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 does not agree with the arguments put forward by the Commission to justify this proposal. It does not consider the introduction of a minimum penalty within the EU to be justified, and feels that the expected "deterrent effect" of such a measure is debatable.
The EESC would point out that the proposal for a directive actually establishes a comprehensive arsenal for enforcing legislation against counterfeiting; this would appear to go beyond that which is authorised under Article 83(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
The EESC questions the need for such an approach to law enforcement and doubts that it would be effective inasmuch as, even if a minimum penalty were set, sentencing would still be subject to differences of interpretation depending on the legal traditions of Member States and judges' discretion.
The EESC finds it regrettable that the proposal for a directive does not take sufficient account – as required under Article 82(2) TFEU – of the differences between legal traditions and systems, not least in terms of its impact on individual rights and freedoms.
The EESC feels that the intent behind the action is a key consideration that the proposal for a directive does not properly highlight in its recitals.
The Committee feels that the draft directive needs to specify that the investigative tools used for organised crime should be used only for the most serious offences.