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 Employers' Group did not support the EESC opinion on driving and rest time periods, working time and posting of workers (TEN/637). For the Group, the opinion did not sufficiently reflect differences of views in the Committee concerning the Commission's proposal on the posting of workers.
The group tabled a number of amendments, which aimed to take into account the realities of the road transport sector in Europe. Even though the amendments were, in our view, balanced, they did not gain support of the rapporteur and the majority of the EESC Members.
Applying posting rules to international road transport is about protectionism and limiting freedom of movement. Unfortunately the document the EESC adopted does not reflect these negative consequences. The EU Single Market is being seriously compromised and thousands of SMEs operating in transport sector across Europe will suffer said Jacek P. Krawczyk, president of the Employers' Group.
During the debate, members of the Employers' Group highlighted numerous inconsistencies in the Commission's proposal on the posting of drivers. Vladimira Drbalová underlined that without proper infrastructure (i.e. a sufficient number of well-equipped and secure lorry parks) stricter rules would be counterproductive and would not improve working conditions. Transport is important for the European economy and wealth creation. We need to make sure that the proposal is fit for today's market –added Stefan Back.
The proposed rules will create uncertainty and additional paperwork both for drivers and for companies. They will undermine the principles of the Single Market – emphasised Janusz Pietkiewicz. Lech Pilawski drew attention to imprecise definitions in the legislation, which might lead to absurd situations. For instance, compulsory return home for rest is impossible in the case of longer routes. There is no precise definition of a driver's home – is it the driver's home country, place of residence at the workplace or the place where his or her family lives?
Christa Schweng welcomed the proposal to introduce block notification for 6 months of posting instead of single notification. If the paperwork had to be done at each border crossing, that would mean the end of international road transport – she pointed out.
The opinion was adopted on 18 January 2018, during the EESC plenary session, with 193 votes for, 89 against and 17 abstentions. As the amendments tabled by the Employers' Group were supported by over 1/4 of those voting, they will be published in the Official Journal of the EU, together with the opinion.