In the event that recent proposals by the European Commission are approved by the European Council, Estonia is to be given an additional seat each in two representative bodies of the EU in connection with the withdrawal of the UK from the EU.
The European Commission on Wednesday submitted two proposals to change the composition of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the press service of the European Commission said.
The Commission has proposed giving Cyprus, Estonia and Luxembourg an extra seat each in both committees, as these three member states lost a seat following a previous, 2015 decision on the composition of these committees following Croatia's accession to the EU.
The CoR and the EESC currently have 350 seats each, and their terms of office will conclude on 25 January 2020 and 20 September 2020, respectively. Therefore it is necessary that the European Council adopt a decision regarding the composition of these two committees, as Brexit will result in 24 vacant seats on each as of 30 March next year. The seats remaining after the issuance of additional seats to the three aforementioned countries would be left vacant as a reserve for possible future enlargements, the Commission said.
Estonia currently has six seats each on the CoR and the EESC.
The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) is the EU's assembly of local and regional representatives that provides sub-national authorities with a direct voice within the EU's institutional framework; all 28 EU member states are represented in the committee. Through the CoR, local governments can better share their opinions on those EU legal acts that directly affect regions and cities. Estonian representatives on the CoR include Mihkel Juhkami, Kalev Kallo, Kurmet Müürsepp, Uno Silberg, Urmas Sukles and Mart Võrklaev.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is a consultative body of the EU that consists of representatives of employees' and employers' organisations and various other interests. The committee presents its opinions on EU matters to the European Commission, the Council of the EU and the European Parliament, thus acting as a bridge between EU institutions and its citizens. Estonia's representatives on the committee include Liina Carr, Meelis Joost, Eve Päärendson, Roomet Sõrmus, Reet Teder and Mare Viies.
Editor: Aili Vahtla