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 calls for a budget increase and special promotion under Horizon 2020
The creative sector in Europe has great potential, but it needs more support to fully develop and become a serious competitive player on the world market. Other branches, including the textile, tourism, automotive, construction, and health industries would also benefit from an ambitious cultural and creative sector. The EESC therefore calls for an increase in the budget and specific financial support under Horizon 2020.
It is particularly the creative sector that helps to maintain Europe's rich cultural heritage and its diversity. It is also the sector that connects people all over Europe and beyond, says Emmanuelle Butaud-Stubbs, rapporteur for an opinion on the Creative Europe programme.
A higher budget …
Although the EU has raised the budget for this sector to EUR 1.85 billion for 27 Member States (compared to 1.46 for 28 Member States from 2014 to 2020), this is still only 1/1000 of the overall EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027. Given all the important stakes the sector stands for – maintaining our cultural heritage, promoting our values, revitalisation, innovation, entertainment, and sustainable jobs and growth - laid down in an ambitious programme - the proposed budget is far too low, argues Ms Butaud-Stubbs.
to promote innovation
The digital revolution offers new opportunities provided we invest in time in education, software and equipment, states co-rapporteur Zbigniew Kotowski. Therefore the EESC is calling for a specific budget under the Horizon 2020 programme in order to tap into the huge innovation potential of the branches of the creative industry.
The European Social Fund, Digital Europe and the Cohesion Fund are important to help incorporate culture into other sectoral policies. Other industrial and manufactural branches, such as the textile, clothing, leather, furniture, ceramics and toy industries or the tourism, automobile, construction, health and well-being sectors and many more will benefit from a renewed ambition for a more cultural and creative Europe. There are already many positive examples all over Europe of regions and cities that have shifted from e. g. the metallurgic towards the creative industries, generating more value added in the process, noted the rapporteurs.
to promote the external dimension
The EESC also favours a clear EU strategy for the creative and cultural industries (CCIs) for both the single market and external policy, given the fierce international competition not only from the United States but also from countries like China, Japan, India and Canada. We also support the inclusion of a creative and cultural dimension in the EU's external policy, including its trade policy, explains Ms Butaud-Stubbs.
While the EU's audivisual sector remains fragmented, major mergers occurred recently in the US entailing significant changes. In this context, the EESC is asking the Commission for an independent quantitative and qualitative study on the effects of the major changes in the US on the European market.
Moreover, with Great Britain being a key player in these industries, the EU should support further cooperation with the UK in order to pursue bilateral programmes within the framework of Creative Europe 2021-2027. Bilateral agreements concluded with Georgia, Serbia or Ukraine could serve as examples.
to promote both freedom of expression and media literacy
The EESC is calling for an increase of EUR 80 million for the cross-sectoralstrand. This is a particularly sensitive strand, which helps Creative Europe desks to promote the programme in their country and to work for a free, diverse, and pluralistic media environment, quality journalism and media literacy.
In nearly all of our Member States we see that freedom of the press has lost ground. Furthermore, social media have a growing influence on people's opinions; they often believe them more than quality journalism and are frequently unable to distinguish between real and fake or faked news. We therefore need to do more to promote media literacy in order to allow citizens to gain a critical understanding of the media, concluded Ms Butaud-Stubbs.
The Commission's proposal on Creative Europe is based on the EU's goal laid down in Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union demanding that the EU shall promote peace, its values and the well-being of its people, to respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and to ensure that Europe's cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced.
The programme aims to offer opportunities for Europeans to develop technologically and artistically innovative European cross-border initiatives to exchange, co-create, co-produce and distribute European creative works.