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 Commission communication on Steps towards completing EMU can provide a great opportunity to launch a debate at political level and with civil society to draw up conclusive proposals which go further than the current ones.
Semester: it would be more useful to draw up a proposal for the Semester as part of a comprehensive agreement on economic governance that goes beyond the status quo, changing macroconditionality and strengthening the Interparliamentary Conference.
Economic governance: comprehensive economic governance for the euro area must go much further than the Commission has proposed. In particular, the Commission and the National Competitiveness Boards should also take into account the new factors and parameters that underpin competitiveness. The advisory European Fiscal Board should adopt more transparent and democratic procedures for nominating its members and for the use of its advice.
External representation of the euro area: the proposal is both fair and necessary, but in addition to overly lengthy timeframes, there is the problem of democratic supervision.
Financial union: this is the most important decision to be made in order to fully and rapidly implement European systems of common rules. It would be helpful here to have a Commission proposal on the issue of sovereign and private debt to reduce risk and speculation.
Democratic legitimacy: the issue is not tackled seriously by any of the Commission's operational proposals. The tripartite social dialogue could contribute to this matter, provided that it is structured and implementation of the agreements between the parties is made mandatory.
Stage two – Completing EMU: on the basis of its own roadmap, the EESC is committed to putting forward, possibly with the Commission, a plan on stage two to discuss these issues in the Member States, beginning with the euro area countries.
The proposals: in a number of opinions drawn up since the crisis began, the EESC has drawn up specific proposals covering issues such as the political, economic, financial and monetary governance of EMU. Therefore, it refers the reader to earlier and ongoing opinions on the Commission's specific proposals.