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.
Today the European Commission has published the Action Plan on how to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights.'The EESC Workers' Group welcomes the proposal and hopes very much that it will deliver social progress. The Action Plan for the EPSR must have concrete and ambitious short, medium, and long terms measures and legislative initiatives, as well as a sufficient budget', said Oliver Röpke, President of the EESC Workers' Group.
The importance of a social Europe to Europeans has been highlighted in the latest EU Barometer: nine in ten respondents EU citizens say that a social Europe is important or very important to them. We call on the EU leaders to deliver a commitment for making the European Pillar of Social Rights a tangible reality for all Europeans.
The Workers' group supports the Portuguese Council Presidency's intention to make the Porto Agenda 2030 the historical opportunity to tackle structural issues related to globalization, wealth redistribution, labour market protection, social investment, the social agenda in the Green New Deal and the European semester, and the end of austerity policies, among many others.
However, this Action Plan is only half the way to a strong social dimension. Important initiatives that the Workers' Group and the entire EESC have called for are not sufficiently reflected in the proposal, including a European framework for a minimum income. Stronger information, consultation and participation rights of workers must also be given greater focus in the future. The enormous social challenges of the green deal and the digital transformation requires a better corporate governance of companies than only considering shareholder interests. Thus, we need a strong and mandatory workers´ voice towards facilitating resilient and sustainable companies.
Nevertheless this Action Plan is a major step forward and we support Commissioner Schmit's efforts to take our demands into account:
'This Action Plan should constitute the beginning of a new social contract, avoiding the temptation to go back to business as usual. We need a new EU economic and social governance, with new parameters and rules, with a people-centred agenda, aiming at increasing public expenditure and investment to support the green and digital transitions. Full employment, just and inclusive transitions, the improvement of living and working conditions, and strengthening social protection should be at the heart of a new governance framework, in order to bring people and member states together, with solidarity, equality, and sustainability. A strong social investment in our future! The Action Plan must live up to these strong demands', said Oliver Röpke.
This study on behalf of the Workers’ Group of the European Economic and Social Committee explores the possibility of establishing three policy instruments to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) and rebalance the economic and social dimensions of the E(M)U.
On Tuesday, January 26th, from 8.30 to 10.00 a.m., the Workers' Group will be organising a Webinar on the Action Plan to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Social Summit throughout our social media platforms.
We are experiencing the biggest crisis in peacetime in the last 90 years; if the European Central Bank's estimates of the size of the 15% of GDP depression turn out to be correct, this is three times the magnitude of the last crisis in 2008. The European Union has never faced such an economic and social crisis of this scale. This crisis is of a different nature than previous ones, and it requires a different mix and timing of policy responses. That is why we believe that business as usual can no longer be a political option to address the effects of the crisis. Europe has the possibility and the opportunity to build another world.