The presence of the Civil Society Organisations' Group (Group III), alongside the Employers' Group and the Workers' Group, ensures that the Committee is a dynamic force and is empowered to give full voice to the concerns of the various economic, social, occupational and civic organisations that make up civil society in the Member States.
In line with the changes introduced in the Lisbon Treaty, Group III is made up of "other representatives and stakeholders of civil society, particularly in the economic, civic, professional and cultural field".
The unique feature which forges Group III's identity is the wide range of represented sectors. Its members are drawn from organisations representing the following fields:
- Academia (natural scientists, economists, sociologists, etc.)
- Citizens’ Participation and Empowerment
- Civil Society Development
- Environment, Heritage & Sustainable Development
- Farming, Fisheries and Coastal Communities, Forestry
- Human Rights’ Protection (Issues concerning children, elderly, families, gender equality, marginalised and underprivileged groups, migrants and refugees, minorities, persons with disability, women and youth)
- Liberal Professions (lawyers, doctors, engineers, etc.)
- Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and Crafts
- Social Economy (charities, cooperatives, foundations, mutual societies and social enterprises)
The overall aim of Group III is to truly strengthen participatory democracy across the European Union and to make sure that EESC opinions on EU legislative proposals reflect the interests of all Europeans. Group III activities therefore build on three pillars:
- Diversity in democracy
- Consensus building
- European civic engagement - local action
During the 2020-2023 Presidency, the Group will focus its work on 'Poverty and the role of civil society organisations in combatting it'.