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 European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) will be organising a mission to Russia on 30-31 August. The two-day visit will provide an opportunity for EESC members to meet with both the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation and other Russian civil society organisations. The EESC delegation will discuss the current situation for civil society organisations, and specifically the situation with regard to human rights and the environment.
The visit follows an invitation by the Ambassador of Russia to the EU, Mr Vladimir Alekseyevich Chizhov, to EESC President Georges Dassis. As the European body representing European organised civil society in the EU legislative process, in line with the guiding principles of the EU's policy towards Russia, and convinced of the need for civil society dialogue between the EU and Russia to remain open at all times, the EESC affirms its continued interest in engaging in people-to-people contacts and in supporting Russian civil society organisations representing different and diverse interests and views.
Commenting on the visit, Dilyana Slavova, President of the EESC's External Relations Section, stated: "Contacts between the civil societies on both sides form an integral part of EU-Russia economic and social relations. We are here today to give fresh impetus to and examine opportunities to expand our relations in the fields of mutual interest to European and Russian civil society".
The EESC delegation will meet its counterpart institution, the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, as well as Russian environmental and human rights NGOs.
The EESC delegation consists of members of the EESC's EU-Russia Follow-up Committee: Mr Markus Penttinen (Workers' Group, FI), Ms Ulrika Westerlund (Various Interests' Group, SE), and Ms Dilyana Slavova (EESC External Relations Section president, Various Interests' Group, BG).
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) is a consultative, non-political EU body that gives representatives of Europe's socio-occupational interest groups a formal platform to express their points of view on the EU’s legislative proposals that are of direct importance to them. Its opinions are forwarded to the Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament. It thus has a key role to play in the Union's decision-making process, and contributes to strengthening the democratic legitimacy and effectiveness of the European Union.
The EESC's External Relations Section, of which the Russia Follow-up Committee is a part, supports and develops partnerships with civil society organisations in other countries, especially those where the EU has established a structured dialogue.
Press release 1st July 2015: "Facilitating the visa regime: a practical step towards the Russian people. 2nd meeting between the EESC and the EU-Russia civil society Forum"