 59 of these Rules shall apply.
The Committee may, on a proposal from the bureau, decide to prepare an information report with a view to examining any question pertaining to the policies of the European Union and their possible developments.
The Committee may, following a proposal from a section, a group or a third of its members, issue resolutions on a current topic, which shall be adopted by the assembly in accordance with Rule 56(2). Draft resolutions shall be given priority on the agenda for the plenary session.
ORGANISATION OF WORK
A. Work of the sections
1. When an opinion or information report is to be produced, the bureau, in accordance with Rule 8(4), shall designate the section which is to be responsible for preparing the work in question. Where the matter for consideration is clearly within the purview of a given section, the president shall designate that section and inform the bureau of his decision.
2. Where a section that has been designated to prepare an opinion wishes to hear the views of the Consultative Commission on Industrial Change (CCMI) or where the CCMI wishes to set out its views on an opinion allocated to a section, the bureau may authorise the CCMI to draw up a supplementary opinion on one or more of the issues covered by the referral. The bureau may also take this decision on its own initiative. The bureau shall organise the Committee’s work in such a way that the CCMI is able to prepare its opinion in good time to be taken into consideration by the section.
The section alone shall be responsible for reporting to the Committee. It shall however append to its opinion the supplementary opinion drawn up by the Consultative Commission on Industrial Change.
3. The president of the section concerned shall be notified by the Committee president of the decision and of the time limit for the completion of the section’s work.
4. The Committee president shall inform the members of the Committee of the referral to the section and of the date on which the subject is to be dealt with by the plenary session.
The Committee president, in agreement with the bureau, may authorise a section to hold a joint meeting with a European Parliament committee, or a Committee of the Regions commission.
Sections to which a question has been referred in accordance with these Rules shall be convened by their president.
1. Meetings of the sections shall be prepared by the section presidents in consultation with the section bureau.
2. Meetings shall be chaired by the section president or, in his absence, by one of the vice-presidents.
1. A quorum shall exist at section meetings if over half of the full members are present or represented.
2. If there is not a quorum, the president shall close the meeting and convene a further meeting to be held at a time and in a manner which he considers appropriate, but during the course of the same day; at that further meeting a quorum shall exist irrespective of the number of members present or represented.
The sections shall adopt opinions with reference to the draft opinion submitted by the rapporteur and, where appropriate, the co-rapporteur.
1. Section opinions shall contain only texts adopted by the section in accordance with the procedure laid down in Rule 56.
2. The text of proposed amendments which have been rejected, together with the result of the voting thereon, shall be appended to the opinion if the amendments received at least one-quarter of the votes cast.
Section opinions, together with all the documents appended thereto in accordance with Rule 39, shall be sent by the president of the section to the president of the Committee and shall be laid before the Committee by its bureau as soon as possible. These documents shall be made available to the members of the Committee in good time.
Concise minutes of each section meeting shall be drawn up and submitted to the section for approval.
The president, in agreement with the bureau or where appropriate the assembly, may refer a question back to a section if he considers that the procedure laid down in these Rules for drawing up opinions has not been adhered to or that further study is necessary.
1. Without prejudice to Rule 17(2), the preparatory work of the sections shall be carried out, in principle, within a study group.
2. The rapporteur, assisted by his expert and, where appropriate, by one or more co-rapporteurs, shall study the question referred, take account of the views expressed and, on this basis, draw up the draft opinion, which shall be sent to the president of the section.
3. There shall be no voting at study group meetings.
B. Proceedings of the plenary sessions
The assembly, comprising all the members of the Committee, shall meet in plenary session.
1. Sessions shall be prepared by the president in consultation with the bureau. The bureau shall meet before each session, and where appropriate during a session, to organise the proceedings.
2. The bureau may set a time limit for the general discussion of each opinion at the session.
1. The draft agenda drawn up by the bureau on a proposal from the Committee presidency in collaboration with the group presidents shall be sent by the Committee president to all Committee members and to the Council, the Commission and the European Parliament at least fifteen days before the opening of the relevant session.
2. The draft agenda shall be submitted to the assembly for approval at the opening of each session. Once the agenda has been adopted, the items must be examined during the sitting for which they are scheduled. The documents necessary for the Committee’s deliberations shall be made available to the members in accordance with Rule 40.
1. A quorum shall exist at session sittings if more than half of the members of the Committee are present or represented.
2. If there is not a quorum, the president shall close the sitting and convene a further sitting to be held at a time he considers appropriate but during the same session; at that further sitting there shall be a quorum whatever the number of members present or represented.
When the agenda is submitted for adoption, the inclusion of any topical item shall be announced, where appropriate, by the president.
The Committee may amend the draft agenda for the purpose of examining draft resolutions submitted in accordance with the procedure referred to in Rule 31a.
1. The president shall open session sittings, preside over discussions and ensure that these Rules are observed. The president shall be assisted by the vice-presidents.
2. If the president is absent, the vice-presidents shall deputise. If the vice-presidents are absent, the oldest member of the bureau shall deputise.
3. The Committee shall base its deliberations on the work of the section competent to report to the assembly on the questions concerned.
4. Where a text has been adopted by a section with less than five votes against, the bureau may propose that it be included on the plenary session agenda among the items to be voted on without a discussion.
This procedure shall not apply if:
- at least twenty-five members signify their objection,
- an amendment is tabled for discussion during the plenary session or
- a section decides that the text should be discussed at the plenary session.
5. If a text fails to secure a majority of votes in the assembly, the president of the Committee may, with the consent of the assembly, refer the text back to the competent section for re-examination or appoint a rapporteur-general, who shall submit a new draft text at the same or another session.
1. Proposals for amendments must be drawn up in writing, signed by the proposers and lodged with the secretariat before the opening of the relevant session.
2. In the interests of efficient organisation of the proceedings of the assembly, the bureau shall fix the arrangements for the lodging of proposals for amendments.
3. The Committee shall, however, allow proposals for amendments to be lodged up to the opening of the relevant session sitting, provided such proposals are signed by at least twenty-five members.
4. Proposals for amendments must specify the part of the text to which they refer and be supported by a brief explanatory statement. Amendments that are repetitive in their form and content shall be examined together.
5. As a general rule, for each amendment the assembly shall hear only the proposer, a member who is against the proposed amendment and the rapporteur.
6. When a proposal for an amendment is examined, the rapporteur may put forward compromise proposals orally with the agreement of the proposer of the amendment. In such cases the Committee shall only vote on these compromise proposals.
7. Any amendment or amendments which aim to set out a generally divergent view to the section opinion shall be described as a counter-opinion.
The bureau shall be the body with the authority to decide on such a description. It shall take its decision after consulting the president of the section concerned.
The bureau may decide, after this consultation, to refer the draft opinion, together with the counter-opinion, back to the section for further study. In urgent circumstances, the Committee president shall have authority to do this.
8. Where appropriate, the president of the Committee, in consultation with the president and the rapporteur of the competent section, may propose to the Committee that any amendments be dealt with in such a way as to ensure that the final text is consistent.
1. The president, either on his own initiative or at the request of a member, may invite the Committee to decide on a limitation of speaking time or the number of speakers, the adjournment of a sitting or the closure of a discussion. Once a discussion has been declared closed, no member may speak except to explain his vote; such explanations of voting shall be made after the relevant vote has been taken and shall not exceed the speaking time allotted by the president.
2. A member may at any time request and be given precedence to speak during a discussion for the purpose of submitting a procedural motion.
1. Minutes of each plenary session shall be drawn up and submitted to the Committee for its approval.
2. The final version of such minutes shall be signed by the president and the secretary-general of the Committee.
1. Opinions of the Committee shall consist of, in addition to the legal basis of the opinion, an explanatory statement and the views of the Committee on the question as a whole.
2. The result of the voting on the opinion as a whole shall be set out in a preamble to the text of the opinion. Where a recorded vote is held, the names of the voters shall be given.
3. If proposed amendments are rejected by the plenary session but receive at least one-quarter of the votes cast, their texts and explanatory statements shall be appended to the relevant Committee opinions, together with the results of the voting. This requirement shall also apply to counter-opinions.
4. Section opinion texts that are rejected in favour of amendments adopted by the assembly shall also be appended to Committee opinions together with the results of the voting, provided that at least one-quarter of the votes cast were in favour of retention of the section opinion texts.
5. When one of the groups formed within the Committee under Rule 27 or one of the categories of economic and social activity formed under Rule 28 adopts a divergent but uniform standpoint on a matter submitted to the assembly for examination, its position may be summarised in a brief statement to be appended to the opinion, where the debate on that matter has been concluded by a recorded vote.
1. Opinions adopted by the Committee and minutes of Committee sessions shall be sent to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission.
2. Opinions adopted by the Committee may be forwarded to any other institution or concerned entity.
METHODS OF VOTING
1. The valid forms of votes shall be votes for, votes against and abstentions.
2. Except where otherwise provided in these Rules, adoption of the texts and decisions of the Committee and its constituent bodies shall be by a majority of the votes cast for and against.
3. Voting shall be by open ballot, by recorded vote, or by secret ballot.
4. Voting on a resolution, a proposed amendment, a counter-opinion, an opinion or any other text shall be by recorded vote if one-quarter of the members present or represented so request.
5. Election to the various representative posts shall always be by secret ballot. Other votes may be taken by secret ballot if a majority of the members present or represented so request.
6. If the vote is a tie (an equal number of votes for and against), the chairman of the meeting shall have a casting vote.
7. The acceptance by the rapporteur of an amendment shall not constitute a reason for not voting on that amendment.
1. Where the urgency results from a deadline for the submission of its opinion imposed on the Committee by the Council, by the European Parliament or by the Commission, the urgency procedure may be applied if the president finds that this is necessary to enable the Committee to adopt its opinion in good time.
2. In cases of urgency at Committee level the president may, immediately and without consulting the bureau beforehand, take all requisite steps to enable the Committee to carry out its work. He shall inform the members of the bureau of the steps which he takes.
3. Arrangements made by the president under the urgency procedure shall be submitted to the following session of the Committee for confirmation.
1. Where the urgency results from the deadlines imposed on a section for issuing an opinion, the president of that section may, with the agreement of the three group presidents, organise the work of the section otherwise than as provided in these Rules.
2. Arrangements made by the president of a section under the urgency procedure shall be submitted to the following meeting of that section for confirmation.
ABSENCE AND REPRESENTATION
1. Any member of the Committee who is unable to attend a meeting to which he has been duly invited must give the president concerned advance notice of his absence.
2. Where a member of the Committee fails to attend more than three consecutive plenary sessions of the Committee without appointing a member to represent him and without providing a reason recognised as valid, the president may, after consulting the bureau and inviting the member concerned to explain his absence, call upon the Council to remove that member from office.
3. Where a member of a section fails to attend more than three consecutive meetings of the section without appointing a member to represent him and without providing a reason recognised as valid, the president of that section may, after inviting the member concerned to explain his absence, call upon him to yield his seat on the section to another member and shall inform the bureau of this fact.
1. Any member of the Committee who is unable to attend a Committee session or a section meeting may, after notifying the president concerned, delegate his voting right, in writing, to another member of the Committee or section.
2. No member may hold more than one delegated voting right at a plenary session or section meeting.
1. Any member who is unable to attend a meeting to which he has been duly invited may, after giving written notice to the president concerned directly or through his group secretariat, arrange for another member of the Committee to represent him at the relevant meeting. This possibility does not apply for meetings of the bureau or budget group.
2. Such proxies shall be valid solely for the meeting in respect of which they are issued.
3. At the time of the constitution of a study group, any member designated as a member of that study group may ask to be replaced by another member of the Committee. Such replacement shall apply for a specific question and for the duration of the work of the section on that question. It may not be revoked. However, should the work of the study group continue beyond the end of a two-and-a-half or five-year term, the replacement shall only remain valid until the end of the term during which it was decided.
PUBLICATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF COMMITTEE TEXTS – ADMISSION OF THE PUBLIC
1. The Committee shall publish its opinions in the Official Journal of the European Union in accordance with the procedure laid down by the Council and the Commission after consultation of the Committee bureau.
2. The names of the members of the Committee, its bureau and its sections, and all changes in the membership thereof, shall be published in the Official Journal of the European Union and on the Committee’s website.
1. The Committee shall ensure the transparency of its decisions, in accordance with the second paragraph of Article 1 of the Treaty on European Union.
2. The secretary-general shall be responsible for taking the measures necessary to guarantee the public’s right of access to the corresponding documents.
3. Any citizen of the European Union may write to the Committee in one of the official languages and receive a reply written in the same language (in accordance with the fourth paragraph of Article 24 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).
1. Plenary sessions of the Committee and meetings of the sections shall be public.
2. Certain debates that do not concern consultative work may be declared confidential by the Committee, acting on a request from a concerned institution or body or on a proposal from the bureau.
3. Other meetings shall not be public. However, in duly justified cases at the discretion of the chairman of the meeting other persons may attend as observers.
1. Members of the European institutions may attend and address meetings of the Committee and its constituent bodies.
2. Members of other bodies and duly authorised officials of the institutions and these other bodies may be invited to attend, address or answer questions at meetings, under the direction of the president of the meeting.
TITLES, PRIVILEGES, IMMUNITIES AND STATUTE OF MEMBERS, QUAESTORS
1. Members of the Committee shall have the title "member of the European Economic and Social Committee".
2. The provisions of Article 10, Chapter IV of Protocol No 7 on the privileges and immunities of the European Union, annexed to the Treaties, shall apply to the members of the European Economic and Social Committee.
1. The members’ statute shall contain the rights and duties of Committee members, as well as the rules governing their activity and their relations with the institution and its services.
2. It shall also determine the measures that may be taken in the event of violations of the Rules of Procedure or of the statute.
On a proposal from the bureau, the assembly shall elect, for each two-and-a-half-year period, three members, who have no other permanent responsibilities within the Committee structure, to form the quaestors’ group with the following functions:
a) to monitor and ensure the proper implementation of the members’ statute;
b) to draw up appropriate proposals for perfecting and improving the members’ statute;
c) to endeavour, by taking appropriate steps, to resolve any cases of doubt or dispute arising from application of the members’ statute;
d) to be responsible for relations between the members of the Committee and the general secretariat as regards application of the members’ statute.
TERMINATION OF MEMBERS’ TENURE OF OFFICE, INCOMPATIBILITIES
1. Membership of the Committee shall expire at the end of the five-year term laid down by the Council at the time of the Committee’s renewal.
2. Individual membership shall cease on resignation, on removal from office, through death, in the case of force majeure or in the event of an incompatibility of functions arising.
3. The functions of a member of the Committee shall be incompatible with those of a member of a government, a parliament, an institution of the European Union, the Committee of the Regions or the board of directors of the European Investment Bank, and with the post of official or other servant of the European Union in active employment.
4. Resignations shall be in writing and shall be addressed to the president of the Committee.
5. The circumstances in which members may be removed from office are laid down in Rule 60(2). In such cases the Council shall initiate the replacement procedure, if it decides to terminate membership.
6. In the case of resignation, death, force majeure or incompatibility of functions, the president of the Committee shall notify the Council, which shall verify the vacancy and initiate the replacement procedure. In the case of resignation, however, the resigning member shall remain in office until the date on which the appointment of his replacement takes effect, unless the resigning member indicates otherwise.
7. In all the cases referred to in the second paragraph of this Rule, the replacement shall be appointed for the remainder of the current term of office.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE COMMITTEE
1. The Committee shall be assisted by a secretariat headed by a secretary-general, who shall discharge his duties under the direction of the president, representing the bureau.
2. The secretary-general shall attend the meetings of the bureau in an advisory capacity and shall keep the minutes of those meetings.
3. He shall give a solemn undertaking, before the bureau, to discharge his duties conscientiously and with complete impartiality.
4. The secretary-general shall be responsible for giving effect to decisions taken by the assembly, the bureau and the president pursuant to the Rules of Procedure; he shall report in writing every three months to the president on the criteria and implementing provisions which have been adopted or are envisaged for handling administrative or organisational problems and staff matters.
5. The secretary-general may delegate his powers within the limits decided by the president.
6. The bureau, acting on a proposal from the secretary-general, shall draw up the establishment plan for the general secretariat in such a way that it can ensure the efficient functioning of the Committee and its constituent bodies and help the members in the performance of their duties, in particular in the organisation of meetings and the preparation of opinions.
1. All the powers which the Staff Regulations of Officials of the Communities confer on the appointing authority and which the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the Communities confer on the authority competent to conclude contracts of service shall be exercised, with respect to the secretary-general of the Committee, by the bureau.
2. The powers which the Staff Regulations of Officials of the Communities confer on the appointing authority shall be exercised as follows:
- with respect to deputy secretaries-general and directors, by the bureau, acting on a proposal from the secretary-general, as regards application of Articles 29, 30, 31, 40, 41, 49, 50, 51, 78 and 90(1) of the Staff Regulations; by the president, acting on a proposal from the secretary-general, as regards application of the other provisions of the Staff Regulations, including Article 90(2);
- with respect to:
- deputy directors (in grade AD13),
- heads of unit (in grades AD9 to AD 13), and
- other officials in grade AD14;
by the president, acting on a proposal from the secretary-general;
- with respect to officials in grades AD5 to AD13 who do not have a management post at the level of head of unit or above and all grades of the assistants function group, by the secretary-general.
3. The powers which the Conditions of Employment of Other Servants of the Communities (CEOS) confer on the authority competent to conclude contracts of service shall be exercised as follows:
- with respect to temporary staff appointed to the post of deputy secretary-general or director, by the bureau, acting on a proposal by the secretary-general, as regards application of Articles 11, 17, 33 and 48 of the CEOS; as regards the other provisions of the CEOS, by the president, acting on a proposal from the secretary-general;
- with respect to temporary staff appointed to the post of deputy director or head of unit and temporary staff of grade AD14, by the president, acting on a proposal from the secretary-general;
- with respect to temporary staff in grades AD5 to AD13 who do not have a management post at the level of head of unit or above and all grades of the assistants’ function group, by the secretary-general;
- with respect to special advisers, and contract staff, by the secretary-general.
4. The president shall exercise the powers conferred on the institution by Article 110 of the Staff Regulations with a view to implementing the general provisions for giving effect to the Staff Regulations and the rules adopted by agreement between the institutions.
5. The bureau, the president and the secretary-general may delegate the powers vested in them by this Rule.
6. Decisions to delegate adopted in accordance with Rule 72(5) above shall specify the scope of the powers delegated, their limits and period of validity, as well as stating whether they may be subdelegated.
1. The groups shall each have a secretariat which reports directly to the group president.
2. The powers of the appointing authority shall be exercised, with respect to officials seconded to the groups in accordance with the second indent of Article 37(a) of the Staff Regulations, on a proposal from the group president concerned, as regards the application of Article 38 of the Staff Regulations, including decisions relating to their career development within the group.
When an official seconded to a group rejoins the Committee secretariat, he shall be classified in the grade to which he would have been entitled as an official.
3. The powers of the authority empowered to conclude contracts of employment shall be exercised, with respect to temporary staff seconded to the groups in accordance with Article 2(c) of the CEOS, on a proposal from the group president concerned, as regards the application of the third paragraph of Article 8, Article 9 and the third paragraph of Article 10 of the CEOS.
1. The president shall have a private secretariat.
2. The staff of the secretariat shall be engaged under the budget as temporary staff, the powers of the authority competent to conclude contracts of service being exercised by the president.
1. Before 1 June of each year the secretary-general shall submit to the bureau the draft estimates of the expenditure and revenue of the Committee for the next financial year. The budget group shall examine the draft before the bureau discussion and, where appropriate, make remarks or propose modifications. The bureau shall draw up the estimates of the expenditure and revenue of the Committee. It shall forward these in accordance with the procedure and within the time limits laid down in the Financial Regulation of the European Communities.
2. The president of the Committee, acting in accordance with the Financial Regulation, shall implement or cause to be implemented the statement of expenditure and revenue.
Correspondence to the Committee shall be addressed to the president or the secretary-general.
The terms used in these Rules of Procedure for the various offices are not gender-specific.
1. The Committee may decide by an absolute majority of its members that these Rules of Procedure should be revised.
2. If such a decision is taken, the Committee shall set up a panel, which shall be known as the Rules of Procedure Panel. The Committee shall appoint a rapporteur-general to produce a draft text of the new Rules of Procedure.
2a. After the adoption of the amended Rules of Procedure by an absolute majority, the assembly shall renew the mandate of the Rules of Procedure Panel for a maximum period of sixty days so that, if necessary, it may draw up a draft amendment of the implementing provisions and submit it to the bureau, who will take a decision after receiving the views of the groups.
3. The date on which the new Rules of Procedure and the changes to the implementing provisions shall enter into force shall be decided at the time of their adoption by the Committee.
These Rules of Procedure shall enter into force on 21 September 2010.
 These rules were subsequently amended on 27 February 2003, 31 March 2004, 5 July 2006 and 12 March 2008.