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Committee of the Regions president Jos Chabert has welcomed the European parliament's support for the COR in the co...
Committee of the Regions president Jos Chabert has welcomed the European parliament's support for the COR in the context of the upcoming intergovernmental conference.

The COR is particularly pleased about the parliament's support to boost the COR's membership from its current level of 222 to a maximum of 350. The COR Opinion of 17 February 2000 stated that such an increase would be appropriate in view of the impending enlargement of the EU and would ensure that the local and regional authorities of the new member states were represented in line with their population.

The COR has repeatedly called for its political role to be extended and consolidated. The committee has also insisted that its membership should be confined to elected local or regional authority representatives and that COR seats should be allocated in line with each member states' population.

In its opinion of 26 January the European Commission also reacted positively to most, but not all of the committee's demands. The commission took the view that COR membership should be pegged at one third of the future number of MEPs, or alternatively capped at 233.

In its report on the intergovernmental conference, parliament also supported the committee's call for the IGC to address the three issues which had been left in abeyance during the negotiations on the 1997 Amsterdam Treaty.

At the next meeting of the committee's commission for institutional affairs on 8 March, COR members will have the opportunity of discussing these issues with Giorgio Napolitano, president of the parliament's committee on constitutional affairs.

Commissioner Michael Barnier, whose brief includes regional policy and the IGC will attend the committee plenary session on 14 April.

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