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 Commission's Report is timely, and gives some important guidance for improving the framing of macro-regional strategies and governance of their implementation.
It is disappointing though that in the Report the concept of "governance" is confined to political, institutional and administrative/organisational cooperation. The "partners" are only given a very subordinate role.
This is a particularly serious problem when it comes to implementation. To a large extent, effective and efficient implementation is contingent on prior involvement of partners. Therefore a new model of governance should be developed, with the involvement of economic and social partners.
Bodies with composite membership at various levels, together with specific forums, could considerably help to strengthen the European identity of civil society, and of economic, social and political players. This could significantly contribute to further development of a European model, deliberately based in part on a "bottom-up" approach.
It would make a big difference if development policy at macro-regional level became an integral part of pan-European policies. For this to happen, European-level evaluation is needed of "existing" macro-regional links which work well from territorial and sectoral perspectives.
Taking stock of macro-regional challenges and opportunities could help to foster development initiatives along the lines of "Connecting Europe", thus strengthening European integration.
The analysis does not address issues which are essential in calculating investment returns and thus demonstrating added value. One of the tasks of the "technical points" could be to set up a uniform monitoring system and prepare ex-ante and ex-post evaluations.
A more precise definition in legal and institutional terms is needed of "governance" in relation to the framing and implementation of macro-regional strategies.
The "three no’s" no longer apply: there is funding, an administrative institutional system is being developed to assist with implementation, and necessary rules are set out in the common strategic framework.