European representatives

Northern Ireland has nine representatives in major European institutions - The European Parliament, Committee of the Regions and European Economic and Social Committee.

Members of European Parliament (MEP)

The 751 members of the European Parliament represent over 500 million European citizens in 28 Member States.

Northern Ireland has three elected MEPs. Government works closely with these parliamentarians to ensure that matters of concern to Northern Ireland are raised in the European Parliament.

Read more about the role of an MEP on the European Parliament website.

The MEPs who represent Northern Ireland are:

Committee of the Regions (CoR)

Set up in 1994 under the Treaty on the European Union, the Committee of the Regions is an advisory political assembly representing local and regional authorities in the European Union.

About the Committee of the Regions (CoR)

On 12 February 2015, under a new mandate, 24 UK elected representatives took up their role as members of the Committee of the Regions (CoR). Meeting in Brussels, local and regional representatives pledged to bring Europe closer to its citizens.

What are goals of the CoR?

The main goals of the Committee of the Regions are to:

  • bring Europe closer to its citizens
  • give a voice to regional and local representatives
  • improve EU legislation using the expertise of regional and local representatives

Why is the CoR important?

The European Commission and the Council of Ministers must consult the Committee whenever new proposals are made in policy areas that affect local or regional government.

How do we fit into the CoR?

Northern Ireland has two full and two alternate seats on the Committee with delegates serving on four sectoral commissions. CoR members must hold a local or regional authority mandate or be accountable to an elected assembly.

The CoR Commissions

The Committee is organised into six Commissions, which are responsible for the preparation of draft opinions on European Commission proposals, which are submitted to the plenary assembly for adoption.  The Commissions are:

  • Territorial Cohesion Policy (COTER)
  • Economic  Policy (ECON)
  • Commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC)
  • Environment, Climate Change and Energy (ENVE)
  • Citizenship, Governance, Institutional and External Affairs (CIVEX)
  • Natural Resources (NAT)

Who represents us?

As the Northern Ireland Assembly is currently suspended we do not have elected MLAs as representatives in the Committee of the Regions.   

Full members

Name Political Party Responsibilities
Councillor Trevor Cummings Democratic Unionist Party Natural Resources (NAT), Territorial Cohesion Policy (COTER

Alternate members

Name

Political Party

Responsibilities

Councillor Arnold Hatch Ulster Unionist Party Natural Resources (NAT)
John Dallat MLA Social Democrat and Labour Party Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC)

European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is an advisory body of the European Union set up by the Rome Treaties in 1957. The European Policy and Co-ordination Unit is responsible for administering the nomination procedure to select Northern Ireland’s EESC representatives.

What are the goals of the EESC?

The EESC’s main task is to advise Parliament, Council and Commission on economic and social aspects of policy and legislation. The Committee aims to bring Europe closer to its citizens and to make the European Union’s decision-making process more transparent.

Why is the EESC important?

The EESC must be consulted before legislation can be passed on a number of policy areas stipulated in the Treaties; including agriculture, employment, social issues, transport, education, consumer protection, health, structural funds and equal opportunities.  It can also produce own-initiative reports and exploratory opinions for the EU Institutions or may be asked to do so by the institutions.

How do we fit into the EESC?

The EESC has 353 members, split into three groups:

  • Employers
  • Workers
  • 'Various interests', (for example, craftsmen, farmers, minority rights and academics)

Members from various backgrounds are selected according to their technical expertise and ability to represent diverse social and economic groups in the United Kingdom.  Northern Ireland has two seats on the UK delegation, which comprises 24 members.

The EESC’s sections

EESC members divide themselves up into sections, according to the area of work in which members wish to specialise - rather as MPs may choose parliamentary committees. The EESC’s sections at present are:

  • Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment (NAT)
  • Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion (ECO)
  • Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC)
  • External Relations (REX)
  • The Single Market, Production and Consumption (INT)
  • Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society (TEN)

A new Consultative Committee on Industrial Change has been incorporated into the EESC structure following the expiry of the ECSC Treaty in July 2002 (CCMI)

Who represents us?

Northern Ireland’s current members are:

Jane Morrice

  • Occupation: Communications consultant- director, photographic and media production company; former member of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Deputy Speaker; former Head of the European Commission Office Northern Ireland, former BBC correspondent
  • Group: III (Various Interests).
  • Sections: Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC) and Transport, Energy, infrastructure and the Information Society (TEN).
  • Particular Interests: Communications Policy and Road Safety.

Michael Smyth

  • Occupation: Former economist-University of Ulster, Belfast; Economic Advisor to the Northern Ireland Assembly
  • Group: III (Various Interests)
  • Sections: Single Market, Production and Consumption (INT) and Economic and Monetary Union and Economic and Social Cohesion (ECO).
  • Michael was rapporteur for a recent EESC Opinion on European Commission President Juncker's "An Investment Plan for Europe". A copy of the report can be downloaded below:

Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee - An Investment Plan for Europe

Further information on the committee’s work and members may be found on the European Economic and Social Committee website.

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