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.
European aquaculture is stagnating by contrast with increasing rates of aquaculture production at world level and, in particular, in Asia. To try to dampen this trend, the Commission aims to promote aquaculture through the Open Method of Coordination (a voluntary process for cooperation based on Strategic Guidelines and multiannual national strategic plans). The Guidelines address four priority areas:
1. Simplification of administrative procedures and reduction of licensing time for aquaculture farms;
2. Coordinated spatial planning for overcoming the hindering effect of the lack of space;
3. Enhancing the competitiveness of EU aquaculture;
The EESC notes that the main cause of slow administrative procedures applicable to the practice of aquaculture, and the unavailability of locations, is the complex implementation of EU environmental legislation, mainly the Water Framework Directive, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the rules on the Natura 2000 network by the public administrations of Member States and their regions. These obstacles are occurring mainly in public administration departments in Member States that were not involved in drawing up the multi-annual national strategic plans for aquaculture and, consequently, are not aware of them. The active involvement of these departments in implementing the strategic plans is therefore required.