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 the absence of any Community guidance in this area, the various Member States have developed their own national legal systems for preventing individuals and families from falling into over-indebtedness, processing the cases of those who do, helping them get out of debt and providing them with support.
The opinion suggests that a European Indebtedness Observatory should be set up to monitor developments in the phenomenon at European level, providing a forum for dialogue between all the parties concerned, and proposing and coordinating measures to prevent and limit it, then assessing the impact thereof.
The Committee is aware, however, that coordinating steps of this nature and scope can only be achieved if the Commission, European Parliament and Council – in close dialogue with organised civil society, representing the bulk of those concerned by the issue (families, workers, consumers, financial institutions, etc.) – decide to make this a priority for action.
It is strongly recommended that the necessary follow-up be given in terms of basic research, consultations and legislative and other relevant proposals, starting with the publication of a Green Paper defining and identifying the terms of the issue and giving a voice to all the parties concerned, by means of extensive public consultation.
The EESC calls on the European Parliament and the Council to take on board the major concerns that this opinion attempts to address on behalf of civil society and make them a priority in their respective political agendas.