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.
SMEs are the backbone of the EU economy and have been placed in the focus of European policy following the adoption of the Small Business Act in 2008. This study makes a comprehensive overview of EU support initiatives for SMEs in the period 2007-2015 with the aim to assess the effectiveness of EU SME policies – both in terms of their formulation and implementation. On the basis of a literature review and five case studies with SME representatives in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Italy and Hungary, this study tries to identify progress made along the key priority areas of EU SME policies: burden reduction; promotion of entrepreneurship; access to markets and internationalization; access to finance; competitiveness and innovation and key support networks in order to outline challenges that still impede SMEs’ growth. The results demonstrate that despite the numerous initiatives launched, EU SME policies could still benefit from a shift towards diversification of support measures, simplification of applicable rules and optimisation of communication and collaboration with SMEs and SME organisations. This will enable the addressing of SMEs’ heterogeneity and diverse needs in an effective manner. The Study draws conclusions about challenges on the level of the policy priority areas and recommendations about the ways the effectiveness of the policies can be improved.
Study on the assessment of the effectiveness of the EU SME policies 2007-2015