For the countries in the process of EU enlargement
Through its external relations strategy, the CoR promotes political dialogue, economic and cultural cooperation with local and regional authorities from candidate and pre-candidate countries.
The CoR has repeatedly declared its readiness to support regional and local authorities on their path to EU accession.
It has a long tradition of establishing Joint Consultative Committees and Working Groups to monitor the quality of the EU enlargement process and its impact on local authorities whilst also sharing experiences and best practice. In this way, the EPP Group is able to help prepare them for their future responsibilities and to foster cooperation with the relevant European institutions.
Joint Consultative Committees:
Joint Consultative Committees (JCCs) are created between the Committee of the Regions and local and regional representatives of the candidate countries for EU accession following a request from the government of the partner country concerned and on the basis of the provisions set down in the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) or in an official declaration of the Stabilisation and Association Council between the Council of the European Union and the candidate country.
They are composed of an equal number of CoR members (and alternate members) and local and regional representatives from the partner country. JCCs are co-chaired by a CoR member and a member from the partner country, and decisions are taken jointly. Furthermore, the functioning of the JCCs is regulated by the "Rules of Procedures" adopted within each JCC.
There are currently three JCCs:
* In February 2012, the first observers from Croatia were welcomed to the Committee of the Regions Plenary Session following the signature of the accession Treaty and the successful referendum in Croatia
Working Groups (WGs) are composed only of members of the CoR. They are created directly by a decision of the CoR Bureau in accordance with the CoR Rules of Procedure . The participation of local and regional representatives from the partner countries in meetings of the Working Groups varies according to the topics discussed and the place of the meeting. The Working Groups usually constitute a contact point with the LRAs of the partner countries and are used as a tool to deepen specific bilateral/multilateral issues.
At present, there are Working Groups with: