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.
Civil Society Organisations active on fundamental rights, the rule of law, and democracy are confronted with increasing difficulties, from regulatory challenges to financial constraints and concerted attacks on their work and credibility. At the hearing, the EESC intends to engage with CSOs and other relevant stakeholders to identify the main issues they face and propose ways of improving support. The hearing will feed into the opinion, which will have a particular focus on EU funding.
Hearing of the Fundamental Rights and Rule of Law Group
EESC, Rue Belliard 99, 1040 Brussels
Brussels and on line
Recent developments in the US and some European countries have shown that rights acquired by women are not irreversible. This particularly applies to sexual and reproductive health and rights. These questions are a matter of individual rights but also of public health, as sexual and reproductive health services are an essential part of comprehensive healthcare provision. Societal debates on the questions tend more and more towards polarisation, at the expense of women who can become deprived of their free and informed choice. The hearing will gather the view of civil society on these developments.
EESC, Room JDE 62 and online | 10:00 - 17:30 | Rue Belliard 99, 1040
The EESC FRRL Group's annual conference will provide a platform for debate of the European Commission's third Report on the Rule of Law (July 2022), which for the first time entails country specific recommendations.
It will gather EESC Members, civil society representatives (including social partners), EU institutions and other stakeholders to discuss the main developments in the EU in the area of fundamental rights and the rule of law over the past year.
On the occasion of the conference, the FRRL Group will issue its second synthesis report covering the visits carried out in 2020-2021.
As part of its work to prepare an opinion on "Gender lens investing as a way to improve gender equality in the European Union", the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is organising a remote public hearing on 23 September 2022 from 9:30 am to 11 am.
The discussion will focus on the EU's role in improving the position of women in receiving capital invested within the Union. It will also address how the EU can step up the implementation of gender budgeting in its annual budget and external financing mechanisms.
The conference is a joint European Commission-EESC event to discuss the annual report on the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, issued by the Commission in December 2021.
The conference will cover developments in the EU in the area of fundamental rights and the rule of law in 2020-2021. It will offer a space for dialogue amongst stakeholders, in particular the ones which contributed to country visits led by the EESC Fundamental Rights and Rule of Law (FRRL) Group in 2020-2021 and to the first two European Commission Rule of Law Reports published in 2020 and 2021. The discussions during the day, including in parallel breakout sessions, will focus on the four key themes which structure the European Rule of Law Mechanism: Justice, Media, Corruption, Checks and balances.
In the context of the own-initiative opinion on Volunteers – Citizens building the future of Europe, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is organising a remote public hearing on Monday 20 September 2021. The aim of the hearing is to gather the points of view of social partners and other civil society organisations, experts and coordinators of projects related to volunteering, on the topic, and to hold a discussion on the impact of civil society trends for volunteering and the current state of play of volunteering at European level.
The Commission proposed in March 2021 new pay transparency measures, such as pay information for job seekers, a right to know the pay levels for workers doing the same work, as well as gender pay gap reporting obligations for big companies. The proposal aims to strengthen the tools for workers to claim their rights and facilitate access to justice. Employers will not be allowed to ask job seekers for their pay history and they will have to provide pay related anonymised data upon employee request. Employees will also have the right to compensation for discrimination in pay.
To improve the implementation of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights it is necessary to empower civil society organisations, rights defenders and justice practitioners, and strengthen people’s awareness of their rights under the Charter. CSOs and social partners are operating at grassroots levels and can help spread awareness and foster implementation. Moreover, the social partners have a special role in contributing to the implementation and defence of socio-economic fundamental rights.