Created by the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, the Committee of the Regions consists of 222 representatives of local and regional authorities appointed by the Council for four years on the basis of unanimous proposals from the Member States. It is consulted by the Council, Parliament and the Commission in areas affecting local and regional interests, such as education, youth, culture, health and social and economic cohesion.
It may also issue opinions on its own initiative.
Following the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam (May 1999), the Committee has to be consulted on an even wider range of fields - the environment, the Social Fund, vocational training, cross-border cooperation and transport.
The Treaty of Nice (adopted in December 2000) did not change either the number or the distribution of seats by Member State in the CoR. With a view to enlargement, the Treaty stipulates that, in future, the number of its members may not exceed 350. As regards eligibility for membership, the Treaty provides explicitly that members must hold a regional or local authority electoral mandate or be politically accountable to an elected assembly.
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