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 is convinced that what is needed to best emerge from the crisis is sustainable jobs. That means jobs that enable people to earn an income in a safe and healthy working environment and in a climate that respects workers' rights and accommodates fruitful social dialogue; it also means highly productive jobs that provide added value in terms of innovation, quality, efficiency and productivity. This will enable Europe to generate stable economic growth and to remain competitive against other regions in the world.
The EESC believes that the most important prerequisite for the creation of new jobs is sustainable, stable economic growth; and welcomes the fact that a number of institutions and organisations have made proposals for emerging from the crisis that take account of the social dimension of recovery.
The EESC notes that businesses have recourse to various types of employment. This results in new types of work: precarious jobs where people are employed on temporary contracts for low pay with little social security and no legal protection.
Demographic change and rapid technological developments in production processes mean that Europe is facing a serious shortage of skilled manpower. Therefore, everyone should gain long-term access to the labour market. Employees must have the opportunity to keep their skills and professional qualifications up to date and to learn new skills during their working life. Employees must have access to vocational training programmes, in particular. Often, the employees who are most in need of training are least likely to make use of it, so different measures will be needed for different categories of employee.
The EESC urges the EU institutions to maintain European social standards with more conviction. The lack of decisiveness in this area has led to a growing number of working poor, rising inequality, ever greater fear for the future and, at the same time, a rise in citizens' distrust in one another, social institutions and government – not just national governments, but also the EU institutions.
An appendix to the opinion contains a number of examples of good practices in various Member States, submitted by CCMI members. The EESC advises the European Commission to promote and facilitate the exchange of experience and good practice.