The EESC issues between 160 and 190 opinions and information reports a year.
It also organises several annual initiatives and events with a focus on civil society and citizens’ participation such as the Civil Society Prize, the Civil Society Days, the Your Europe, Your Say youth plenary and the ECI Day.
The EESC brings together representatives from all areas of organised civil society, who give their independent advice on EU policies and legislation. The EESC's326 Members are organised into three groups: Employers, Workers and Various Interests.
The EESC has six sections, specialising in concrete topics of relevance to the citizens of the European Union, ranging from social to economic affairs, energy, environment, external relations or the internal market.
Looking back at the achievements of the Maltese Presidency and in particular at the progress made by the business community – this was the focus of a debate during the last Employers' Group meeting on 20 September, with the participation of the Employers' Group members and the presidents of the three major Maltese employers' organisations.
Mr Krawczyk, president of the Employers' Group, opened the meeting by recalling and praising the shared efforts that led to the signing of the Declaration on Encouraging private sector investment in Europe, by employers and the Government of Malta. This declaration was signed at the conference organised by the Employers' Group and all major Maltese employers' organisations in Malta on 11 May.
"The Presidency was an extremely positive experience for my country and for the business community and I am glad that the employers' associations had been very active and managed to put important dossiers on the Presidency's agenda," stressed Mr Mallia, a Maltese member of the Employers' Group. He also invited the presidents of the three major employers' organisations to contemplate the results achieved by the Maltese Presidency.
24 legislative dossiers were completed during the Presidency. Dolores Sammut Bonnici, President of the Malta Employers' Association, highlighted that among the Maltese Presidency's successes, we can count: the end of roaming charges, the improvement of parcel delivery services, simpler rules for users of EU funds and progress on the rules for better investment in start-ups and innovation.
The Presidency was a historic moment for Malta, the smallest of all EU Member States, and it had come at a delicate time for EU. However, Malta still managed to show that it was committed to pushing the EU project forward as Mr Farrugia, the President of the Maltese Chamber of Commerce, stressed. It was also an opportunity to push forward business priorities: the completion of the single market, the creation of a business friendly environment to stimulate innovation, progress made in terms of social inclusion, migration, and neighbouring policies – he continued.
Small businesses represent 98% of Maltese enterprises. They need to have a proper environment that allows them to grow faster. In this regard, explained Mr Abela, the President of Malta Chamber of SMEs (GRTU), the GRTU had been a catalyst in obtaining permission to create a Development Bank that would permit Maltese SMEs to look beyond their borders and allow them to grow faster.
The Maltese Presidency has been a role model for forging cooperation between business organisations and the government and on account of its commitment to reaching a consensus on crucial issues – concluded the Members of the Group.
The publication is a summary of the conference "Does the EU encourage private sector investment" that took place on 11 May 2017 in Valletta, Malta. The conference was jointly organised by the Employers' Group of the European Economic and Social Committee and all major Maltese employers' organisations: Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, Malta Employers' Association (MEA), Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) and Malta Chamber of SMEs (GRTU).