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 is pleased to learn that, even though belated, a European banking union will come to life. It is crucial that the Member State governments have the breadth of vision to create more Europe, handing over some powers and ensuring that they can be applied, in order to achieve effective European governance that is socially useful and economically efficient. New and stricter rules will offer security to people and markets.
A banking union offers the best roadmap for the euro zone and the EU as a whole to embark on a virtuous cycle overcoming its design flaws and enabling the single market to regain competitiveness in order to meet the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy.
The EESC urges rapid agreement on the entry into force of the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM). We call on the Commission to put forward a calendar and details for the SSM, together with any other relevant stages that need to be accomplished so that the banking union can serve as a common foundation across the Single Market, and both can strengthen their clear economic advantages. The time for adjustment given to institutions upholding the euro must also be short and clearly defined.
Furthermore, we would like to emphasise that this is only one among many measures that need to be taken to ensure not only financial, but also political stability within the European Union.
It is also of utmost importance that the new EU budget for the period 2014-2020, which will soon be decided upon, will be a responsible and forward-looking one, acknowledging the fact that austerity needs to be balanced by investment and innovation.
The EESC made concrete proposals to EU leaders ahead of the Council for a comprehensive, not piecemeal, approach for sustainable growth and employment and insisted that this can only be secured through
- a financial and banking union with a common deposit guarantee scheme, a common resolution fund and EU-wide supervision;
- a fiscal union based on joint debt instruments;
- a political union, with new levels of democratic responsibility and accountability.
An EESC study group on the Banking Union Package is now working on an opinion with recommendations for "A Roadmap towards a Banking Union" in response to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the topic.
It will be adopted by the EESC Plenary Session on 14-15 November 2012.
The EESC President welcomes the EU's progress on banking union