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.
One of the difficulties in financial regulation is how to ensure that differing and contradictory positions are given a balanced hearing. There is no effective counterweight to the legitimate representation of the financial sector's interests.
Given the complexity of the detailed legislation, it is crucially important for civil society organisations not just to set basic objectives and call for a general tightening-up of the rules, but to put forward knowledgeable and practical proposals and arguments. This will require considerable efforts to ensure that the organisations can enter discussions on an equal footing with the legislator and with other organisations.
It may in certain cases be appropriate to provide civil society organisations with financial support from EU funds in order to rectify deficiencies in the representation of key interests.
The EESC encourages European and national civil society organisations to take a closer interest now in financial regulation. Many such organisations would do well to set themselves the discrete (and in some cases new) objective of promoting financial market stability and extend their fields of interest and activity accordingly.
The financial industry itself should also initiate dialogue with civil society organisations.
It would be valuable for the position of civil society organisations to also be represented in the media to a greater extent.