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 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
European civic engagement - local action
During the 2020-2025 Presidency, the Group will focus its work on 'Poverty and the role of civil society organisations in combatting it'.
2024 WORK PROGRAMME OF THE CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS’ GROUP (Subject to review according to developments during the year)