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.
At a recent conference of the Diversity Europe Group, civil society representatives urged their organisations to tell politicians what type of society they want to create and live in.
Participants at the conference on Civil Society Organisations during and after COVID-19: what challenges and what future? argued that policy cohesion and a meaningful involvement of citizens are key. They called for a holistic and integrated approach to policy-making which actively promotes EU values, the well-being of its people and bottom-up initiatives which respect the opinions and rights of EU citizens. Leveraging new forms of solidarity and social activism that sprung to life during the pandemic will be crucial in this.
Séamus Boland, Diversity Europe Group president, highlighted the outstanding engagement of civil society organisations (CSOs) and encouraged them and citizens to actively engage in reconstructing and rebuilding post-COVID-19 communities and societies.
"Now is the right time to re-think our growth and governance models and to balance economic prosperity with social inclusion, human capital, sustainability and well-being," said Mr Boland, who also set out two conditions for a real shift: "A holistic and integrated approach to policy-making and civil society involvement in the design and delivery of the new world."
The Group president urged EU and national authorities to work with CSOs as partners and emphasised that civil society and public authorities must continue to defend democratic governance, fundamental rights and the rule of law.
Read all the conference conclusions and recommendations here. (jk)