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.
Cohesion policy is key to recovering from the COVID-19 crisis, achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and reducing disparities in Europe. A recent EESC opinion cautions that its most serious challenge for the foreseeable future is the war in Ukraine.
Rapid action is needed to help refugees and ensure Ukraine's European integration. In its opinion, the EESC also underscores that it is strongly in favour of Ukraine joining the EU without delay and calls for cohesion policy and the associated financial instruments to be adapted accordingly.
Specifically, the Committee suggests creating a separate EU fund to facilitate post-war reconstruction and development. The opinion, adopted during the May plenary, analyses a European Commission communication about its Cohesion in Europe towards 2050 report.
The report was published two weeks before Russia's invasion of Ukraine – and therefore did not take its ramifications into account. Rapporteur Krzysztof Balon said: "In the short and medium term, the biggest challenge for cohesion policy is Russia's aggression, which is in fact also an act of aggression against the European Union."
Co-rapporteur Gonçalo Lobo Xavier added: "Cohesion policy is still a fundamental instrument for the recovery and resilience of the European economy and particular focus should be placed on SMEs." (tk)