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 participants at the ECI Day 2017 had a chance to witness a turning point for the European citizens' initiative, when First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans announced the long-awaited revision of the instrument. The European Commission proposal for a new regulation followed soon after and it materialised in September 2017 as part of a priority package accompanying the State of the Union. What this means is that the ECI is now going through a very dynamic period of being redefined and reshaped, and it faces a lot of changes soon to be discussed in the three-way consultations between the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council.
Will a much simplified procedure for registering initiatives and gathering support help boost citizens' interest in the tool? What form should the new roles for each of the institutional and civil society stakeholders take in order to increase the political impact of the ECIs? The ECI Day 2018 will be an excellent opportunity to discuss these priorities and our theme, Working Together, is intended to underline the value of cooperation and the shared responsibility for promoting active citizenship.
The opening session will reflect the political momentum for the ECI. We hope to get a first-hand insight into the three-way consultations and the positions of all the legislators on the new proposal from our speakers: First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, the Council Trio ministers from Estonia, Bulgaria and Austria, MEP György Schöpflin and Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly.
We will then continue to analyse various aspects of the new proposal and new European Commission activities undertaken in relation to the ECI:
WORKSHOP 1: The ECI Online Collaborative Platform: Supporting the ECI Community!
This workshop is organised by the ECAS, one of the members of the consortium in charge of operating the Online Collaborative Platform.
WORKSHOP 2: Pioneering participation: The reform of the ECI as a starting point for a more participatory European Union
This workshop is co-organised by The ECI Campaign and Bertelsmann Stiftung.
WORKSKHOP 3: ECItizen: Building synergies between the four recent ECIs addressing EU citizenship in order to contribute to expanding the debate on EU citizenship
This workshop is co-organised by the University of Oxford and Act4Free Movement.
The ECI DAY
The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) is a welcome instrument for participatory democracy at European level. Having been introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, it entered into force in 2012 and allows Europeans to make legislative proposals and participate in decision-making by connecting directly with EU institutions. It is a chance for them to discuss and influence key policies and it sheds further light on the public's view of the EU's agenda and priorities.
The ECI Day is an important meeting place and platform where registered and future ECI organisers and stakeholders can exchange information and experiences and present their ECI and activities to the public. As in the past, stands will be available for ECI organisers and conference partners. We will also propose thematic stands run by various stakeholders to present the new initiatives that will accompany the ongoing consultations on the proposal for a new ECI regulation.