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 these stormy times, improving SME policy is high on our agenda. SMEs are important drivers of growth, jobs and social cohesion but because of the global crisis they face more and more financing constraints.
In 2008-2009, they suffered a double shock: a drastic drop in demand for the goods and services they provide, and, on top of that, a credit crunch. These events have had a serious effect on SMEs’ cash flows and liquidity. Many of them were forced into bankruptcy, thus contributing to record levels of unemployment in many European countries.
Staffan Nilsson`s opening speech at the 5th Froum on Cooperative banks and SMEs
Today, and with this speech, I will try to explain who is interested in social business in Europe, what it is, why we need to develop it and how we can do so. Keep in mind these 3 main messages:
• social business can be a solution for economic growth AND social development;
• social business can become DNA for tomorrow's Europe;
• social business can help people to engage in building a sustainable Europe.
President Nilsson speaking on social business at TEDx Utrecht University