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 23rd hybrid meeting of the EU Domestic Advisory Group (DAG) under the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which was the first EU DAG meeting after the Civil Society Forum with the Korean counterparts, all participants underlined the importance of the ratification of three fundamental ILO conventions by the Republic of Korea in April 2021. This ratification by the Korean government sends an important message to the other countries of the Asian region, providing a strong incentive for them to ratify the ILO core conventions at an early stage of their engagement in FTA negotiations with the EU.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hosted on 12 April the 7th meeting of the EU-Korea Civil Society Forum, an online event that gathered civil society representatives to discuss on labour-related issues, including working hours, civil dialogue and the state of play of the implementation of international standards and conventions (ILO). Participants also celebrated the 10th anniversary of the implementation of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
The 9th EU-Korea Civil Society Forum (CSF) took place on 4-5 September 2023 in Brussels. The event started with a workshop discussing cooperation in international fora on environment and climate and the state of play of CSR in the EU and Korea.
During the meeting, the EU DAG elected its presidency for the 2023-2025 term and had a tour de table to introduce the respective members and the organisations they represent.
It was likewise an opportunity for members to receive an update from the European Commission on the implementation of the TSD Chapter and information on the preparations of the meeting of the Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development. The members also discussed EU-Korea relations with a special focus on the outcome of the 10th EU-Republic of Korea summit, held on 22 May in Seoul.
Other items on the agenda were the Rules of Procedure of the DAG and the preparation of the upcoming Civil Society Forum and the workshop with the Korean counterparts to take place this autumn.
During this meeting, the EU DAG discussed with the expert the final draft report for the desk study on "Non-Standard employment and platform work on the international arena – with a specific focus on the point of view from Korea". It was likewise an opportunity for members to receive an update from DG Trade on the implementation of the TSD Chapter and the follow-up of the recommendations of the Panel of Experts. The EU DAG Chair also reported on the hearing of the DAGs at the European Parliament's INTA Committee meeting, held on 21 March 2023.
Finally, the members summarized the 2020-2023 mandate and exchanged views on the future priorities of the EU DAG.
This 25th meeting of the EU DAG for Korea was the occasion for the members who participated at the joint meetings in Seoul on 13-14 September 2022 to report back to the EU DAG, and for the European Commission's DG TRADE to report from the meeting of the Committee on Trade and Sustainable Development.
The Chair of the Delegation for relations with the Korean Peninsula of the European Parliament also took part in the meeting and reported on the EP delegation's mission to Seoul, which also took place this autumn.
In addition to that, the EU DAG members discussed the preliminary draft inception report for the desk study on platform work.
The 8th EU-Korea Civil Society Forum (CSF) took place on 13 September 2022 in Seoul. During the meeting, the DAGs exchanged views on the EU and the Korea DAGs’ experiences since the first meeting in 2012. Participants also discussed ILO fundamental conventions, as well as Occupational Safety and Health in the presence of a representative from the ILO. Climate initiatives in the EU and Korea with special focus on carbon neutrality and green growth, CBAM from an EU business perspective and the Korean Carbon Neutrality Action Plan were other items on the agenda.
The CSF was completed on 14 September with a workshop on the topic of "Platform work in the EU and Korea" and a presentation on "Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence".
This meeting took place after the Civil Society Forum held in April and it gave the opportunity for the EU DAG members to follow up on the joint meeting with its Korean counterpart and discuss activities ahead.