18 April 2013
A new Northern Irish face in Europe
Former deputy speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Jane Morrice, has been elected vice-president of a Brussels-based organisation that advises EU lawmakers. Known as the European Economic and Social Committee, the EESC is made up of 344 members from the 27 EU member countries. A journalist who worked for BBC Belfast and European Report in Brussels, Jane Morrice will be responsible for communication during her two and a half year term.
No stranger to European affairs, Jane Morrice was head of the European Commission Office in Northern Ireland in the early 90s and was involved in the EU task force that helped set up the first EU Peace Programme. She knows, when it comes to promoting the EU, she faces an uphill struggle.
"There has never been an easy time to convince people of the value of being part of the European Union. Everything that has happened recently, from bailouts to banking crises, has made that task even harder", she said.
"Now, more than ever, the EU must stand together and people need to speak out to help shape the new Europe that will emerge from the chaos and confusion that has characterised the past years. The EESC is here to help make that happen".
Jane Morrice's role will also be to represent the EESC on a wide variety of occasions and to chair some sessions of the monthly plenary meetings. This is similar to her work as deputy speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly to which she was elected for the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition in 1998.
The new presidential team, which includes president Henri Malosse from France and vice-president Hans-Joachim Wilms from Germany, took up office on April 18, 2013.
For more information, please contact:
EESC Press Unit
Tel.: +32 2 546 8207
The European Economic and Social Committee represents the various economic and social components of organised civil society. It is an institutional consultative body established by the 1957 Treaty of Rome. Its consultative role enables its members, and hence the organisations they represent, to participate in the EU decision-making process. The Committee has 344 members from across Europe, who are appointed by the Council of the European Union.