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.
The EESC's contribution is based on consultations with CSOs and national institutions in order to understand how they experienced and observed the impact and the changes brought about by the CCD. The key points drawn from these consultations show that:
the directive has been generally effectively transposed, but its implementation and/or enforcement is considered to be insufficient;
the scope should be expanded to include consumer credit lower than the EUR 200 threshold and should include all types of credit and new forms of credit;
the CCD does not ensure a level playing field or promote a single market for consumer credit;
pre-contractual information given to consumers often lacks clarity and standard information requirements should be adapted to new forms of advertising;
creditworthiness assessments are not always properly conducted due to: unreliable or outdated data, other financial commitments not being considered and, in some cases, a distorted interpretation of privacy legislation;
Member States are not doing enough in terms of financial education;
a potential revision of the CCD should include: a broader application of full harmonisation provided for in Article 22, prioritising training, updating the directive to reflect digital developments, and adopting the Mortgage Directive's criteria and rules for more uniformity, clarity and transparency.
Based on these conclusions, the EESC recommends:
establishing clearer and more stringent principles on the quantity, quality and comparability of information provided and pre-contractual offers;
the scope of the directive be revised, abolishing the EUR200 minimum threshold;
the Commission urgently address the issue of the new forms of credit, by tackling abusive practices and creating a level playing field between operators and a system of consumer protection;
the setting up of national databases and making their cross-checking mandatory, to make creditworthiness assessments more effective;
the consideration of distorting factors pressuring bank workers and influencing their behaviour and addressing them in a coherent way;
strengthening educational programmes to raise consumer awareness in future revisions of the directive;
ad hoc measures to regulate the whole digital process leading to the conclusion of a contract;
consideration be given to full harmonisation, while preserving better terms for consumers and ensuring a genuine level playing field for operators.