Association Internationale des Conseils économiques et sociaux et institutions similaires
  • Spain - Economic and Social Council of Spain

Spain - Economic and Social Council of Spain

73 Calle de las Huertas, Madrid 28014, Comunidad de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Détails du site

Institutional characteristics

1. Establishment

- Date of creation: 18th June 1991

- Year operational: 25 th February 1993

- Nature of the texts that create the institution (Constitution, law, decree, etc.): 

The Spanish Constitution contains the mandate addressed to the government authorities to promote and facilitate citizen participation in the economic and social life of the country, either directly or through organizations or associations. 

The creation of the ESC is approved by Act 21/1991, of June, on the Founding of the Economic and Social Council published in the Spanish Official State Gazette of 18th June 1991

- Have any changes in recent years happened concerning the nature, membership, capacities of the Institution.


2. Mandate

- Consultation and advisory 


3. Mission and attributions


1.The Council functions are to:


1.1. Issue mandatory opinions on:
a) National Bills and Draft Royal Legislative Decrees regulating socio-economic and labour matters and Draft Royal Decrees deemed by the Government to be especially significant in regulating the abovementioned matters, et expressly excluding the National Draft Budget.
b) Bills or Draft administrative provisions affecting the organization, powers or functioning of the Council.
c) Removal of the Chairman and the Secretary General of the Council.
d) Any other matter which, by express precept of a Law, is to be consulted with the Council.


1.2. Issue opinions on matters which are voluntarily submitted for consultation by the Government of the Nation or its members.


1.3. Draft studies or reports at the petition of the Government or its members, or at its own initiative, which in the context of the economic and social interests of the social partners are related to the following subjects: Economy, Tax Regulations, Labour Relations, Employment and Social Security, Social Affairs, Agriculture and Fisheries, Education and Culture, Health and Consumer Affairs, Environment, Transport and Communications, Industry and Energy, Housing, Regional Development, the Single European Market and Development Cooperation.


1.4. Regulate the system for the internal organization and running of the Council.


1.5. Draft and submit annually to the Government, within the first five months of every year, a Report dealing with its viewpoints on the socio-economic and labour situation of the nation.


2. Through its Chairman, the Council may request additional information on matters that are submitted to it for consultation on a mandatory or facultative basis, provided that this information is required in order for it to issue its opinion


3. a) The Council is to issue its opinion within the term stipulated by the Government or the Ministers, as the case may be, in the order for transfer of the dossier or in the request for consultation.
b) The time limit for issue of the opinion shall not be less than 15 days, unless the Government states that the matter is urgent, in which case the time limit may not be less than 10 days.
c) Once the corresponding time limit has lapsed with no opinion having been issued, said opinion will be understood as having been issued.


4. Composition :

- Number of members: 61 including its President

- Duration of the term: 4 years

- Membership categories:

  • 20 Members comprise the First Group, representing the trade unions;
  • 20 Members comprise the Second Group, representing the employers’ organizations;
  • and 20 comprise the Third Group, of which 3 correspond to the agricultural sector, 3 to the maritime-fisheries sector, 4 to consumers and users, 4 to the social economy sector, and the remaining 6 shall be experts in matters which are relevant to the Council.
  • 2 Vice-Chairmen from among the members representing the trade unions and employers’ organizations, respectively.


- Process of designating the members (election, nomination, by whom, etc.):

The First Group of Council members is designated by those trade unions which are deemed to be most representative, in proportion to their degree of representation pursuant to the stipulations of
Sections 6.2 and 7.1 of Parliamentary General Act 11/1985 of 2nd August, on Trade Union Freedom.


The Second Group of Council members shall be designated by those employers’ organizations deemed to be most representative, in proportion to their degree of representation pursuant to the stipulations of the Sixth Additional Provision of Act 8/1980, of 10th March, on the Workers’ Statutes, in the version of Act 32/1984, of 2nd August.


The Third Group of Council members shall be proposed, in each case, by the entities or associations indicated below:
a) Those corresponding to the agricultural sector, by the professional organizations of that sector.
b) Those corresponding to the maritime-fisheries sector, by the fisheries producers organizations of that sector.
c) Those corresponding to consumers and users, by the Consumers and Users Council.
d) Those corresponding to the social economy sector, by the cooperative associations and industrial associations.


The experts shall be appointed by the Government of the Nation at the joint proposal of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, after consulting with the organizations represented in the Council, and shall be specially trained individuals having recognized experience in the socio-economic and labour field.


Those Council members are designated or proposed by the entities and associations referred above will be appointed by the Government at the proposal of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security which shall be informed by said entities and associations of the designation or proposal of the corresponding members.


5. Management organs

The Council organs are as follows:

  1. The Plenary Assembly.
  2. The Standing Committee.
  3. The Working Committees.
  4. The Chairman.
  5. The Vice-Chairmen.
  6. The Secretary General.


Collegiate Organs:

1. The Council Plenary Assembly is comprised of all of the members of the Council, presided by the Chairman and assisted by the Secretary General, and functions in accordance with the following regulations:

a) The Plenary Assembly shall meet in an ordinary session at least once a month, notwithstanding the fact that extraordinary meetings may be held as stipulated by the Council itself in plenary session.

b) In order for the Plenary Assembly to be validly constituted, the presence is required of at least 31 of its members, in addition to the Chairman and the Secretary General or their legal substitutes. At the second call to meeting, the presence of only twenty members shall be required in addition to the Chairman and the Secretary General or their legal substitutes.

c) The Plenary Assembly shall adopt its resolutions by absolute majority of those attending, and tie votes shall be broken by the Chairman’s use of his casting vote.

d) Council views shall be expressed under the heading of “Opinion of the Economic and Social Council” and shall not be binding. Opinions shall be issued by the Plenary Assembly or, if warranted, by the Standing Committee, when the latter has been delegated this function by
the former.

Opinions shall be documented separately, highlighting the background information, the assessment made and the conclusions, and shall be signed by the Secretary General and approved by the Council Chairman.

Any dissenting votes shall necessarily be attached to said opinions.


2. The Standing Committee, presided by the Chairman and assisted by the Secretary General, shall be comprised of 6 members representing the First Group, 6 representing the Second Group and 6 from the Third Group, who shall be designated by and from among the members of the Plenary Assembly at the proposal of each one of the groups.

3. The Council Plenary Assembly may set up Committees or working groups on a permanent basis or for specific matters. In any event, the composition of such committees shall respect proportionality and the presence of the various groups represented in the Council.


3. Working Committees

1. The Working Committees shall be made up as agreed upon by the Plenary Assembly, respecting the criteria of proportionality and ensuring that the various groups of the Council are represented in them.
2. Each organization may at any time replace any of the members representing it in the Working Committees, designating at the same time his replacement.

Sole Person Organs:


4. The Chairman.


a. The Chairman of the Economic and Social Council shall be appointed by the Government of the Nation at the joint proposal of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, after consulting with the groups of representation in the Council.

In any event, the person proposed for appointment shall be required to have the backing of at least two-thirds of the Council members.

b. Consultation on the proposal for Council Chairman shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures for the preliminary meeting of the Plenary Assembly regulated by article 6 of the present Regulations. In this regard, the Minister of Labour and Social Security shall inform the outgoing Chairman of the proposal for appointment of the Chairman.


The functions of the Chairman:

a) Manage Council activity and represent it.

b) Call meetings of the Plenary Assembly and of the Standing Committee, preside them and moderate the course of the debates.

c) Set the agenda for the meetings of the Plenary Assembly and the Standing Committee taking into account the petitions made by their members as provided for in their Regulations on organization and internal functioning.

d) Endorse the minutes, order the publication of resolutions and take charge of and ensure compliance with said resolutions.

e) Any other functions granted to him by the present Act or which are inherent to his status as Chairman and are thus stipulated in the Regulations approved by the Council.


5. The Council has two Vice-Chairmen elected by the Plenary Assembly, each one being proposed by and chosen from among the members representing the trade unions and employers’ organizations, respectively.

The Vice-Chairmen shall substitute the Chairman in cases of vacancy, absence or illness, as stipulated in the internal regulations and they shall perform the duties expressly delegated to them by the Chairman.


6. The Secretary General

The Secretary General shall be freely designated by the Government at the joint proposal of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, after consulting with the groups of representation in the Council. In any event, the person whose appointment is proposed is to have the backing of at least two thirds of the Council members.

The functions of the Secretary General:

a) Manage administratively and technically the various Council services and ensure that its organs act in accordance with the principles of economy, celerity and efficacy.

b) Attend the meetings of the Council Plenary Assembly and Standing Committee with the right to speak but not to vote. 


6. Operational arrangement of the Permanent Secretariat

Yes ✅

No ☐


7. Gender balance (% of women)

Between 0% and 9% ☐

Equal or more than 10% ☐

Equal or more than 30% ✅

Equal or more than 50% ☐


8. Reporting Institution

Government ✅

Parliament ☐

Cabinet of President ☐

Cabinet of Prime Minister ☐

Ministry of Finance ☐

Ministry of Labour ☐

Ministry of Social Affairs ☐

Others (please specify):


9. Budget

Amount :

Between $0 and $249,000 ☐

Equal or more than $250,000 ☐

Equal or more than $500,000 ☐

Equal or more than $750,000 ☐


Source of funding: Public Budget


III. Organizational Structure


1. Committees/Sub-committees/working groups:


2. Is there in your country any institutions of social dialogue outside your institutions?

The following are standing Working Committees:



Annual Report on the socio-economic and labour situation of Spain.

  • Economy and Tax Regulations.
  • Single European Market, Regional Development and Development Cooperation.
  • Industrial Relations, Employment and Social Security.
  • Health Care, Consumer and Social Affairs, Education and Culture.
  • Agriculture and Fisheries.
  • Sectorial Policies and the Environment.


The Plenary Assembly of the Council may agree to set up Working Committees for specific matters such “The Working Committee on the social reality and work of women in Spain”.


IV. Functioning of the ESC


1. Who convenes the Institution? The Government and it can also work at its own initiative


2. Has the Institution a legal right to issue own-initiative opinion? Yes. The ESC can issue reports at its own initiative.


3.How are decisions taken inside the Institution

By vote ✅

By consensus ✅


4. What kind of payment do the Councillors receive: wage, compensation, other?

The Council reimburses travel expenses to attend meetings


5. Is the Government obligated to follow the opinion issued by the Institution?

No. The Council is a consultative body and issues non-binding opinions.


6. Is the Government obligated to report on the fate of the Institution opinions?

No, it is not obliged.


7. Are there official publications of the Institution opinions?



8. Is the public opinion informed about the Institution works? How?

Yes. Through media, official presentation of publications, the Council's website and holding presentation conferences on our reports.


9. What kind of relationship does the ESC have with civil society?

Part of the Institution ✅

Institutionalised relation ☐

Uninstitutionalised relation ☐

Collaboration ☐

Participation in the drafting of reports ☐

Nothing at all ☐


V.Main technical areas of competencies


Agriculture ✅

Civil Society ✅

Corporate Social Responsibility ✅

Culture ✅

Education and Training ✅

Employment policy and labour market regulation ✅

Environmental Policy ✅

European Affairs ✅

Financial and Economic Policies ✅

Fiscal and Taxation Policies ✅

Fundamental principles and rights at work ✅

Gender equality and anti-discrimination ✅

Governance ✅

Health and Medical Policy ✅

Infrastructure, Transport, and Energy Policies ✅

International affairs ✅

Labour Law reform ✅

Legal Affairs ✅

Productivity and competitiveness ✅

Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy and Industrial Policy ✅

Social Affairs ✅

Social Dialogue and Tripartism ✅

Industrial relations and Collective bargaining ✅

Dispute prevention and resolution ✅

Social Security and Social Protection ✅

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ✅

Territorial Management ✅

Workplace compliance and working conditions ✅

Youth Employment ✅

Other ✅


VI. Brief description of major results obtained by your Institution in the last 3 years


Please give examples (Recommendations issued, Reports, Collective Agreements concluded, Conflict prevention and social peace obtained, National policies or legal frameworks including recommendations, Reform of your institution) and attached relevant documents

Every year it is mandatory for our Council to produce a Report on the socioeconomic and labour situation in Spain which can be found in this link:


Opinions under demand of the Government on several subjects can be found in this link:


Also we have own initiative reports in this link: (conclusions and proposals available in English).

  • Report 03/2021: “Economic governance in the European Union. The impact of the pandemic.”
  • Report 02/2021: “A living and sustainable rural environment”
  • Report 01/2021: “Digitalisation of the economy. Update on Report 3/2017”
  • Report 03/2020: “The system for promotion of personal autonomy and care for dependent persons”
  • Report 02/2020: “Youth and the labour market in Spain”
  • Report 01/2020: “Public investment in Spain: Current situation and strategic priorities”.
  • Report 04/2019: “Industry in Spain: Proposals for its development”.


Emplacement de la carte

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73 Calle de las Huertas, Madrid 28014, Comunidad de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Personnes de contact

International Relation´s Officer
Ms. Pilar López (+)
Antón Costas Comesaña (+)
Soledad Serrano Ponz (+)










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