On 4 April 2017, the president of the European Economic and Social Committee, Georges Dassis, received a request for an exploratory opinion from Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission. He asked the EESC to present the ideas and priorities of European civil society concerning the Union's future development.
In view of this, the EESC opted for an original consultation method. 27 national consultations were organised in the Member States between 4 May and 9 June 2017, and 1 003 representatives of civil society organisations took part in the debates. The reports on the national debates were then drafted, compiled and disseminated, in particular to the president of the European Commission and the MEPs who attended the interparliamentary meeting of 11 October 2017, which focused on "the future of Europe".