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.
Participants in the discussion with the president of the CoR, Markku Markkula, agreed that the agendas of the European Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee were often aligned and that both advisory bodies should step up their cooperation in order to benefit from these synergies.President Markkula presented the CoR's current priorities to the members of the Employers' Group. The CoR is currently focusing on five priorities:
A fresh start for the European economy
The territorial dimension of EU legislation matters
A simpler, more connected Europe
Stability and cooperation within and outside of the European Union
Europe of the citizens is Europe of the future
Mr Markkula briefly elaborated on these priorities and underlined the importance of a bottom-up approach. In his view, it was especially important now, with the EU facing a wave of Euroscepticism; citizens should be effectively mobilised to get them more involved in shaping the EU's future.
Close cooperation between cities, universities, business and industry is most effective at local level. This is a truly effective way to boost innovation and enable the entrepreneurial spirit to flourish. Jacek Krawczyk, President of the Employers' Group, underlined that the business community in Europe was willing to effectively cooperate with regions and cities because both sides knew their specific needs and understood their challenges in detail. In his opinion, even closer cooperation between members of the EESC and CoR would be beneficial for both sides.