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.
Highlights the need for the EU to boost solar energy and further European capacities in this field as a matter of urgency, at the same time recognising the differences between Member States in terms of their energy mix.
Welcomes the EU Solar Energy Strategy, but regrets that its results will come so late. It calls on Member States not to wait for the adoption of the new EU rules and to already start facilitating administrative procedures and shortening the permit-granting process. Member States should enhance one-stop-shop, integrated and single permit-granting procedures and speed up the designation of "go-to areas".
Calls on policy-makers to encourage, support and enable people to become solar energy prosumers and to build up energy communities.
Notes that the expansion of the use of heat pumps should also be seen in tandem with the increase in the installation of solar PVs, as combination of the two provides the most energy-efficient and economically accessible solution for cooling where climate conditions allow, while the precondition is a good isolation of buildings.
Calls for a stronger emphasis to be placed on agricultural photovoltaics, which offer farmers the opportunity to earn an extra income from energy production. However, installation should not distort the use of productive farmland or harm food production.
Finds it imperative for the EU to find ways of producing solar PVs in Europe, improving the environment for public and private investment and creating business friendly conditions, including proper access to finance and a strong focus on research and innovation. It is important to build a domestic EU industrial capacity for sustainable and reasonably priced solar energy products and calls for solid support for the Solar PV Industry Alliance.
Urges intensive promotion of training and skills development in cooperation between relevant stakeholders.