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Rules of procedure of the European Economic and Social Committee

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Rules of procedure of the European Economic and Social Committee



European Economic and Social Committee — rules of procedure

Article 303 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — the Economic and Social Committee




  • In accordance with Article 300 TFEU, the EESC consists of:
    • employers’ organisations: members from private and public sectors of industry, small businesses, chambers of commerce, wholesale and retail trade, banking and insurance, transport and agriculture (Group I);
    • the employed: members from national trade-union organisations, both at the level of confederations and that of sectoral federations (Group II);
    • other parties representative of civil society: farmer and consumer organisations, small businesses, the crafts sector, liberal professions and NGOs in the field of social protection and environmental protection (Group III).
  • The members are proposed by the governments of the EU countries and are appointed by the Council for 5 years. The maximum number of members is 350.
  • The three groups elect their presidents and vice-presidents. They participate in the preparation, organisation and coordination of the EESC's business.

EESC's role in the legislative procedure

  • Consultation of the EESC
    • The EESC produces opinions requested by the Council, the European Commission or the European Parliament.
    • It may also deliver opinions on its own initiative, exploratory opinions and information reports or resolutions on any questions relating to the tasks assigned to the EU.
  • Work of the sections
    • The Bureau designates the section that is to be responsible for preparing an opinion or report.
    • The rapporteur, assisted where appropriate by one or more co-rapporteurs and an expert, studies the question referred, gathers the views expressed and, on this basis, compiles the draft opinion, which is sent to the section for discussion and approval.

The EESC’s working bodies

The Bureau

  • It consists of:
    • the president and the 2 vice-presidents;
    • the 3 group presidents;
    • the 6 section presidents;
    • a variable number of members, which cannot exceed the number of EU countries.
  • The president is elected from among the members of the 3 groups and the vice-presidents are elected from among the members of the 2 groups to which the president does not belong. They are elected for a period of 2.5 years, in accordance with the principle of group rotation.
  • The bureau’s main tasks are as follows.
    • It lays down the EESC’s organisation and working procedures and has political responsibility for its general management.
    • Together with the president of the EESC, it exercises budgetary and financial powers in line with the EU’s financial regulation (which governs the EU budget).
    • It lays down the terms for implementing the rules of procedure, whose interpretation it clarifies.
    • Every 6 months it examines, on the basis of a report drawn up for this purpose, the action taken on opinions delivered by the EESC.

The presidency and the president

  • The presidency (the president and the 2 vice-presidents) meets with the group presidents to prepare the work of the bureau and the assembly.
  • Elected for 2.5 years, the president:
    • directs the work of the EESC and involves the vice-presidents in those activities on a permanent basis;
    • represents the EESC in its external relations;
    • reports to the EESC on action and measures taken on its behalf;
    • presents a work programme at the start of the term of office and reviews achievements at the end of the term.

The specialised sections

The subcommittees

  • For some subjects, the EESC may set up ad hoc sub-committees and observatories.
  • It may also invite guest speakers from outside the EESC to hearings.
  • The president may appoint experts to clarify technical questions that arise in the course of EESC activities.

Consultative commissions

  • The EESC may set up consultative commissions. These are made up of EESC members and of delegates from areas of civil society that the EESC wishes to involve in its work.

Plenary sessions

  • The EESC meets in plenary assembly during the different sessions (9 sessions each year). The EESC’s plenary assembly adopts its opinions on the basis of the opinions of the sections and sends them to the Council, the Commission and the Parliament.
  • The draft agenda is drawn up by the bureau on a proposal from the presidency in collaboration with the group presidents. It is submitted for approval by the assembly before the opening of the relevant session.
  • Opinions adopted by the EESC and minutes of sessions are sent to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission. They are published in the Official Journal of the European Union. Regardless of the legal basis for consultation (mandatory or optional referral) EESC opinions are a legally necessary component in the final document of the Council, the Commission or the Parliament.

Methods of voting

  • Except where otherwise provided, adoption of the EESC’s texts and decisions is by majority vote. Voting is by open ballot, by recorded vote*, or by secret ballot.

Dialogue between the EU’s social and economic organisations and non-EU countries

  • Because of its specific mission, the EESC may maintain structured relations with economic and social councils and similar institutions and with civil society organisations in the EU and in non-EU countries. The EESC appoints delegations responsible for maintaining these relations.

Civil society

  • In 2012, a protocol on cooperation between the Commission and the EESC was adopted to boost civil-society involvement in EU policy development at both national and EU levels, and to develop structured dialogue between these organisations and the EU institutions.


The rules have applied from 21 September 2010.


For more information, see:

  • Our work (European Economic and Social Committee).


Recorded vote: where a recorded vote is held, the names of the voters are provided.


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, pp. 52-68)

Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Six — Institutional and financial provisions — Title I — Institutional provisions — Chapter 3 — The Union’s advisory bodies — Section I — The Economic and Social Committee — Article 303 (ex Article 260 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, p. 178)


Protocol on cooperation between the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee (OJ C 102, 5.4.2012, pp. 1-5)

last update 01.02.2018