The Economic and Social Councils and similar institutions (ESCs) in the European Union are consultative public institutions of national interest, established to ensure the social dialogue at national level between the social partners – organisations representing the employers and the employees - and the government. They include representatives of the employers' associations, of trade unions, of the government and of other organisations of the civil society, in socioeconomic, civic, professional and cultural areas.
The ESCs advise the national governments on strategic issues, providing, at request or by their own initiative, expert advice, opinions, studies and reports on economic and social matters to the government, the Parliament or the Presidency. They manage the communication between government, trade unions and employers, ensuring regular exchanges of views about laws and policies, with a view to reach compromise and achieve social peace. The advice – opinions, reports, studies, resolutions etc. - are usually adopted by consensus.
As components of participatory governance, the ESCs are highly diverse. The forms taken by the dialogue with the social partners and the civil society are equally versatile. Different national traditions have an impact on the ways the civil society actors play their part and the role of the ESCs is to express their advice, views and recommendations in the decision-making process.
The CESlink community was created by a joint decision in 2000 by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the national Economic and Social Councils and similar institutions in the EU, to promote the Councils and their work, mainly using online tools.
The network consists of a group of voluntary correspondents from the national ESCs and the EESC, who use the CESlink portal and the joint document database to keep up-to-date and communicate on works, events, and common interest themes. Apart from the on-going virtual dialogue, the group also meets from time to time at the invitation of different Councils or of the EESC, to discuss key issues, evaluate previous activities, present new developments and make plans for the future.
The network cooperates with the International Association of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions (AICESIS); the meetings and events organised by AICESIS are published on the portal and the association's main documents are uploaded in the CESlink documentary database.
Browse the portal to find :
- events and initiatives organised by the EESC, the national ESCs and AICESIS,
- the websites of the national ESCs, basic information on these consultative bodies and contact points,
- a directory of presidents and secretaries-general of the ESCs in the European Union and the EESC,
- the documentary database of opinions, reports, resolutions, studies, agreements, newsletters and other documents drafted by the national ESCs and the EESC since the creation of the network,
- joint declarations, interest themes and newsletters.