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 Treaty of Rome was signed in March 1957 by the six founding member states of the European Economic Community. The Treaty laid much of the groundwork for the EU as it is today.
Two months before it was signed, the idea of establishing the European Economic and Social Committee to represent the economic and social interests of European citizens within the European institutions was agreed.
And so, 65 years ago, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) was established and given consultative powers in order to bring in the perspective of different sections of civil society to European decision-making. On 19 May 1958 the first plenary session of the EESC took place in Brussels.
The EESC's 65th anniversary is an opportunity to look back in time as well as to the future. An anniversary would not be complete without delving into the photo archives.
Take a look at some of the key moments and people in the EESC's history here.
Improving EU legislation since 1958
The EESC is a consultative body that gives representatives of Europe's socio-occupational interest groups and others a formal platform to express their points of view on EU issues.
Consultation of the EESC by the Commission or the Council is mandatory in certain cases; in others it is optional – all EESC opinions are addressed to the Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament.
Read about some of the issues affecting citizens that the EESC has tackled here.
Since it was established, the EESC has expanded into a forum for the single market and endeavours through a variety of fora to bring the EU closer to the people.