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.
Organised by: The Centre for European Volunteering (CEV) and Volonteurope, in cooperation with the EESC Section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC) and EESC Section for Economic and Monetary Union (ECO)
11:25 - 11:35 Krzysztof Pater - Volunteers – Citizens building the future of Europe, EESC Opinion What does it tell us about Volunteering and Resilience?
11:35 - 11:45 Andris Gobiņš - European Year of Volunteers 2025 - a critical contribution to boosting associative life in Europe
11:45 - 12:00 Volunteering & Resilience in Europe:
Michaela Sojdrova, MEP, Co-chair of the Volunteering Interest Group at the EP (EPP)
12:00 - 12:40 Q&As - Discussion
12:40 - 12:50 Closing - Gabriella Civico and Piotr Sadowski - Volunteering & European Values: What next?
Volunteering is an essential component for European democracy and an expression of European values. The active engagement of citizens both in practical actions and in policy development leading to systemic change is crucial. Volunteering is an important part of community resilience. It is essential therefore for volunteering to be an integral part of community planning for crisis prevention and response. Volunteering in crisis situations needs special attention, planning and organisation. This should be proportional to the potential risks and take into account all the knowledge, experiences and potential of civic activism and the volunteers and staff of organised civil society. The connection between volunteering and community resilience is now in sharper focus than ever due to the Ukraine war, the refugee crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic in the last two years. The war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted how communities come together to support each other at times of crisis, through the emergence of organised and spontaneous volunteering to help people to protect themselves.
In November 2022, we called on the European Commission to declare 2025 the European Year of Volunteers. This idea originated from the EESC and is strongly supported by the Centre for European Volunteering and Volonteurope. It was presented on the digital platform of the Conference on the Future of Europe and received wide-ranging support and endorsement.
Declaring 2025 the European Year of Volunteers would be a fitting tribute to the contribution of volunteers to resilience in Europe. It would also highlight the importance of volunteers in supporting health and well-being in Europe, and also their role in the recovery and for the future of Europe. Building on the success of the 2011 European Year of Volunteering, which focused on exploring and reaching closer common understanding on the concept of volunteering, we propose that the European Year of Volunteers in 2025 should focus on the people who volunteer. It would seek to better understand their motivation and their impact on health and well-being, as well as their contribution to resilience and to bringing prosperity in Europe. Studies show that volunteering has a huge contribution to personal, community and societal resilience and can bring to those who engage a new sense of purpose, identity and sense of belonging, and also that it improves life satisfaction, while reducing loneliness and isolation. The session at CS Days 2023 will focus on these issues.