The Council today adopted two decisions concerning the composition of the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee. The decisions adapt the composition of these EU advisory bodies after the UK's withdrawal, which will result in 24 vacant seats in each committee.
The new rules allocate one additional seat to Estonia, Cyprus and Luxembourg in both committees, as these member states lost a seat after the last decisions on the composition of the Committees due to the accession of Croatia. The rest of the vacated seats will be kept in reserve for possible future enlargements.
Overall, the size of both committees will be reduced from 350 to 329 members after the UK's departure.
The new rules will apply from the start of the new five-year mandate of each committee, which will be from 26 January 2020 for the Committee of the Regions and from 21 September 2020 for the European Economic and Social Committee.
However, the two decisions also include a specific clause for the case where the UK would still be a member state on these dates. In that scenario, the composition of these committees would be the same as currently until the UK's withdrawal becomes legally effective.
Under the EU treaties, the number of members of the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions cannot exceed 350. The accession of Croatia therefore led to a loss of one seat for Estonia, Cyprus and Luxembourg in both committees.
These changes were laid down in Council Decision (EU) 2014/930 determining the composition of the Committee of the Regions and Council Decision (EU) 2015/1157 determining the composition of the European Economic and Social Committee.
These decisions also provided in their preamble for their revision in time for the new mandate of the committees starting in 2020.