The European Economic and Social Committee — a transnational bridge
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is one of the oldest EU institutions, established by the Treaty of Rome in 1957. The Committee brings together 350 appointed members from all EU Member States, representing employers, employees and a third group representing various activities such as farmers, consumer groups and professional organisations.
With its focus as an advisory body on social and democratic issues, the EESC's role has been strengthened recently, becoming the key bridge "between European civil society and the EU institutions". In other words, the EESC is now an important support infrastructure for active citizenship and participatory democracy.
This role is primarily expressed in the proactive work performed by the 350 members across Europe vis-à-vis social partners, civil society and schools. When issuing opinions on new EU legislation on participatory democracy (primarily, Article 11 of the Treaty of Lisbon), the EESC has taken a proactive stand, making the European Citizens’ Initiative as accessible and user-friendly as possible.
Early on, the EESC published Your Guide to the European Citizens’ Initiative in 23 languages and the European Citizens’ Initiative Helpdesk at the European Economic and Social Committee, offering citizens across Europe an entry point and guidance on making their voices heard in an efficient and sustained way. There are more ways in which the EESC can support you.
Springtime for European people power! Together with key civil society organisations across Europe, every April the EESC organises a gathering of active citizens and stakeholders, reviewing and renewing the participatory process established by the ECI.
- For an overview of all editions go to www.eesc.europa.eu/eci (Events section)
- ECI DAY 2017: I participate!
- ECI DAY 2016: Forging Change
ECI Day 2016
ECI Day 2016 Audio Report
Lost in Translation?
Communicating your ideas to all EU citizens in their own language is a major challenge for everybody seeking to become active in the European policymaking process, established institutions and active citizens alike. When it comes to the ECI, the EESC now offers a new and unique service for registered Citizens’ Initiatives by translating their formal registration texts into the other EU languages, free of charge.
- For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The EESC has established a unique online information resource on ECI key facts and practical experiences. This resource lists available materials on ECI research, legal assessments, articles and publications.
As an active EU citizen you are (quite literally!) not alone. There are more than 400 million of you. Nor are you alone when it comes to getting governmental and civil society support for making your voice heard. Among the many resources available, we recommend the following transnational support, guidance and media across Europe.
European Citizens’ Initiative
The ECI Support Centre is a joint initiative run by the European Citizen Action Service, Democracy International and the Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe. The Centre provides newsletter updates, tailor-made advice, research and analysis, as well as access to the knowledge centre on the ECI.
The ECI Campaign is an organisation working exclusively for the successful introduction and implementation of the European Citizens’ Initiative, offering information resources as well as campaigning support.
The Direct Democracy Navigator at the University of Wuppertal gathers and analyses data on procedures and practice in modern direct democracy worldwide. It offers advice, training and teaching and hosts online resources.
A growing number of governmental entities across Europe are investing in the establishment of support infrastructures for active citizenship and participatory democracy, offering guidance on how to make your voice heard. A network of regional and local governments has been established.
Citizens and journalism
Euractiv links active European citizenship with professional online journalism and offers stories, opinions, analysis and background information on everything going on politically across Europe — in three languages: English, French and German.
#deardemocracy is a growing worldwide community of media professionals hosted by Swissinfo.ch, the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Company, offering news, opinions and background for active citizenship and participatory democracy globally — in 10 languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese, Italian and Japanese.