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.
supports the general objective pursued by the Commission proposal, since ensuring legal certainty and predictability with regard to the VAT Directive is crucial to creating a level playing field across Member States and to further promoting the single market;
underlines that more uniformity of the VAT rules could indeed reduce compliance costs and be conducive to growth for all enterprises operating in the EU and, especially, for SMEs working on a transnational basis;
stresses that discrepancies with regard to the application of the VAT rules can bring about significant adverse distortions across the internal market and, as a consequence, negative social effects which should be prevented by ensuring more consistency in the application of the existing rules;
cannot refrain from noting that the Commission proposal, and in particular the proposed outline of issues to be addressed under the new set of rules, might come up against significant resistance from many Member States, which could likely raise "principled objections" to the Commission proposal;
calls for the consideration of other measures able to improve the single market as early as possible and suggests that the Commission, as a first step, consider improving and strengthening the existing advisory Committee on VAT and its decision-making process, in order to enhance the unsatisfactory degree of uniformity of VAT rules across Member States;
considers it useful to duly trace heterogeneous applications and implementations of agreed VAT rules at national level. It is important to make the existing differences transparent, clear and public in order to improve uniformity under the current regulatory framework;
stresses that this approach might result in an effective system of "peer pressure", making it much harder for Member States to deviate from consolidated interpretations and implementation practices to the detriment of the internal market;
considers it important that the Commission carry out impact assessments of any differences in the implementation or interpretation of agreed VAT rules in any Member State. The impact assessments should be made public, duly discussed and followed up within the VAT Committee.