Mandate and tasks of the EPC
The Economic Policy Committee (EPC) was set up by a Council decision on 18 February 1974 (74/122/EEC). It contributes to the Council's work of coordinating the economic policies of the Members States and of the Community and provides advice to the Commission and the Council. A revised statute was adopted by the Council on 18 June 2003 (2003/475/EC).
In practice, this means that it provides economic analyses, opinions on methodologies and draft formulations for policy recommendations, in particular on structural policies for improving growth potential and employment in the Community. It focuses in particular on
- the functioning of goods, capital, services and labour markets, including wage, productivity, employment and competitiveness developments;
- the role and efficiency of the public sector and the long-term sustainability of public finances; and
- implications of policies relating to the environment, research and development, and social cohesion.
The EPC supports the Council with the formulation of the broad economic policy guidelines and contributes to the multilateral surveillance procedure, for example by regular country reviews focused on structural reforms in Member States.
The EPC also supports the work of the Economic and Financial Committee (EFC). This essentially entails keeping the short- and medium-term macroeconomic developments in the Member States and the Community under review, and providing analysis and opinions on the interaction between structural and macroeconomic policies and on wage developments.
The EPC is also the forum for a technical-level macroeconomic dialogue with the ECB, the EFC, the Employment Committee, the Commission, and social partners.
The EPC comprises two delegates from each Member State, the Commission, and the ECB. They are senior officials and come from the authorities responsible for formulating economic and structural policy. Moreover the EPC also meets in a Eurogroup composition to prepare specific inputs for the Eurogroup.
President and Secretariat
Every two years, the EPC elects a President and up to three Vice-Presidents from among its members. The Committee is assisted by a Secretariat.
When a vote is requested on opinions or reports, a majority of members' votes is necessary. Each Member has one vote. However, when advice or an opinion is given on questions on which the Council may subsequently take a decision, members from central banks and the Commission are not participating in a vote.
The proceedings of the EPC are confidential. However, reports or opinions prepared by the Committee are in principle publicly available, unless there are overriding reasons to keep them confidential.
The Committee has established seven working groups in order to address certain issues which need longer-term planning.