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.
welcomes the Green Paper's focus on productive investment and the formation of long-lived tangible and intangible capital but urges the Commission to give greater attention to the need to finance more "socially useful" capital investment;
considers that banks might play a less prominent role in the future as providers of long-term financing, and that opportunities may arise for other intermediaries such as national and multilateral development banks, institutional investors, sovereign funds and, crucially, bond markets. However, obstacles that prevent banks from fulfilling their role as the main providers of long-term financing must be avoided.
welcomes the recent recapitalisation of the EIB as this will strengthen its ability to leverage additional private investment finance and to play a stronger countercyclical role in investment funding and credit supply to SMEs;
considers that the €10 billion capital injection to the EIB is significant but short of what is needed in the present circumstances;
finds that the arrival of EU 2020 Project Bonds is a positive development;
calls for the creation of an EU or eurozone wide savings vehicle to mobilise long-term savings, perhaps offering an interest rate premium may be worth considering;
would like to see greater emphasis placed on socially responsible investment and proposes the establishment of an observatory to monitor long-term investment conditions;
welcomes the Commission's suggestions about enhanced voting rights and dividends for long-term investors and changes to the shareholders' rights directive;
feels that consideration could be given to a co-ordinated use of capital gains tax allowances to incentivise longer-term shareholding by fund managers;
proposes that the EIF's role should be enlarged beyond providing loans to include the provision of venture capital. If the EIF were to be adequately recapitalised then it could become one of the main providers venture finance for SMEs;
perceives that national and regional governments are already in the business of promoting the survival and long-term growth of SMEs through their regional development bodies, and feels that there is a case for these bodies to take on a role in the operation of such SME trading platforms. This role could range from assessing the credit worthiness of client SMEs to providing limited guarantees to institutional investors.