Based on the evaluation of previous research and other documents, stakeholder interviews and consultation as well as an online survey, this report drafts possible futures of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).
The EESC is confronted with multiple challenges, including an uncertain future relevance of the EU and acceptance of the “Project Europe” by citizens, socioeconomic transformation processes and new participation possibilities as well as a changed structure of civil society. Against this, questions of representation and legitimacy as well as of impact and added value of the Committee must be asked. In this context, there are two fundamental variables for the future development of the EESC: First, there is the question of “Who will be involved / represented?” and second, “What will be the EESC's core tasks, what is its specific added value?”.
For the EESC in 2040, four scenarios developed within this study present different possible pathways. While the first scenario describes the erosion of the EESC’s legitimacy, three others put forward possible choices for the future identity of the EESC focusing on “Assessment and Foresight”, becoming the “Agora of Civil Society” or a “’Coreper’ of Social Partnership”. The scenarios are an invitation to dialogue; to reach an understanding with others about what will be of decisive importance for the future of EESC.
In the coming years, the EESC – and many other stakeholders – have to set the course so that it can continue to be a relevant building block of the European house in 2040 deciding on involvement, scope, identity and aspirations, structure and working formats, equipment and use of resources.