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 Commission’s 2012 Communication on "promoting the cultural and creative sectors for growth and jobs in the European Union" was a milestone in the recognition of the economic, social and cultural importance of these industries by the European institutions. This Communication was accompanied by two staff working documents (SWD) — one relating to the competitiveness of high-end industries , and the other to the competitiveness of the European fashion sector . This was followed by an action plan on the competitiveness of high-end industries and the European fashion sector.
In a communication adopted in 2014, the European Commission describes the creative and cultural industries as role models for Europe’s industrial renaissance .
The European Union’s Creative Europe Programme, which was approved by the European Parliament on 19 November 2013 and endorsed by the Council on 5 December, aims to strengthen the European cultural and creative sectors over the period 2014-2020. The Creative Europe programme encompasses the previous MEDIA, MEDIA Mundus and Culture programmes and has an overall budget of EUR 1.46 billion, an increase of 9 % compared to the previous year. European culture, cinema, television, music, literature, the performing arts, heritage and related areas will thus receive greater support from the EU institutions.
In this context of a growing awareness of the social and economic value of the creative and cultural industries in the European Union and of their identity, the Committee proposes making a cross-cutting analysis of the strategies for exploiting this European heritage and exploring several avenues for discussion on measures to be implemented at European level which will take into account certain aspects deemed relevant by the Committee in earlier work, especially
a technological and added value dimension in terms of the creation and distribution of goods and services with a high cultural, artistic or educational content and the preservation of knowledge;
a dimension relating to territorial dialogue with civil society;
an international dimension for a creative and cultural Europe;
a financial dimension, access to funding, but also management training and the management of designers.
Taking the UNESCO framework for cultural statistics as a reference, this opinion is based on a definition of the cultural and creative industries as being those sectors having as their main purpose the creation, development, production, reproduction, promotion, distribution or marketing of goods, services and activities which have a cultural, artistic and/or heritage content.
Thus the main characteristics of the cultural and creative industries are:
the meeting point between culture and the economy;
the creativity at the heart of the activity;
the artistic or cultural content, or content inspired by an earlier creation;
the production of goods and services often protected by intellectual property — copyright and related rights
the dual nature : economic (wealth and job creation) and cultural (creating values, meaning and identity);
creative innovation and renewal; together with the rules governing innovation and state aid;
public demand and reactions that are difficult to predict;
A sector where there is no standardised system for paying for the work performed and the prevalence of micro-enterprises, self-employed workers and self-starters.