Christoph Hönnige and Diana Panke (2016): Is anybody listening? The Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee and their quest for awareness, Journal of European Public Policy 23 (4)
The Committee of the Regions (CoR) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) are two consultative bodies in the European legislative arena. While they have privileged access to the European Parliament (EP) and the Council of Ministers through submitting opinions on draft European Union (EU) legislation, EU legislators do not always read the opinions and are consequently often unaware of what the CoR and the EESC propose. This article examines how and under which conditions consultative committees can secure the awareness of legislative bodies. Based on two case studies focusing on the European Citizens Initiative and the liberalization of the postal market, we find that the level of awareness of the work of the two committees is overall rather limited. However, awareness increases if the committees proactively promote their positions through extracurricular activities (e.g., seminars, participation in hearings, circulation of additional information) from early on, rather than simply formally submitting their opinions to the EP and the Council.