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 debate clearly demonstrated the impact of the EESC opinion on this important topic, as the paper was widely quoted in the latest UNCTAD Trade and Development Report's chapter on Food Commodities, Corporate Profiteering and Crises.
The author, Anastasia Nesvetailova, explained that profits of main energy and food traders increased dramatically in 2021-2022 in close correlation with higher price volatility. Speculative practices have overwhelmed the EU and US markets and large food traders have become unregulated financial institutions.
Susanne Bauer, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Niederösterreich then presented her Chamber's report on the topic, showing huge increases in food prices in 2022 due to several reasons, including excessive speculation and geopolitical crises. She showed the clear disconnect between values traded on the financial market and the real stock. Recommendations on the way forward included the need to reduce the financialisation, shrink excessive speculation and reduce concentration of food traders.
Hidayat Greenfield, IUF Asia/Pacific Regional Secretary finally highlighted the impacts on farmers and consumers, as well as the interlinkages between food speculation and the climate emergency. He stressed the need to bring values into the debate - compassion, ethics, rights and fairness are essential to support communities.
A video recording of the debate is available below.
Considering the extent of the food security crisis and the urgency to address the issue of excessive commodity speculation, the aim of this own-initiative opinion is to analyse the current situation in more detail; gather experts' views on the impacts of commodity speculation on food price increases and food security worldwide; and provide civil society's recommendations on policy measures that are needed to address excessive price speculation and increase market transparency.
EESC opinion: Food price crisis: the role of speculation and concrete proposals for action in the aftermath of the Ukraine war
The global food price crisis has only been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. It is actually due to more structural and systemic problems in the commodities market, creating hunger and threatening people's livelihoods, points out the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in its own initiative opinion.