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.
In the context of the opinion on a "Union of equality: EU anti-racism action plan 2020-2025", the European Economic and Social Committee is organising a virtual public hearing on 18 March. The aim of the hearing is to gather the points of view of international organisations, European platforms for human rights and the fight against racism, and representatives of European institutions, on key measures of the action plan, and to discuss how to tackle racism and racial discrimination more effectively in the EU.
The President referred to the shortcomings of the ECI legislation and the problems encountered by organisers in the first years. He announced that the EESC was offering organisers of registered ECIs the opportunity to have the text presenting their ECI translated, thus addressing one of the most pressing problems for new ECIs and presented the European Passport to Active Citizenship.
An active civil society was a means of ensuring active participation. The objective would be to make the ECI efficient and practical, eliminate the technical obstacles and improve communication.The ECI should remain in the mainstream of EU policies to unblock the process of European integration...
One year after the launch of the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI), now is a good time to assess this first year, hear the experiences of organisers, draw conclusions from the lessons learnt, devise intermediate solutions and start preparing for the 2015 revision of the regulation.
Perspectives from civil society and local/regional authorities
The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) is one of the major innovations of the Treaty of Lisbon, aimed at increasing direct democracy in the EU. The initiative enables one million EU citizens, who are nationals of at least one quarter of the Member States, to call directly on the European Commission to propose a legal act in an area within the competences of the EU.
The incoming Croatian Presidency has requested the EESC to draft an opinion on the topic of "The effects of campaigns on participation in political decision-making".
In view of the European elections and campaigns aimed at informing European citizens conducted by the institutions of the European Union and the Member States, a public hearing will be held in the morning of Wednesday 5 February, at the EESC. The aim of the hearing is to examine the current state of play and lessons learned from the May 2019 elections, and to look at the ways forward, i.e. how to enhance participation and disable disinformation of European citizens..
Extraordinary meeting of Group III - Workshop on communication
On 6-7 December, the Diversity Europe Group held its extraordinary meeting at the EESC premises (VMA Building - Room VMA3). During this meeting entitled 'Bursting Brussels' 'Bubble': How to communicate Your Europe', EESC Group III Members learned more about efficient communication tools in order to become EU 'ambassadors' and to communicate the way they feel about Europe.
Citizenship, Democracy & Culture in digitalised Europe
This year's Civil Society Days will take place right after the plenary session at which the European Economic and Social Committee celebrates its 60th anniversary.
The focus of this Civil Society Days will be on fostering the current debate about the future of Europe and on highlighting the role across Europe of the civil society organisations which come together in the EESC to represent "Europe at work".
In line with this twofold emphasis, the CivSocDays 2018 will address Europe at work in relation to a dimension which has permeated our everyday working and living environment and will affect and shape our future, as well as the future of Europe: the digital world.
Following the new European Commission proposal of September 2017, the European citizens' initiative has new wind in its sails. It now faces a lot of changes, many of which may greatly simplify administrative and organizational burdens. These changes will soon be discussed in the three-way consultations between the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council.
The ECI DAY 2018 will seize the moment and offer a first-hand insight into the positions of the three legislators, represented respectively by the First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, the European Parliament general rapporteur György Schöpflin and the 2018 Council Presidency ministers / state secretaries from Bulgaria and Austria.
European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Van Maerlant Building, Room VMA 3, Rue Van Maerlant 2, 1040 Brussels
Civil society organisations (CSOs) play an important role in fostering participatory democracy and active citizenship in Europe and beyond; EU funding is paramount to support this work. The goal of this EESC hearing is to present working solutions and come up with recommendations for revised financial regulations and the future Multiannual Financial Framework after 2020 that would enable better civil dialogue and easier and transparent access to resources.