The EESC adopted this opinion after in-depth work carried out during the four meetings of the study group. The opinion also reflects the national debates with civil society organisations carried out in all Member States between 2 September and 2 November 2016. These discussions were coordinated by three members of the EESC ('trios') from the country concerned, often in cooperation with the European Commission (15 debates) or the national economic and social council (7 debates). Participants came from a wide range of employers' and trade union organisations and other civil society organisations, as well as, to a lesser extent, from the academic world. A total of 116 EESC members and nearly 1,800 representatives of civil society organisations participated in the 28 debates. The conclusions/recommendations of the national debates have been grouped in the opinion, while the reports on the national debates will be published separately.
The objective of the conference on 12 November was to launch the discussion on interrelated topics, but with a forward looking and practical approach. To explore how to move from the personal experience to the Institutional, how to change mind-sets and overcome prejudices.
The EESC organised debates with organised civil society in all Member States between 2 September and 2 November 2016. The debates were coordinated by three EESC members ('trios') from the country concerned, often in co-operation with the European Commission (15 debates) or the national Economic and Social Council (7 debates).