MEPs from the Identity and Democracy have called on the European Union to abolish one of its oldest institutions, which they have described as one of the "most useless" within the bloc. (EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET)


Decades-old EU institution ‘should be abolished as useless’, MEPs say


MEPs from the hard-right Identity and Democracy group have called on the European Union to abolish one of its oldest institutions, which they have described as among the “most useless” within the bloc.

Founded in 1958, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has repeatedly come under fire for being “toothless”, with ID representatives submitting a proposal to the European Parliament for it to be shut down.

“It is actually surprising that the EESC has not already been abolished,” Filip De Man, one of the MEPs backing the August 1 proposal, said in a statement seen by Brussels Signal.

“Each year, this institution with 700 highly educated employees eats up €150 million. For that amount, these experts publish reports with a generally left-wing bias, at a cost of more than €1 million each [report],” he added.

“Nobody asks for these reports and nobody reads them.”

The Vlaams Belang politician also attacked the body for having a “track record of financial mismanagement, intimidation, harassment and an objectionable management style”.

“This description comes directly from the discharge [audit] report,” De Man claimed, adding that bodies have criticised the EESC as being “an obstacle to the proper management of the European Union’s financial resources”.

In the proposal submitted to the European Parliament, MEPs also slam the body as being surplus to requirements, with its roles within the EU having been usurped by other institutions.

It also criticises the EESC for submitting just “131 non-binding opinions in 2020” despite its high cost to taxpayers, adding that there was no evidence that any of those views ended up influencing European policy.

This last criticism has been echoed by those within the European Commission, with one official telling Brussels Signal that, while they are required under EU rules to attend EESC meetings, they never “bother to take any notice”.

“I have to go there … to listen,” said one EC official.

“But no one pays any attention to what they have to say.”