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.
Current: EESC RESOLUTION Proposals for reconstruction and recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak - The view of the Workers' Group
EESC RESOLUTION Proposals for reconstruction and recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak - The view of the Workers' Group
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The EU must be guided by the principle of being considered a community of common destiny.
"The crisis has made it very clear that what we need is the reconstruction of our society, not just a recovery and an exit plan after COVID-19", pointed out Stefano Palmieri, President of the EESC's section for economic issues. Stefano Palmieri, representing the Workers' Group, was in charge of drafting this resolution along with two other rapporteurs representing the Employers' Group and the Diversity Group respectively.
Introducing the resolution, Stefano Palmieri said that this was a watershed moment for Europe and called for all stakeholders including the EESC to contribute to the destiny of the EU by addressing the structural problems underlying this crisis. This was the only way to manage a fair transition towards a digital economy and environmental sustainability that were at the heart of the post-Covid recovery and reconstruction process, along with the protection of jobs. He expressed the hope that the Conference on the Future of Europe would offer an opportunity for a genuine renewal of the European project to allow the Union to meet the enormous challenges ahead.
The plenary welcomed the resolution as an important contribution of the EESC to the debate at EU and national level on the recovery strategy after the pandemic.
Focus on jobs and workers' protection
The Workers' Group welcomed particularly the emphasis placed in the resolution on the need to stimulate employment and to put social recovery at the core of the recovery and reconstruction strategy with a view to achieving a new sustainable social and economic model.
Oliver Röpke, President of the Workers' Group, thanked the rapporteurs for touching upon important issues such as the need to reform the economic governance and the development of a framework to fight tax fraud and aggressive tax planning. As a representative of workers' interests, Oliver Röpke welcomed particularly the reference to the sustainable company allowing for a strong workers' voice in the debate on just transition, as one of the main drivers for the relaunch of the European economic system.
Anne Demelenne expressed great concern about the levels of unemployment in all countries and the particularly negative effects on the most vulnerable. She recalled the urgency of social investments not only in health care but also in health workers, calling for the quality of their work to be recognised in their pay. The role of social dialogue was particularly important when it came to deciding decent wages for workers in this and all other stricken sectors.
Laure Batut pleaded for strong social measures and strong common policies to complete the economic model. Solidarity should be at the heart of EU concerns, starting with the redistribution of wealth collected as taxes and the preservation of public services and the European social model that distinguished Europe from other continents.
Javier Doz Orrit welcomed the rapid EU decisions to deal with the aftermath of the pandemic as a step in the right direction but expressed his concern that the €750bn EU recovery fund might be watered down by governments. He also wondered when these funds were actually going to reach the real economy, as procedures were long. The equivalent stimulus plan in the US to cushion the first shock had already been spent.
This additional opinion updates and complements the proposals made in the original ASGS opinion, adopted in February this year. The EESC welcomes the step forward towards embracing a more social, inclusive and sustainable economic model, particularly given the economic and social effects of COVID-19. To support the economic recovery and public investment, and in support of a digital and green transformation, the EESC believes that a revision of the Stability and Growth Pact, flexibility in state aid rules and a rethink of tax policy is necessary. Well-resourced public health measures and social security systems are likewise of vital importance. The EESC also welcomes the Commission's proposals for Next Generation EU and sees the ASGS as an opportunity for the EU to shift towards an economic model that gives equal weighing to both economic and social objectives.
EESC opinion: The Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy 2020 (additional opinion)