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 and endorses the Commission's work on bringing the Asylum Procedures Directive into line with the suggestions made in the Green Paper and the Policy Plan.
The EESC considers that cultural, legal, administrative and cooperation processes involving the Member States and third countries should be launched in order to build a Europe of asylum within the social Europe.
It is essential that applicants be able to express themselves in their mother tongue during asylum application procedures and that they be guaranteed free legal aid at all stages.
Rejections of applications for international protection must be explained with clear reasons and must include information on the possibilities for appeal, including procedures and timeframes.
Expulsion measures must in any case be suspended pending the outcome of any appeals.
The EESC considers that Member States should do all they can, including by pooling relevant experience, to enable asylum seekers to work, train and take part in cultural activities, within an appropriate social environment.
The EESC believes that the principle of non-return (non-refoulement) must remain firmly in place and that there is a need to agree on a way of expanding the range of people eligible for international protection: women suffering abuse, vulnerable people, environmental refugees, etc.
The EESC argues that a sense of shared responsibility must be enhanced within the Member States.