European Economic and Social committee
On 9 July 2014, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) held a plenary session to debate the Italian presidency of the EU.
The EESC is - alongside the Committee of the Regions - one of the two main "consultative" bodies of the European Union.
It must be consulted during the legislative passage of draft legislation on topics including social policies, industry, trans-European networks, structural funds and economic cohesion.
It is made up of employers associations, trade unions, and various interest groups such as farmers organisations or consumer groups.
The debate began with speeches from EESC President Henri Malosse, and Italian Undersecretary for European Affairs, Sandro Gozi.
Italy took on the six month rotating presidency of the EU at the start of July and will hand over to Latvia at the start of 2015.