The Council of the European Union adopted two decisions on Tuesday, which will expand Estonia's representation on two of its committees: the Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), BNS reports.
The decisions reflect the pending withdrawal of the U.K. from the E.U., which will free up 24 seats in both committees. Cyprus and Luxembourg will join Estonia in getting further representation.
In fact, the extra seats are being restored – Estonia and the other two countries lost these positions on the committees following the 2013 accession of Croatia to the union. The remaining seats vacated by U.K. withdrawal will be kept in reserve for potential future E.U. enlargement, it is reported.
The new rules come into effect from Jan. 26, 2020 in the case of the CoR, and on Sept. 21 of the same year, for the EESC. The U.K.'s withdrawal from the E.U. will lead to an overall reduction in size of the two committees, from 350, their maximum size under the current E.U. treaties, to 329 members.
Should the U.K. still be a member state when the new positions are due to be taken up by Estonia, Cyprus and Luxembourg, the composition will remain as at present, until the withdrawal of the U.K. becomes legally effective.
The CoR is the E.U.'s assembly of local and regional representatives which gives sub-national authorities, such as regions, counties, municipalities and cities a direct voice within the union's framework.
The EESC is a consultative body, established in 1958. It is an advisory assembly composed of "social partners", employers, employees and representatives of various other interests.
Both bodies are based in the Jacques Delors building in Brussels.
Estonia held the rotating presidency of the Council of the E.U. in the latter half of 2017.
Editor: Andrew Whyte