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.
The EESC agrees with the need for an updating of the 2005 Council Decision (2005/387/JHA, OJ L 127/32, 20.5.2005) on new psychoactive substances (NPS) as well as with the need for better coordinated action between the EU agencies involved, a tighter timetable for data collection, and classification into substances presenting low, moderate or severe risks. Any actions to restrict supply should follow these classifications in a timely and proportionate manner.
The EESC also notes that supporting data for the underpinning impact assessment were often not available, that usage of NPS varies across the EU, and that public attitudes and political responses differ sharply.
The EESC believes that there developments in countries outside the EU should be followed while improved resourced data collection inside the EU is essential.
There are a number of technical points to be clarified if the proposal for a Regulation stays as it is; these are set out in Section 5 of this Opinion. Success of the Regulation will depend on political support, data provision and funding from Member States. Practical objectives must be agreed. Research must continue and the best (and worst) practices for control and treatment must be identified. Plans for and outcomes from EU-funded research programmes should be regularly shared with others in the field and better incorporated in impact assessments and in any subsequent legislative proposals. Data collection, risk assessment and knowledge transfer should continue in real time via the Civil Society Forum on Drugs, involving all stakeholders. All NPS should be covered, including those already notified in single use, in mixtures or as adulterants in other NPS. Priorities and possibilities for action should be agreed with Member States more frequently. Alternatives or additions to a uniform EU-wide response restricted to supply-side reduction should be considered.