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 EESC welcomes the Commission proposal for a new European Consensus on Development, which brings this overarching EU development policy document fully in line with the 2030 Agenda. The Committee acknowledges the role the 2005 European Consensus on Development has played in development cooperation both at the level of the EU and of its Member States. The Committee expects that the new Consensus will continue to play a similar role.
The EESC salutes the explicit commitment of the Consensus to the overarching goal of eradicating poverty, on a rights-based approach to development cooperation and on gender equality, ensuring that under the 2030 Agenda no-one is left behind wherever they live and regardless of ethnicity, gender, age, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation, migration status or other status.
The Committee takes the view that the Consensus should attempt to define the roles of the Commission and of Member States, taking into account their specific comparative advantage in the field of development. That has become even more relevant as it is expected that the total allocation for development by the EU and its Member States will come under further pressure in a changing domestic political environment. This also implies that the EU and its Member States should not use development aid as leverage to impose cooperation on development cooperation partners for economic and foreign policy goals, for state security and migration control.
The EESC emphasises the role of the social partners and civil society organisations (CSOs) in development policy, and encourages the Commission to develop better adapted financial mechanisms to support a wider variety of civil society organisations, to ensure the access of smaller and more numerous local organisations to EU programmes.
Social partners and civil society organisations should be allowed to monitor public spending on development. They should be meaningfully involved in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development programmes so that these respond to the genuine needs of the widest range of people.
Furthermore, the EESC is of the opinion that social dialogue must be recognised as a tool for implementing the development agenda, and encourages the EU to work with independent employers and workers’ organisations (social partners) to promote sound industrial relations practices and functioning labour administrations.
The EESC believes that the foundation for inclusion and sustainability is decent and stable jobs, particularly for women and young people, which generate sufficient revenue and sustainable value chains for the range of consolidated public services.