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.
Building a European economy for society and people: A social economy for the future of Europe
The social economy has proven to be a European success story. Today we, the social economy stakeholders, are gathering in Strasbourg to call for a strong commitment and policy agenda to unleash the full potential of the social economy in Europe, carrying the EU's fundamental values of democracy and citizenship.
Europe is in the midst of complex societal challenges. We, the social economy stakeholders, want to collectively build a true social market economy that reconciles economic performance with social progress and environmental sustainability. This should be done by promoting the diversity of forms of enterprises and jointly identifying solutions to address the main challenges of our time, such as climate crisis and the digital transition, in order to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
For this, we need political ownership, enabling policies and committed EU institutions, with a strong European Parliament Intergroup on the Social Economy, a dedicated commissioner and engaged Member States, regions and cities.
Therefore, we call on the European institutions to provide a comprehensive and coherent policy initiative with tangible actions specifically dedicated to the social economy, to include the following aspects:
Providing guidance to Member States on the common values that define the Social Economy Enterprise sector and supporting them in developing effective public policies;
Mainstreaming Social Economy Enterprises into all Single Market, SME and entrepreneurship policies, ensuring that these policies take into account the specific characteristics of Social Economy Enterprises;
Developing the most appropriate financial ecosystem and promoting strategic investments in innovative and sustainable social economy projects throughout their lifecycle at local, regional, national and EU levels, prioritising the social economy in EU funding programmes;
Ensuring that Social Economy Enterprises take full advantage of the digital transition by integrating the social economy into the concept of a Digital Single Market;
Increasing awareness, visibility andrecognition by promoting satellite accounts reporting on the social economy across Europe;
Reporting on the social, economic and environmental impactand progress in parallel by elaborating on Social Economy Enterprises' development in the European Semester process. This requires access to social impact measurement tools and sharing of best practices;
Supporting public authorities in mainstreaming social economy entrepreneurship at all levels of education;
Promoting co-construction and policy innovation to take full advantage of the social economy's capacity to scale up and respond efficiently to social needs and contribute to social inclusion, cohesion and sustainability;
Realising the full potential of social innovation by encouraging the creation of cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary partnerships to jointly identify inclusive and sustainable solutions;
Ensuring that all public institutions at local, regional, national and EU levels implement socially responsible and green public procurement.
It is time for the European Union to unleash the full potential of the social economy for the peoples of Europe. This can only be achieved through action and cooperation and by building synergies between stakeholders. Alone, we are invisible, but together, we are unstoppable.