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.
stresses that ensuring balance in dealing with asylum applications, so that those in need of international protection receive it or those not in need of protection are effectively returned, should not have to be the responsibility of individual Member States alone, but should be managed by the EU as a whole;
welcomes the improved information for asylum-seekers about the application process envisaged in these regulations and their rights and obligations under it, which will enable them to better defend those rights
recognises the importance of the proposals having the legal status of a regulation – as opposed to a Directive – which is binding in its entirety and directly applicable in the Member States under the Treaties. However, all the relevant proposed regulations need to be adopted concurrently in order to represent a fully-fledged policy;
is pleased that the regulations invoke the principles of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility, but feels that this burden is not sufficiently balanced by a corresponding degree of solidarity. Put simply, solidarity, in the form of relocation cannot be voluntary. Solidarity needs to be binding, in the form of mandatory relocations;
shares a dual concern for the safety of people who seek international protection or a better life, on the one hand, and the well-being of countries at the EU's external borders, which worry that migratory pressures exceed their capacities, on the other;
points out that because the overall concept of the PMA relies on border control and avoidance of secondary movements, it increases the burden of responsibility and inconvenience for the countries of first entry, along with obligations envisaged in the pre-screening and border control proposals;
is encouraged by the recognition that a wider solidarity concept is needed and that solidarity should be compulsory in nature to guarantee a predictable and effective response to the changing situation, in which an increasing share of mixed migration flows towards the Union, and to ensure fair sharing of responsibility in line with the Treaty. However, this falls short of expectations for a solidarity mechanism that would really alleviate the burden of the states of first entry;
proposes that the proposed return policy to countries of origin is backed by a system of clear incentives and disincentives to third countries. More effort needs to be made regarding the so-called triple nexus of humanitarian action, development and peace in the countries of origin of asylum seekers;
would endorse immediate and mandatory action as provided for in the European Commission proposal, given that a continent as big and wealthy as Europe should be able to contribute more to the effective protection of refugees.