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 commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Janusz Wojciechowski, was pleased to welcome Mr Maurizio Reale on 19 February after their previous meetings at COPA-COGECA. While highlighting the difficult negotiations on the MFF, he pointed out the undeniable links between the common agricultural policy (CAP) and several of the new Commission’s objectives, mainly the Green Deal, along with the "farm to fork" and biodiversity strategies. In his opinion, farmers need increased budgetary support to take the necessary steps in this context. In the long term, agricultural policy must be able to develop a vision that is consistent with territorial development and the increased greening of practices. The commissioner is determined to defend the position of farmers in trade agreements.
The position of the EESC
Mr Reale supported the commissioner's vision and, in particular, his defence of farmers. While referring to his previous meetings with Margrethe Vestager (executive vice-president of the Commission) and Norbert Lins (chair of the EP's AGRI Committee, COMAGRI), he informed the commissioner that the EESC was the first institution to give its opinion on the CAP reform. The EESC also produced an exploratory opinion requested by the Commission before the Commission put forward its proposal for a reformed CAP. He informed the commissioner about ongoing work at the EESC. He expressed hope for close cooperation with the commissioner and his cabinet.
Green solutions should not lead to the destruction of agriculture
The commissioner welcomed the proposal for cooperation, which would fit in neatly with existing cooperation with COMAGRI. He stressed that the proposal for a reformed CAP, as it was currently on the table, would not be sufficient to achieve the objectives of the Green Deal. It is necessary, he said, to avoid creating too many divergences between Member States, regions and territories, while also promoting the fair sharing of efforts. Imposing administrative burdens is not a good approach and green solutions should not lead to the destruction of agriculture. He believes that the EESC could help to present the reform of the CAP as a positive opportunity for farmers.
The commissioner and Mr Reale agreed to implement their cooperation as soon as possible, via their respective teams, pending the Commissioner's participation in the June plenary session.