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.
Many people take it for granted that they can move around freely and travel spontaneously by using public transport. But for people with reduced mobility, this is often not possible, due to a lack of accessibility arrangements. To discuss these matters, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has held a public hearing
An EESC hearing points to the need to increase the employment rate of persons with disabilities, especially young people. Despite legal efforts, data shows that many of them are still facing discrimination in the world of work due to stereotypes portraying them as unproductive.
The EU and Member States must do more to promote the legal capacity of all persons with disabilities (PWD) to guarantee their fundamental rights. Governments must support autonomous decision-making and reject the regressive protocol to the Oviedo Convention
Ending the segregation of persons with disabilities (PWDs) and enabling them to live full, independent lives within the community requires political will and substantial investment in social and community-based services. Above all, huge support is needed for their families who – forgotten by public policies - carry too great a burden on their own
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hails the new EU Disability Rights Strategy as a step forward in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The Strategy has taken on board many of the suggestions proposed by the EESC, the European disability movement and civil society. The proposals include full harmonisation of the new agenda and strengthened EU-level supervision of its application. The EESC is, however, concerned about the watering down of the binding measures and hard law implementing the Strategy.
Rooted in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which was the first international treaty to take a human rights approach to disability, the EU Disability Strategy for the next decade is a promising document with many commendable proposals and only a few flaws. But for the strategy to be able to live up to its promise of ending discrimination against 87 million European with disabilities, its implementation will require a strong political will and resources.
Faced with many barriers and less able to maintain social and physical distance, persons with disabilities are at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 and falling severely ill as a result of the disease. However, in the EU they have not been explicitly included in priority groups for vaccination
In a plenary session debate with the Commissioner for Equality, the EESC welcomed the new EU Disability Rights Strategy for the next decade, describing it as a key moment for the rights of persons with disabilities. Its implementation is even more important in light of the COVID-19 pandemic which is taking its heaviest toll on Europe's most vulnerable, including persons with disabilities.
I ask you to transform the landscape for the disabled people with them, not for them. I am so grateful that you are facilitating this conversation and instigating this debate. But this cannot just be a moment. It is a movement that I invite you to join, Ms Burke tells the EESC on the eve of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities