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 EESC highlights the importance of the following elements for devising suitable legislation which allows the goals of Article 3 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU) to be met: the principles of proper implementation within deadlines, subsidiarity and proportionality; the precautionary principle; predictability; "think small first"; the external dimension of competitiveness; and the internal market test.
The EESC deems it essential to monitor application on the ground. It is also in favour of legislation that can adapt. It notes that it is not only the content of legislation but the legislative process itself that must be adaptable, so as to meet the needs of businesses and citizens. It believes that the applicability of Community law must be taken into account from the very beginning of the legislative cycle, when impact assessments are done, and that the European impact assessment ecosystem must continue to evolve.
The EESC stresses, however, that better regulation is not a substitute for political decisions and must on no account lead to deregulation or reduce the level of social, environmental or fundamental rights protection. The EESC believes that improving the way the Commission consults stakeholders is crucial for drafting legislation which is easy for Member States and stakeholders to implement.
The EESC can play a useful role here as intermediary between legislators and those who use EU legislation. It is, for its part, constantly adapting its working methods. Thus it recently decided to play an active part in an evaluation of the legislative cycle, carrying out its own ex-post evaluations of the EU acquis.