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 legislative proposal unveiled by the Commission in March 2016 on organic and waste-based fertilisers is part of the Circular Economy Action Plan published in December 2015. It aims at fostering resource efficiency in the sector of fertilising products, create new opportunities for businesses and farmers and improve the environmental performance of these substances. It is based on the existing 2003 Fertilisers Regulation, which ensure free movement of traditional, mineral fertilisers. The proposal widens the scope of the EU legislation and integrates organic and waste-based fertilisers, including animal by-products, in order to create a level-playing field for these substances. It provides rules for free movement, in particular by making the CE mark accessible to organic fertilisers; it also introduces new harmonised requirements for all CE marked fertilisers, in terms of quality, safety and labelling.
NAT/691 - Circular Economy - fertilisers on Teamsite
The opinion generally supports the Commission's proposals, welcoming it as the first legislative outcome of the Circular Economy Action Plan after the proposals on the waste legislation. The EESC welcomes in particular the creation of a level-playing field including organic and waste-based fertilisers, which will help them become more competitive vis-à-vis mineral ones. The opinion recommends a reliable labelling system, emphasises the differences between soils in EU countries and highlights that the EU still lacks an EU Soil Framework Directive. The Commission's proposal introduces a limit on cadmium in fertilisers, which the section opinion endorses, highlighting that it will increase costs and that farmers should benefit from adequate support.