EESC President


Stand up for Democracy / Speak up for Europe

EESC President Oliver Röpke

2023/2025 Manifesto

Freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law are among the fundamental values upon which the European Union is founded.

Yet these values have come under great pressure in recent years. Europe has faced unprecedented crises, which amplified social and economic inequalities and put in question EU citizens’ trust in democratic institutions. Our European values cannot be taken for granted.

In these testing times, the support of civil society in gathering the voices of European citizens is key to building democratic resilience and shaping the future of Europe. At the same time, civil society itself needs greater protection. The space in which the civil society operates is increasingly shrinking limiting the capacity of civil society organisations to do legitimate work in the EU and the rest of the world.

Throughout the next mandate, we at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) will step up our unique position as a gateway between citizens, civil society and EU institutions, acting as a true platform for honest and inclusive debate.

We will make sure that the doors of our house are open for a fact-based and meaningful democratic dialogue, involving a broad range of social, economic, political, cultural, and institutional actors. In doing so, we will - together with our institutional and civil society partners - make an important contribution towards a more resilient, more inclusive and more democratic EU that will inspire our neighbours near and far.

Mandate's pillars 

  • Standing Up for democracy at home

    Standing Up for democracy at home    

    Bring citizens closer

    • Set up participatory EESC citizen panels ahead of the European Parliament elections in 2024, feeding into a cross-cutting resolution of all EESC Sections with the main demands of the EESC for the new European Parliament and the new European Commission ("The EESC 2024 Election Manifesto").
    • Lay the foundations for the regular use of participatory citizen panels in the daily work of the EESC beyond the next European Parliament elections in 2024.
    • Revitalise the active participation of the EESC in European Citizens' Initiatives as a successful instrument to involve citizens in the EU decision-making process and to give them a democratic stage to influence EU legislation.

    Ensure the success of the European Elections

    • Ensure a robust participation of our Committee, together with civil society, in inter-institutional activities and campaigns to increase voter participation ahead of the 2024 European Parliament elections.
    • Support civil society organisations in their fight to defend democracy, to combat disinformation and covert foreign influence by supporting and taking steps to implement the Commission Defence of Democracy package ahead of the European elections.
    • Back the European Commission in supervising very large online platforms to mitigate systemic risks for democratic and electoral processes.

    Promote fundamental values and the rule of law

    • Support a renewed and strong mandate for our "EESC Group on Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law", with a view to raising public awareness about the crucial work done by the Group and to strengthen the role of watchdog played by civil society.
    • Promote an "EESC Civil Society Health Test" to actively monitor developments affecting civil society in EU Member States and candidate countries.
  • Standing Up for democracy abroad

    Standing Up for democracy abroad

    The Civil Society Gateway to democracy and prosperity

    • Personally foster high-level contacts with candidate countries such as Western Balkan partners, Ukraine, and Moldova in the framework of the enlargement process, and promote the work of our common Civil Society Platforms.
    • For the first time involve civil society representatives from EU accession countries in the daily advisory work of the Committee by appointing Honorary Enlargement Members, in particular in the drafting process of key opinions.

    Supporting EU soft diplomacy for strong and resilient civil societies

    • Personally foster the cooperation with international organisations at highest level (i.e. United Nations, International Labour Organization, World Trade Organization)
    • Promote the values that build the foundation of the EU through soft power (cultural, energy and climate, blue diplomacy) by contributing to mapping existing actions and initiatives, strengthening dialogue and cooperation with civil society organisations in third countries in these areas and working on dedicated opinions.
  • Speaking Up for Europe

    Speaking Up for Europe

    A new generation forum

    • Create a "Young EESC Ad hoc Group” on Youth Engagement with the clear mandate of continuing the work started by the Coordination Group for the European Year of Youth.
    • Use the EESC webpage "For more youth engagement" as a tool to showcase and promote concrete actions taken and activities organised by the EESC and by its members.
    • Immediately start implementing the EU Youth Test in EESC opinions, working closely with the Sections and CCMI to make sure that EESC opinions reflect the perspectives of young people in all policy fields.
    • Expand the role of "EESC Youth Delegates" in the day-to-day work of the EESC, as demonstrated by their successful participation in the EESC delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
    • Reinforce  EESC youth activities under the established EESC brand "Your Europe, Your Say! (YEYS)", in particular in the run-up to the European Parliament elections in 2024.
    • Establish a Youth Advisors Council to the President that will provide pragmatic and result-oriented recommendations, with a variety of perspectives from young activists, and will make specific proposals with a special emphasis on climate change.

    A more equal forum

    • Strengthen the mandate of the Equality Group to ensure implementation, monitor progress and, where necessary, propose adjustment measures to ensure that goals are met.
    • To follow up on the work of the Equality Group's survey on "Members' Inclusion, Work distribution and Well-being" and, where appropriate, to propose measures that will improve gender balance at the EESC.
    • Foster a strategic collaboration with the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council to mainstream gender equality in all relevant EU policies.
    • Organise round tables to mainstream gender equality in all EESC policy work and activities.
    • Advocate structural solutions to increase the share of female representation in all instances of the Committee and carefully monitor progress through regular reports.
    • Boost the transparency of the work of the EESC, ensure structural involvement in the EU transparency register and support EU ethics body.
  • Speaking Up for Europe

    Speaking Up for Europe

    An institution heard outside its walls

    • Promote a compelling and effective social media presence and a major revamp of the EESC website in order to better promote our activities, events and documents.
    • Ensure an active promotion and enhanced follow up of the EESC recommendations to institutions and stakeholders through strong collaboration at all levels.
    • Implement the new format of opinions to allow for a clear identification of civil society recommendations.
    • Open the IT tool NaviGate to publicise the work of the EESC and its opinions at different stages to all stakeholders.

    An evidence-based and forward-looking institution

    • Strengthen the EESC's relations with think tanks by involving them in the preparation of selected opinions.
    • Revise methodology of opinions and use exploratory and own-initiative opinions to diagnose long-term challenges appropriately.
    • Call for an annual EESC Summit of Think Tanks.
    • Systematically implement a foresight analysis in our opinions.
    • Capitalise on and promote the work done under the "Call for an EU Blue Deal" as priority for the new Commission priorities and a potential EU Citizens Initiative.
    • Launch a thorough analysis of the involvement of the EESC and civil society in past Treaty negotiations and explore its potential future role by creating a set of best practices and developing an actionable proposal for an enhanced role of the EESC.

Access or download the detailed priorities here


Oliver Röpke European Economic and Social Committee rue Belliard/Belliardstraat
99-101 1040 Brussels Belgium

Tel (secretariat): +32 (0)2 546 99 32
Email (secretariat)

Media Contact

For press and media inquiries, please contact the President's Spokesperson
For photos of the President, please consult the EESC Media Library