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 welcomes the Commission communication, which may prove a historic turning point provided that the Council finally musters the courage and the will to adopt and implement swiftly the provisions that will help to achieve the stated objectives.
The Committee has already drawn up opinions and recommended solutions regarding most of the Commission's current proposals, particularly those relating to the limitations of EMU, the ECB, growth and sovereign debt.
The EESC believes it is useful that institutional considerations are on the agenda, including political union, though most of the proposals are rooted in the current framework and will therefore fail to resolve anything if the Council does not go further, in particular extending majority voting to all subject areas, starting with economic and employment policy.
Therefore, to achieve genuine EMU, the EESC believes it necessary in the immediate term (without amending the Treaty) to:
launch a European growth initiative, as austerity alone will not suffice to meet any of the criteria set by the EU;
introduce a convergence instrument to help overcome the economic asymmetries with micro-level measures to help the countries worst affected by the crisis;
implement a solution to the debt issue to address the problems facing all the countries that have adopted or will adopt the euro;
rapidly implement banking union and European supervision;
complete the single market in all sectors;
reduce the fragmentation of the credit market in order to ensure a level playing field where the cost of credit is the same in all Member States.
In the medium and/or long terms, possibly with changes to the Treaty, it is necessary to:
establish genuine EU economic governance alongside monetary, financial and fiscal governance, not least in order to ensure greater consistency between EU and state policies;
complete the mandate of the ECB;
implement fiscal union, starting by creating a joint euro area budget and also introducing a solidarity mechanism;
implement a social compact for social union, involving the social partners and organised civil society;
establish political union, if necessary on the basis of enhanced cooperation, and establishing a more democratic, transparent decision-making process. To this end giving the next EP constituent powers along with the Council;
give the EU a more representative role in international bodies.