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 Commission has submitted two proposals on the EIT: an amendment of the regulation establishing the EIT and a decision on the Strategic Innovation Agenda. Taking into account the fact that those proposals are closely linked, the EESC decided to issue a joint opinion on both proposals.
The main conclusions of the opinion are as follows:
The EESC welcomes the Commission's approach regarding the EIT and supports its proposals, which are seen as a positive step towards improving cooperation, knowledge-sharing and bringing together high-level research and training institutions.
The Committee finds the overall architecture proposed by the Commission both innovative and promising. The financing structure of KICs and their governance structure are clearly advantageous.
The EESC is also pleased at the introduction of EIT-labelled degrees facilitating mobility for researchers and the development of businesses beyond their home territories.
The EESC points out that, given the ambitious objectives, the budget allocated by the Commission's project effectively represents a freeze or even a reduction in financial resources up to 2020.
According to the EESC as much information as possible should be channelled to institutes, businesses and other potential partners so they can support and contribute to the establishment of KICs in the main areas mentioned in the SIA.