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.
"Towards a more competitive and efficient defence and security sector"
In its opinion adopted on 17 October 2013 the EESC agrees that a common security and defence policy (CSDP) will provide the most appropriate framework for effective cooperation in the area of military capability, but stresses, in addition, that cooperation will also be a condition for a credible CSDP. The EESC urges the Council to adopt a number of tangible actions and measures to strengthen competitiveness and cooperation in the European defence sector.
The EESC supports the aim of sustaining an independent European defence, commensurate with Europe’s economic weight and other interests in the world. In addition, the need for industry to be competitive, combined with shrinking financial resources, necessitates cost-effectiveness. The EESC welcomes very much the proposals of Commission and EDA to make the European market for defence products function properly as well as the framework for the future: a strategic European concept, a Common Security and Defence Policy, and a European Defence Industrial Strategy.
Europe badly needs a 'common defence language'. This asks indeed for a shift from national to shared European thinking on strategic needs, which would promote that national interests are fulfilled through the pursuit of EU strategic objectives.
A political and civil engagement is also needed to ensure that public opinion is properly informed about the importance of European strategic global and industrial interests in order to foster the active support of citizens and taxpayers. The EESC agrees with the Commission that a healthy Europe-based defence industry will also deliver a vital contribution to the European manufacturing industry at large. The largest possible number of Member States (MS) must be committed to achieving this far reaching goal. A pro-active industrial policy in selected areas, carried out by the Member States and/or the Commission, is indispensable to attain up-to-date production and cost-effectiveness. Ways of improving the conditions for investment and its application in concrete projects should be put in place in the overall concept.