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 proposed improvements to the CEAS, such as the clarification of rights and obligations regarding access to the procedure, the replacement of the concept of vulnerability with the concept of special needs, as well as clear criteria for assessing it, the introduction of greater guarantees for minors, and the broadening of the concept of family.
The EESC is concerned about the limitation of fundamental rights, such as the restriction of free movement, the limitation of the right of minors to education, the application of a procedure to unaccompanied minors at the border, the possible lack of a case-by-case approach when analysing the safe country concepts, the limitation of guarantees for subsequent applications and accelerated procedures, the automatic review of protection statuses, and the punitive approach of the restrictions on reception conditions.
On the proposal for the Qualification Regulation, the EESC recommends:
including the UNHCR criteria for assessing internal flight alternative;
removing Article 12(6) of the Qualification Regulation in order to avoid the automatic application of excluding causes that do not take the particular background of the applicants into account;
sharing the burden of proof between the applicant and the determining authority.
On the proposal for the Common Procedure Regulation, the EESC recommends:
eliminating the automatic application of the concepts of safe third country, first country of asylum and safe country of origin, and of time limit reductions;
increasing the guarantees in the context of administrative detention, setting clear detention time limits and restricting it to exceptional cases.
On the proposal for the Standards of Reception Directive, the EESC recommends:
adopting a positive incentives approach in order to prevent secondary movements, rather than a punitive approach of excluding, reducing, withdrawing or replacing reception conditions;
using the same legal tool to regulate reception conditions, procedures and eligibility criteria;
including other family members such as siblings and other relatives, in line with the Dublin Regulation proposal.
The EESC is consulted on the following European Commission documents