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.
We have come now to the end of our two days of work, and I think we can congratulate ourselves. Our exchanges have been as fruitful as we expected. We produced a very satisfactory final declaration that reflects the commitment of the participants and the precise views of Brazilian and European civil society consultative bodies on very important issues. And we produced them right in time to be fed into the EU-Brazil Summit, which will take place in Brasília in two days.
You will certainly agree with me that this good work is based above all on the fact that our shared values, our common interests and, equally important, our common problems make up a good basis for building a solid, honest and fruitful cooperation between us.
At the EESC we are all looking forward to continue our work in Brazil in the second semester of this year.
If I had to summarize the conclusions of our work these two days, I would pinpoint a few aspects that were underlined in our discussions and in the final declaration:
Firstly, that both the economic crisis and the climate crisis have resulted in a deep social crisis, seriously affecting the most vulnerable sections of society, and that the responses will have to be quickly transferred to them. In the short term many economic and financial measures are being taken. But in order to redress this in the long term, a more balanced, equal and participative world governance has to be built. Civil society participation will be essential to achieve it.
Secondly, even if the RIO+20 conclusions were less ambitious than we would have liked, some aspects of them are positive, such as the global agreement on green economy, and on the launching of a process leading to global Sustainable Development Goals. These and other results will require a follow up also by civil society, and we want to be part of that process.
Thirdly, a sustainable relation between the EU and Brazil has to take into account the very important issue of mobility, exchanges and cross-fertilization of all kinds. As regards the mobility of migrant workers, the issue of social protection for them will be key to guarantee their rights and benefit also the companies that establish themselves in another country. Mobility in terms of trade exchanges and investments need to be promoted at all levels, be it at the WTO, through the conclusion of the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement or at bilateral EU-Brazil level. In our debates today we have mentioned several important areas, but one of our main priorities is to promote the development and internationalization of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises.
Once again, I am fully satisfied that this first Round Table has been an example of constructive dialogue, that will be developed and strengthened further in our future work.
In agreement with my co-chair, I propose that our next Round Table deal with the following subjects:
Indicators of development
Sustainable development goals (SDG)
Allow me to thank all participants for following our work and actively contributing to our debates. Mr. Sobreira Lopes, please transmit a special thanks to Mr Neiva Tavares, Ambassador of Brazil to the EU, who has always supported our work in many ways. I remember that his very first task when arriving in Brussels as Brazilian Ambassador was to speak at one of our Round Tables. I’m somehow sad that we did not manage to make this Round Table his very last commitment before leaving Brussels next month, it would have been a perfect closing of the circle for us. But I’m happy that I have already agreed to meet Mr. Neiva Tavares for a lunch before he leave, so that I can thank him personally also on behalf of all of you.
Staffan Nilsson`s closing speech at the 7th EU-Brazil Round Table