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.
Brendan Burns, EESC Member, President of the Section for Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment (NAT)
Piroska Kállay, EESC Member, President of the Study Group NAT/698
Tom Jones, EESC Member, Rapporteur of the Study Group NAT/698
9.15 a.m. | Session 1: Panel of Practitioners and Stakeholders: Involvement at the grassroots level – what are the realities, needs and perspectives?
Nigel A. Callaghan, Chair, Cletwr Community Company Ltd., Wales/UK – Cwmni Cletwr – a case study of a successful Welsh rural social enterprise
Pál Hajas, President, Cserhátalja Rural Development /LEADER LAG – Small Village in the 21st century: Taste of Success in Kozard, Hungary
Tihana Stepinac Fabijanić, Vice-President, European Council for the Village and Small Town (ECOVAST) – ECOVAST Croatia: Developing Community Values in Croatian Rural Areas
Johannes Fankhauser, Director - Rural Development, Austrian Chamber of Agriculture (Copa Cogeca) – The contribution of agriculture to development of rural areas
Kirsten Birke Lund, Joint coordinator of the European Rural Parliament (representing ELARD) – Small towns – Development, Services and Infrastructure
11.00 a.m. | Coffee break
11.15 a.m. | Session 2: Panel of Public Bodies and Funders – What are the policy responses and funding schemes from European institutions?
Randel Länts, Member, Committee of the Regions – The need for a rural agenda from a local and regional perspective
Martin Scheele, Head of Unit – Conception and consistency of rural development, DG AGRI, European Commission – Policy responses and funding schemes corresponding to the specific needs of villages and small towns
Merja Haapakka, Team Leader – Territorial and urban policy, DG REGIO, European Commission – CLLD approach to local development in EU Cohesion Policy
Thomas Dogot, Unit for Economy and rural development, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liegè – Global trends, local needs and rural development policies responses in Wallonia, Belgium
12.50 p.m. | Conclusions
Tom Jones, Rapporteur of the Opinion on villages and small towns, EESC