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.
The EESC calls on the EU and Member States to work on better communicating fundamental rights and the rule of law towards the general public. In an opinion adopted in December, the Committee suggests focusing on fairness and justice and giving a voice to those who experience human rights violations first-hand.
The rule of law and fundamental rights can be perceived by some as overly abstract, distant, jargonistic and legalistic concepts. The Committee believes that this is a real danger which the EU needs to address.
Cristian Pîrvulescu, rapporteur for the EESC opinion "Communicating fundamental rights and the rule of law", explained that "lack of clear communication and education at European and national levels on these principles benefits the enemies of democracy. We call for more support for civil society awareness-raising activities and stronger school curricula."
Co-rapporteur José Antonio Moreno Díaz stressed that "Individuals cannot defend their fundamental rights if they do not know what they actually mean. EU actors, institutions, Member States, and civil society can make a difference by translating abstract concepts into meaningful and practical issues, creating a shared European culture of fundamental rights and the rule of law."
The EESC opinion argues that human rights protection and the rule of law are not possible in the absence of a welfare state. The two are interconnected: when the welfare state no longer works, society may view the rule of law as an empty concept. This link is also recognised in the European Pillar of Social Rights, an essential policy tool for building a more inclusive Union.