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The Committee of the Regions at 16: Growing Up or Still Underage?

Justus Schönlau

The Committee of the Regions is one of the younger EU bodies and formally not an institution yet, but with the first one and a half decades behind it, and more particularly with the changes under the Lisbon Treaty, the CoR has probably reached a new stage in its development. While there was considerable interest in the concept of a 'Europe of the Regions' and in the CoR itself during its earlier years, this attention has diminished more recently. The paper argues, however, that both the institutions development in the inter-institutional context, and some broader trends in the EU political debate on new challenges and future priorities, suggest that the very idea of 'multi-level policy making' and its institutional embodiment at EU level, might become more interesting again. By looking at some of the internal adjustments caused by subsequent Treaty changes, but also at some of the activities of the CoR outside its strict sphere of competence, a case is made for looking more closely at different sub-national actors and their role in the EU policy process - not least in the efforts of reducing the perceived 'gap' between the EU and its legitimacy basis.

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