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 EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform (CSP) held its 5th meeting in Kyiv on 15 November. In its final declaration, the members welcomed the full entry into force of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement as of September 2017, and called upon the EU and the Ukrainian government to ensure its complete and timely implementation. The Platform welcomed the consultations with the Ukrainian civil society organisations carried out by the Ukrainian government with regard to the Action Plan for the implementation of the Association Agreement, prior to its recent adoption. Furthermore, civil society from both sides acknowledged the adoption of important legislation in the fields of healthcare, education and energy efficiency, at the same time noting the need to continue with reforms in the judiciary, in particular on the enforcement of anti-corruption legislation. Last but not least, Platform members urged the Ukrainian government to establish the Domestic Advisory Group on sustainable development that was provided for in the Association Agreement, with broad representation on the part of employers' organisations, trade unions, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders. This DAG would monitor the implementation of the DCFTA chapter and ensure permanent, coherent and timely dialogue on sustainable development-related issues in the context of EU-Ukraine trade relations.
The CSP members also adopted two reports on the implementation of euro-integration reforms in the field of science and technology and on the policy on internally displaced persons.
Science and technology
The civil society representatives welcomed the associated participation of Ukraine in the Horizon 2020 programme and the Euratom Research and Training Programme (2014-2018) as well as the co-operation with CERN, EuroFusion and the Joint Research Centre, which has already been launched. However, CSP members expressed their concern about the decline in funding for science in Ukraine to a historical low and the significant science brain drain abroad as well as to other sectors of the economy. Moreover, the CSP called for an immediate restructuring and reform of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, ensuring gender balance and the presence of more young researchers in the Presidium, and recommended a shift from institutional allocation of funding towards competitive project-based funding.
Internally displaced persons
The conflict in Ukraine has forced thousands of people to abandon their homes and seek refuge elsewhere – official estimates suggest that nearly 2 million people may have been displaced. The civil society representatives stressed that internally displaced persons (IDPs) should have the same rights and living conditions as the local population, in particular with regard to access to accommodation, employment and social security. The Platform urged the responsible authorities to eliminate the existing discrimination against IDPs, end violations of their electoral rights and their right to freedom of movement, as well as restore their right to a pension irrespective of their place of residence.
The EU-Ukraine Civil Society Platform (CSP) is one of the bodies set up within the framework of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine. The CSP is made up of thirty members, fifteen from each side, representing the EESC and Ukrainian civil society. The CSP enables civil society organisations from both sides to monitor the implementation process from the point of view of civil society, and prepare their recommendations to the relevant authorities.