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 welcomes the Investment Plan for Europe and appreciates the change of tone away from austerity and fiscal consolidation.
The Investment Plan is a step into the right direction but it does face a number of serious questions about its size, about the high degree of leverage expected, about the potential flow of investment projects, about the marketing strategy for attracting private capital, about the involvement of SMEs and about the Plan’s timescale.
There is uncertainty about whether a pipeline of projects can be developed that offer returns that attract institutional investors. The EESC strongly recommends involving the social partners and organised civil society in the project identification process at national level.
Much greater attention must be paid to establish a conducive and predictable investment environment.
The Plan proposes that contributions to the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) from Member States will not be included in budget deficit calculations and this is to be welcomed, but the Commission should explain why ongoing strategic public infrastructure expenditures are not treated in the same way.
Strategic public investment such as that envisaged in the Plan which underpins present and future economic development should be incentivised by a more benign European fiscal framework. The EESC invites the Commission to open a discussion on a properly formulated fiscal rule for Europe in full recognition of its many definitional difficulties and in the setting of appropriate conditionalities.
The EESC calls on the Commission to take into consideration the ILO recommendations on attracting viable projects from the regions with the highest unemployment rates, and recommends that the macro-regional strategies are taken into consideration when identifying and assessing potential projects.
Achim Truger - Implementing the Golden Rule for Public Investment in Europe