Economic and Social Committee
0 On DEsite
1 General
2 Pillar structure
3 Bodies
  • European Parliament
  • Council
  • The Commission
  • The Court of Justice
  • Court of Auditors 
  • Economic and Social Committee
  • Committee of the Regions
  • Central Bank
  • Coreper
  • Miscellaneous
  • 4 Decision-making
    5 Lobby groups
    6 Case histories
    7 Information and publications

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    Articles 257-262 EC are the basis of the Economic and Social Committee, which was set up by the Rome Treaties.


    The Economic and Social Committee is an advisory organ that consists of 222 representatives from economic and social interest groups. Members are nominated by national governments and appointed by the Council, acting unanimously, for a renewable 4-year term of office. They choose a president and a bureau from among their number for a period of two years. Article 258 EC stipulates how many members each of the fifteen Member States shall supply.

    The members belong to one of three groups: Employers, Workers, and Various Interests.

    The Treaty of Nice stipulates that the maximum number of members of the ESC is 350, which allows the current Member States to maintain their current number of seats.

    Number of members of the Economic and Social Committee

     Members of the ESC

    Duties and internal decision-making

    It is mandatory for the Council and the Commission to consult with the Economic and Social Committee in certain cases before making a decision; in some cases, it is optional. It may also be consulted by the European Parliament. The ESC may, however, also adopt opinions on its own initiative. These opinions focus on decisions with consequences in the economic or social field.

    The Committee meets in plenary sessions and adopts opinions by majority vote. All opinions are forwarded to the Community´s decision-making bodies and then published in the EU´s Official Journal.

    Although the opinions are not binding upon the institutions, they are considered to be very important, especially if a large majority adopted them. Through the Economic and Social Committee, the social partners can influence decision-making.


    The most important publications of the Economic and Social Committee are the opinions. The texts of these opinions are published in the C Series of the Official Journal. ESC opinions since 1990 can be found via Opinion Search on the web site of the ESC.

    This page also contains the Bulletin of the Economic and Social Committee of the last six months. It reports on the activities of the Committee. The Bulletin is published after a plenary session of the Economic and Social Committee.

    The Annual Report of the Economic and Social Committee is published in book form and gives an overview of the work and the activities per theme. It also contains a list of opinions issued, of informative reports, and of opinions which the ESC has issued on its own initiative.