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 European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), the New Economy and Social Innovation (NESI) Global Forum and the Global Hub for the Common Good have joined forces to enrich the European debate with input from communities directly involved in the collaborative, circular and functional economies.
On 16 February, the EESC brought together representatives from the public and private sectors to explore the opportunities the new economies present for the EU. Themed New Economy Models and Social Innovation: an opportunity for a better Europe, the event aimed to contribute towards the dialogue between the European Commission and civil society and to the shaping of EU legislation in these areas.
A follow-up event will subsequently take place in Malaga, Spain, on 19-22 April, with these players pooling resources to lay the foundations of a fairer and more sustainable, collaborative and people-oriented economy.
According to ABI Research, the number of internet-connected devices will go up from over 10,000 in 2015 to 30,000 million in 2020. The digital revolution is changing the way we live, buy and even work, with 15% of independent workers in the US and UE-15 countries having earned income through P2P digital platforms (Source: McKinsey Global Institute). In the meantime, Europe continues to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change, with cities such as Paris and Madrid taking substantial action to reduce CO2 emissions and countries committing to minimising their -and their key industries'- environmental impact. Can these two trends – the digital revolution and the climate change fight - be made to converge? Can Europe harness their combined potential and make the most of it?
In opening the event, EESC President Georges Dassis said: "it is imperative for the EU to effectively manage Europe's transition from a throw-away culture to a new model that is conducive to sustainable economic growth – the only growth still possible on our over-exploited planet. The EESC will use its strong connection with its civil society base to ensure that this paradigm shift takes place as smoothly and successfully as possible."
As the voice of European civil society, the EESC has recognised both the potential of the new economy models and the uncharted social and legal challenges they bring with them. The event in Brussels analysed the implications of these changes, introducing a practical dimension by inviting small and medium enterprises and other stakeholders to share their experiences and exchange best practices.
"If we want to be, again, proud of being Europeans, we need to bring back our values to our economic system. We need to put people and the planet first."
Amongst the speakers were members of the EESC as well as representatives of new economy organisations, such as Diego Isabel La Moneda, founder of the Global Hub for the Common Good and director of NESI; Albert Cañigueral, Connector at OuiShare, who talked about the collaborative economy; Christian du Tertre, President of the European Institute on the Functional Economy and Cooperation; Nicolas Usuwiel, from UNIC-3D, who dealt with the Circular Economy model; and Marcos Eguiguren, from the Global Alliance for Banking on Values.
"If we want to be, again, proud of being Europeans, we need to bring back our values to our economic system. We need to put people and the planet first, " said Diego Isabel La Moneda.
The main outcome of this event will feed into NESI Global Forum’s discussions in Malaga, with a view to co-creating guidelines for governments, public institutions and businesses and to work towards a new paradigm based on values and guaranteeing people’s well-being.