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.
By Dimitris Dimitriadis, member of the EESC Employers' Group and president of the EESC External Relations Section
With its objective to decarbonise the EU economy, the European Green Deal is a game-changer that will revolutionise our economy, our society and our relations with the rest of the world.
With COP26, the urgency to act has finally been recognised by everyone. Meanwhile, the EU is still a frontrunner in this race against the clock: it is Europe's role to lead by example. It is also in our interest to modernise our economy quickly, remaining or becoming a world leader in recycling and the circular economy, carbon capture in the atmosphere, green hydrogen, solar and wind power plants.
Europe is the biggest global market, and the effects of us moving towards net-zero emissions, shifting from fossil fuels to renewables, and reducing energy dependency, will be felt everywhere. Just think of our oil and gas imports from Russia and Algeria.
In line with our traditional commitment to multilateralism, we need to consider repercussions on third countries and we must help the weaker countries, those that have contributed less to global warming but will pay a higher price for its consequences. Equally, the EU should start immediate negotiations with our closest neighbours, to help them reach their goals within the right timeframe.
The United States is still wary of our Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, which they view as a possible protectionist measure. On the other hand, Europe cannot give up the mechanism as it is our way of preventing carbon leakage.
Concerning dependency from abroad, there is also the burning issue of critical raw materials. China provides 95% of all rare earths used in the world for new technologies. It is time to act and diversify our supply sources.
We have the science, technology, funding possibilities and ideas. What we don't have is time: the EU must act fast, and the EESC will follow developments, voicing the opinions and ideas of civil society at all stages.