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 June 2015 European Council mandated Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, to draft a new EU Global Strategy for foreign and security policy by the summer of 2016. The current Security Strategy dates back to 2003; since then the reality of the EU's Foreign Affairs has changed considerably, underlining the need for a new updated strategy.
With this Opinion, the EESC wishes to weigh in on the new EU Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy, which is expected to be presented to the Council. The rapporteur argues that internal and external policy are intertwined and both require better coordination of policies, objectives and resources. Social exclusion today is a key factor in crises, and the EU must be a defender of equality and a promoter of freedom, security and prosperity.
The new strategy will go beyond security, meaning it will cover a wide range of very relevant topics. The Opinion addresses these areas and suggests that the EU's priorities should be strengthening the accession path of candidate countries, stabilising the Eastern and Southern neighbourhood, responding to the flow of migrants and refugees, fostering a strong and more clealy defined Common Security and Defense Policy, strengthening a reformed multilateral system and promoting trade and investment.
Further, the Opinion calls on an increase in the resource allocation to foreign and defence policy, affirms the EU's role as a constructive and regulatory power, calls for a common refugee, asylum and immigration policy, more flexible development aid disbursement, and addressing the geopolitical impact of the major trade agreements under negotiation.
Finally, the rapporteur calls on an increased participation of civil society in the EU's foreign policy, proposing the establishment of a formal cooperation between the EESC and the EEAS, an annual foreign a security policy audition with the High Representative, and carrying out an evaluation report on the participation of civil society in the EU's external policy.