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 EESCrecognises that interregional, cross-national cooperation building upon pre-existing, historical socio-economic and cultural links is the necessary response to the challenges resulting from a rapid evolving expansion of the European Union (EU.. Establishing an interconnected cross-border and cross-sectoral system of collaboration and delivering a strategic framework for thematic poles for funding institutions to implement well-targeted projects in a macro-region is of great importance.
In their first 10 years of operation, the four macro-regional strategies served as useful tools for cohesion policy, primarily by enhancing integration and cooperation and identifying important development processes involving citizens and regions.
Nevertheless, performance, in terms of reducing social and spatial disparities and boosting environmental sustainability, remains modest. This is due to the complexity of governance and intergovernmental arrangements, the level of bureaucracy, the lack of cross-regional homogeneity, and insufficient involvement of the social partners, socio-economic agents and civil society organisations.
The EESC supports that macro-regional strategies should be understood as laboratories for developing a bottom-up approach to solving the new challenges facing Europe’s society and economy.
Macro-regional strategies can boost European integration, serving as the major strategic framework for cohesion and sustainability policy.
Additionally, macro-regional strategies should also be geared towards the range of policies being promoted under the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015.
The EESC provides in section 5 of the present opinion a list of specific policy proposals. These can be summarised as follows: (i) along with the necessity for strengthened policy interventions, we need to reduce the bureaucratic burden; (ii) introduce functioning networking, interconnection and management of existing databases; (iii) prioritise networking and clustering of the social partners, local socio-economic agents and civil society organisations; (iv) in the future, macro-regional strategies will significantly benefit from efficient networks for educational activities..
The development and implementation of macro-regional communication strategies for the stakeholders has a strong supportive role in enhancing visibility, fostering networking and participation.