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 proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights published by the European Commission elicited a critical first reaction from the secretaries general of UEAPME, EUROCHAMBRES and CEEP. Véronique Willems, Arnaldo Abruzzini and Valeria Ronzitti participated in the Employers' Group meeting to discuss their organisations' current priorities.
The condition of the European economy, completing the Single Market, trade and Brexit – these are the top issues for European employers' organisations in the forthcoming months. On 29 March 2017, the Directors-General and Secretaries-General of BusinessEurope, EuroCommerce and Copa-Cogega presented their priorities and debated with the members of the EESC Employers' Group.
On 30 March 2017, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an opinion on the European Commission's proposed directive on business insolvency, which is intended to harmonise preventive restructuring procedures across Europe. While fully supporting the Commission's shift from liquidation to early restructuring in dealing with business insolvency, the EESC proposes a set of measures to help prevent its social damages. In particular, the EESCs suggests introducing a "social warning" mechanism to alert all stakeholders as soon as problems arise, creating specific funds to guarantee the payment of salaries, and making access to a second chance for failing entrepreneurs conditional to full disclosure of financial information.
More attention to the needs of SMEs and family businesses, easier access to finance, fewer bureaucratic burdens, simplification of taxation systems and proper coordination to respond to current challenges – these were some of the priorities highlighted by the newly-elected president of UEAPME, Ulrike Rabmer-Koller. In order to foster further cooperation and coordinate their common interests, the Employers' Group had the great pleasure of welcoming the UEAPME President, Ulrike Rabmer-Koller, and UEAPME Secretary-General, Véronique Willems, to the first Group meeting of 2017 in order to discuss the state of play of SMEs in Europe and the goals and priorities that they were aiming for.
On 30 November 2016, the ECO President, Joost van Iersel, attended a presentation and a discussion of a report on the outcome of the Eurochambers' questionnaire distributed among 50.000 European companies, mostly small- and medium-sized. The meeting was hosted by the Union of Chambers of Turkey.
On 9 November the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) hosted a conference on Co-operative banks and innovation in SME financing. The event was organised in cooperation with the International Confederation of Popular Banks, the European Association of Co-operative Banks, the UNICO Banking Group and the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. The European Commission also took part. The conference looked at the growing role of technology players in SME financing and discussed their interaction with more traditional cooperative banks ...
The role of trade as a generator of growth and jobs is undeniable, but public perception of the further liberalisation of trade is getting worse and citizens' concerns must be addressed far more effectively than before. This was one of the conclusions of the conference on "Strengthening European Growth and Competitiveness: Proactive Trade Agenda – NOW!" that took place in Helsinki on 26 October.
The role of trade as a generator of growth and jobs is undeniable, but public perception of the further liberalisation of trade is getting worse and citizens' concerns must be addressed far more effectively than before. This was one of the conclusions of the conference on "Strengthening European Growth and Competitiveness: Proactive Trade Agenda – NOW!" that took place in Helsinki on 26 October. Jacek Krawczyk, President of the EESC Employers' Group, added: It is our responsibility to advocate for trade; we cannot take it for granted that people understand what the benefits ...
Can European trade and investment policy promote sustainable development and social justice at home and abroad?
Setting out its positive agenda for business while insisting on the importance of promoting European values, the European Commission’s new ‘Trade for all’ Communication is a timely update on EU trade and investment policy, according to a recently published opinion by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).