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 President referred to the shortcomings of the ECI legislation and the problems encountered by organisers in the first years. He announced that the EESC was offering organisers of registered ECIs the opportunity to have the text presenting their ECI translated, thus addressing one of the most pressing problems for new ECIs and presented the European Passport to Active Citizenship.
An active civil society was a means of ensuring active participation. The objective would be to make the ECI efficient and practical, eliminate the technical obstacles and improve communication.The ECI should remain in the mainstream of EU policies to unblock the process of European integration...
One year after the launch of the European Citizens' Initiative (ECI), now is a good time to assess this first year, hear the experiences of organisers, draw conclusions from the lessons learnt, devise intermediate solutions and start preparing for the 2015 revision of the regulation.
Perspectives from civil society and local/regional authorities
The European Citizens' Initiative (ECI) is one of the major innovations of the Treaty of Lisbon, aimed at increasing direct democracy in the EU. The initiative enables one million EU citizens, who are nationals of at least one quarter of the Member States, to call directly on the European Commission to propose a legal act in an area within the competences of the EU.
European Economic and Social Committee
Rue Belliard/Belliardstraat 99
ECI Day is an annual conference that has been organised by the EESC and its civil society partners since 2012, the year in which the first ECI Regulation 211/2011 was published. The 2020 (ninth) edition was marked by a major development, which was the entry into force of the new Regulation introducing substantial improvements and simplifications to the ECI procedure. However, the conference went beyond the text of the Regulation and presented a more global view of citizens' participation in general, with a view to putting the ECI in the context of topical societal developments and the debate on the Future of Europe. The EESC organised an interactive panel with researchers and authors on citizens' participation in the era of new technologies and more deliberative patterns in public consultations in order to allow for an open debate on present-day and future participation.
Paris, Conseil économique, social et environnemental
Palais d’Iéna – 9 place d’Iéna – 75775 Paris Cedex 16
The European Economic and Social Committee and the French Economic, Social and Environmental Council wish to hold a joint information seminar on the European Citizens' Initiative. The aim of the seminar is to present the ECI, as well as the work done by the EESC in this field, and to exchange experiences of initiatives undertaken at national and European level to better understand and manage the impact of citizen-led campaigns on the actions and decisions of legislators.
European Economic and Social Committee
Rue Belliard/Belliardstraat 99 - 1040 Bruxelles/Brussel
The year 2019 marks a new step in the life of the European Citizens' Initiative. In March, the European Parliament voted on the final text of the new ECI Regulation, which proposes a series of administrative simplifications and procedural changes to make this tool more citizen-friendly and less burdensome for the organisers. ECI Day 2019 was the first to present you with the final text of the new Regulation and explored further how it was intended to benefit active citizens wishing to influence the EU's agenda. This year, the theme of the conference was Digital Voices, reflecting the ongoing changes in the global trends in voting and citizens' active participation. Digital natives no longer wait for elections to express their preferences; they voice their concerns at all times and at every opportunity. The ECI Day explored these new digital trends in the particular context of the European elections.
Following the new European Commission proposal of September 2017, the European citizens' initiative has new wind in its sails. It now faces a lot of changes, many of which may greatly simplify administrative and organizational burdens. These changes will soon be discussed in the three-way consultations between the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council.
The ECI DAY 2018 will seize the moment and offer a first-hand insight into the positions of the three legislators, represented respectively by the First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, the European Parliament general rapporteur György Schöpflin and the 2018 Council Presidency ministers / state secretaries from Bulgaria and Austria.