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European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is an EU consultative body. It was set up in 1957 to represent the interests of the various economic and social groups in EU countries.

Under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the EESC has 350 members. Currently, and until September 2015, the end of its current term of office, due to Croatia's EU accession in July 2013, it has 353 members from organised civil society.

Members fall into 3 groups representing the interests of employers, workers and particular types of activity (such as farmers, small businesses, professions, consumers, teachers, cooperatives, families, environmental groups). EESC members are appointed for 5 years (renewable).

The EESC is consulted by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission in the cases laid down in the EU treaties. It may also issue own-initiative opinions. Its role, organisation and powers are governed by Article 13 of the Treaty on EU and Articles 301-304 of the TFEU.