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.
considers that engaging in dialogue with civil society and social partners constitutes an effective way for policy-makers to understand the varying needs of people belonging to different social groups; describes the inclusion of civil society in the policy-making process as inseparable from the values of the EU;
points at the two main barriers faced by civil society at all levels: resistance of policy makers to engaging in dialogue and lack of meaningful involvement at all stages of the decision-making process; believes that there can be no room for the repression of social dialogue and civil society dialogue in the EU and that there should be zero tolerance when it comes to Member States in which the civic space is shrinking;
considers that policy-makers should ensure the meaningful participation of civil society, involving them in all parts of the decision-making process; policy-makers at all levels should make their consultation processes easy to find and to access;
points at the potential for civil society to assist policy-makers in essential tasks such as monitoring, but that this should be accompanied with funding and technical support to enable CSOs to build capacity;
underlines the importance that civil society is constructive with its input, which should not only focus on what is being done poorly, but also suggest concretely how improvements can be made;
believes that, in order to embrace the input of civil society, the EU could, amongst other issues, agree on guidelines and common standards on the right to association and civil dialogue to be implemented in all relevant processes, and adopt an interinstitutional agreement on civil dialogue;
underlines that numerous barriers remain when it comes to advocacy by EU-level CSOs, with the EU still not having created a participatory status for European associations and NGOs; despite the guidance from the Commission, points that in practice national CSOs experienced great difficulty in influencing the outcomes of the NRRPs.