Established in 1994, the Committee of the Regions (CoR) is an EU advisory body composed of 658 local and regional elected representatives (329 full members and 329 alternate members). The Irish delegation to the CoR is currently composed of nine full members and nine alternate members appointed by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government.
The CoR gives regions and cities a formal say in EU law-making ensuring that the position and needs of regional and local authorities are respected. Through the adoption of opinions and resolutions, the CoR makes sure that the voice of local and regional authorities across Europe is heard on matters that directly impact them.
Six thematic commissions prepare the opinions of the CoR in response to proposed new legislation by the European Commission. These commissions then submit draft versions of opinions and resolutions for discussion and adoption at every Plenary session (6 per year).
These commissions are:
- CIVEX – Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs
- COTER – Commission for Territorial Cohesion Policy and EU Budget
- ECON – Economic policy
- ENVE – Environment, Climate Change and Energy
- NAT – Natural Resources
- SEDEC – Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture
All the CoR members are elected local and regional representatives from the EU 27 Member States. Members from one country form the National Delegation which reflects the political, geographical, regional and local balance of their country. Members can also join one of the five political groups of the CoR: European People’s Party (EPP), Party of European Socialists (PES), Renew Europe (former ALDE), European Alliance Group (EA), the Greens and European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR). Members can also choose to not be part of a political party if they so wish (non-aligned).