European Economic and Social Committee
The Economic and Social Committee (ESC) is an important instrument for participation in Community policy-making. The ESC and the Committee of the Regions, into which Germany for example sent representatives of its Länder and the major local authorities, are important European advisory bodies. The ESC is the only institution of civil society which is also mentioned in the Treaty. It has an advisory function and must be heard by the Council or the Commission in all cases provided for by the Treaty. It has the right to take the initiative and to issue opinions on those matters where it sees a purpose for doing so.
The Economic and Social Committee is made up of representatives of the various economic and social fields of organised civil society, in particular the social partners and furthermore the sectors of production, farming, transport, employees, trade and crafts, the liberal professions, consumers and general interests. These are organised in three groups: representatives of the social partners (employers in Group I and employees in Group II) as well as representatives of various interests (Group III).
Since 1994 the German charitable associations have been represented in the ESC as part of Group III - equally, since 1998, welfare organisations from France, Portugal and Spain. With their involvement in the ESC the charitable associations have an opportunity to provide an input with their in-depth knowledge of the various fields of social work and to give impulses.
Herr Prof. Dr. Bernd Schlüter
Link to ESC main page:
Link to documents (Transfer of Administrative Documents):