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.
Every year, we Europeans consume 25 million tonnes of disposable plastic, which is mostly discarded as waste, less than 30% being sent for recycling. A significant quantity finds its way into our oceans through littered waterways, flood plains, and coastlines. Plastics in every guise have regrettably become an accepted convenience in everyday life, from transport to construction, from telecommunications to kitchen goods, and from food packaging to healthcare equipment.
Action on Plastics was identified as a priority in the 2015 Circular Economy Action Plan, to help European businesses and consumers use resources in a more sustainable way. In this context, the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, adopted on 16 January 2018, aims to transform the way plastic products are designed, produced, used and recycled in the EU.
By taking the lead in this transition, the EU aims tocreate new investment opportunities and jobs while also contributing to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals, the global climate commitments and the EU's industrial policy objectives. In particular, sea-based marine litter is tackled with a specific proposal for a Directive on Port Reception Facilities introducing new measures to ensure that waste generated on ships or gathered at sea is not left behind but returned to land and adequately managed there.
As part of its legislative work, the European Economic and Social Committee will hold a public hearing to take stock of the suggested measures and to learn how to build upon the experience and views of relevant stakeholders and players in this domain. The outcome and conclusions of the hearing will provide relevant civil society's input into the preparation of the EESC opinion on the proposed Strategy and Directive.
The hearing will be followed by a theatre performance. In parallel, an art exhibition of sculptures made out of plastic waste will be hosted in the EESC canteen.