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.
In three opinions adopted in February, the EESC endorses the Commission's proposal to temporarily extend the application of EU legislation to address specific problems which could affect aviation and road freight transport in case of a "no-deal" Brexit.
The EESC backs the action plan put together by the Commission to cover a "no-deal" scenario, with specific measures to ensure continued validity of certificates for aeronautical products, parts, appliances and companies. "The EU regulation should only become effective to resolve aviation safety issues which could not otherwise be resolved. The purpose is not to extend the status quo, but to offer a temporary solution to enable the sector to continue to adhere to the highest safety standards until the UK has established national agencies and national legislation to assume the role of a safety agency," said the rapporteur Thomas McDonogh.
The Committee also endorses the thrust of the Commission's proposal for a contingency regulation to ensure basic air services and points out that this cannot be seen as an extension of the current rules, in particular Regulation (EC) No 1008/2008, or even as a unilateral withdrawal agreement, because the rights are limited in time and purpose. The author of the opinion, Jacek Krawczyk, said: "The proposed regulation is a temporary solution and represents a contingency plan to reduce the impact of an abrupt Brexit. It is the only realistic way to mitigate possible serious negative consequences to be expected for the aviation sector if the withdrawal agreement is not ratified before 29 March 2019."
Road freight transport
In addition, the EESC backs the Commission's proposals granting UK road haulage operators the right to move freely within the EU until 31 December 2019, provided that EU carriers are also granted fair, equal and non-discriminatory conditions of competition in the UK. "We very much hope that, by the date of the UK's withdrawal, the British authorities will have decided on a set of equivalent temporary measures, granting EU carriers operating in the UK the same rights as those proposed, on a temporary basis, by the Commission for carriers holding a UK licence, authorising them to provide freight transport between UK territory and the remaining 27 Member States," said the rapporteur, Raymond Hencks. (mp)