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EACEA National Policies Platform


1. Youth Policy Governance

1.4 Youth policy decision-making

Last update: 7 January 2021
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  1. Structure of Decision-making
  2. Main Themes
  3. The National Agency for Youth
  4. Policy monitoring and evaluation

Structure of Decision-making

According to Article 48 of the 1978 Spanish Constitution (Constitución Española de 1978) “Public authorities will promote conditions for the free and effective participation of youth in the political, social, economic and cultural development”. Therefore, public authorities must develop youth policies as it has been done for the last forty years.

Spain is a decentralised country; besides the Central Government (the General Government Administration being its administrative apparatus), there are two other political-administrative levels: On the one hand, 17 Autonomous Regions and two Autonomous Cities (Ceuta and Melilla); they all rely on an Autonomous Government, an Autonomous Administration, a directly elected Autonomous Parliament and, above all, a referential policy framework set by the Statute of Autonomy approved from 1979 onwards. Last, on a third level, Local Authorities and Provinces (another regional division) should be taken into account, as these are also empowered [i].

This complexity structures its distribution of power through Title VIII of the Spanish Constitution. Moreover, a system of competences is established: some can be taken on by the Autonomous Regions (art. 148, CE); others belong exclusively to the Government (art. 149, CE).

The Spanish Constitution does not include a paragraph stating youth policies and so, in order to address this lack of specific assignment, the different Autonomous Regions assumed exclusive responsibility in their own Statutes. Although this structure has remained so, it does not mean that the State cannot make laws on this matter[ii].

Although most of the actions related to youth are carried out through the Autonomous Regions and local bodies, on a national scale the decision-taking structure is related to two bodies explained further down: the Spanish Youth Institute (INJUVE) and the Youth Interministerial Commission.

On an Autonomous Region scale, these competences are stated in the different Autonomy Statutes.  The youth organisations of the Autonomous Regions are the main institutional actors at this level.

On a national scale, decisions are made by the Government through the Interministerial Commission presided by the Minister of Social Rights and 2030 Agenda. The vice-presidency of the Commission is held by the General Director of the Youth Institute, as the vocals that represent the Departments of this institution. The secretary post is occupied by a public worker of the Youth Institute by request of the General Director and the Commission President. It is foreseen that a vocal post will be held by the Presidency of the Youth Council of Spain.     

It is enforced by the Youth Institute, in coordination with the Autonomous Regions and local entities (town halls and provincial councils), in this case through the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces.

Coordination of the authorities with the associative youth movement is made through the Spanish Youth Council (Consejo de la Juventud de España). This organisation was created by Law 18/1983, November the 16th (Ley 18/1983, de 16 de noviembre) as a plural platform made out of youth entities for the exchange of ideas. Its main purpose is to participate in the design of policies that, directly or indirectly, affect youth, responding to the problems of this group. Therefore, it is an advisory body, although the definition of its real current role remains unclear.

Main Themes

The main themes can be found in Strategy 2020: education and training; employment and entrepreneurship; housing; health and prevention; participation, voluntary services, inclusion and equality; and institutional cooperation between the different administrations of the Spanish State. The document explaining the Strategy 2020 is one of the two official papers describing the choice of themes, the other is a document of the Minister Council (Consejo de Ministros).


The National Agency for Youth

The Youth Institute is the public body, currently attached to the Ministry of Social Rights and 2030 Agenda, working as the Spanish National Agency for Youth. Created in 1977 by virtue of Royal Decree 1119/1977 (Real Decreto 1119/1977), of 20th of May; however, its purposes and current structure were approved in 2005 by Royal Decree 486/2005 (Real Decreto 486 /2005), of 4th of May.

Amongst its targets are: “the promotion of equal opportunities for all youth regardless of gender; to encourage the free and effective participation of youth in the political, social, economic and cultural development of Spain; and to encourage the cooperation with other ministerial departments as well as with other public administrations”. In all, its main purpose is the promotion of public actions which favour youth.

Its role of coordination of youth policies both with the State Administration as well as with the Autonomous Regions and local authorities (in this case through the Spanish Federation of Provinces and Municipalities (Federación Española de Municipios y Provincias) is crucial.

Article 3 of Royal Decree 486/2005 (Real Decreto 486 /2005) of 4th of May states that, in order to comply with its purposes, the Youth Institute is empowered to develop, within the field of the national competences in this matter, the following tasks:

a) The development of cooperation with the Public Administrations in all matters related to youth.

b) The encouragement of communication, exchanges and mobility of Spanish youth, both in Spain and abroad.

c) The analysis and research into the reality affecting youth.

d) To promote the participation of the Spanish Youth Council and of youth in general in the design, enforcement, follow-up and assessment of the Government youth policies.

e) The encouragement of territorial cooperation in the development of youth policies.

f) Rendering any other services suitable for the achievement of its specific goals.

The budget of the Youth Institute is made of the funding given by the General Government Administration, the European funds from the European Commission obtained through the Youth in Action Program and the Erasmus+ Youth program. The rest of the budget is acquired as a result of the services provided in the Youth Eurolatinamerican Center and the sale of publications. The accountability labours are taken by the General Intervention of the State Administration (Intervención General de la Administración del Estado) through the Delegate Intervention from the Youth Institute. The budget in the year 2018 was of 32,961,440 €. With respect to the previous year 2017 INJUVE has experienced an increase of 6,54% in its budget.

 Policy monitoring and evaluation

The General Budget Law, in its article 72 (Ley General Presupuestaria 47/2003), makes the Ministry of Finance responsible to “continuous evaluation of the policies to achieve the strategic objectives”. The Royal Decree 769/2017 of 28th July 2017 (Real Decreto 769/2017 del 28 de julio) dissolved the AEVAL, the previous public organization used to make evaluations and control expenditures, and all its functions were transferred to the Institute for Evaluation of Public Policies and General Direction of the Public Governance (Instituto para la Evaluación de Políticas Públicas y de la Dirección General de Gobernanza Pública). Although the Royal Decree is no longer in power, the Institute for Evaluation of Public Policies still has its functions, as established in the article 6.5a) of the Royal Decree 863/2018, of 13th of July 2018.

The monitoring and evaluation of the Youth policy is been carried out, as noted above, through the review of Strategy 2020. It has been carried out by virtue of the different Action Plans through the Youth Interministerial Commission:

  • Action Plan 2014­-2016
  • Action Plan 2016-2018
  • Action Plan 2018-2020

At the end of each year, the Youth Institute produces a report on the follow-up of the actions taken, which shall be used as the basis, in order to partially asses each Action Plan and to encourage the development of new measures. From this annual report, the Youth Interministerial Commission shall decide the inclusion of new actions proposed by the different Ministries. The indicators are the ones can be seen in the Strategy 2020 document.

All measures related to youth employment and entrepreneurship are subject to follow-up and assessment by virtue of the assemblage of an Inter-Ministerial Follow-up Commission and a Working Group made out of social partners. The Commission and the Working Group shall take into account data and results provided by two different sets of indicators: (1) Output and result indicators; a control and follow-up of the number of measures taken, of the budget assigned to the measure and of the number of beneficiaries of each measure is carried out. (2) Impact indicators: parameters such as youth employment rate, early school drop-out rate, the percentage of youth with an involuntary part-time work contract, or the percentage of youth at risk of social exclusion, among others, are considered.

For the correct follow-up of the degree of advance of these measures, a procedure for the collection and treatment of data is established. By virtue of this procedure, each one of the entities responsible for each action shall provide the necessary information annually, which shall be subject to statistical aggregation and processing by the Ministry of Labour and Social Economy (Ministerio de Trabajo y Economía Social), Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration (Ministerio de Inclusión, Seguridad Social y Migraciones).

The follow-up reports shall be referred to the Inter-Ministerial Follow-up Commission that shall analyse the degree of advance of each one of the initiatives and, where relevant, the degree of deviation from the established goals.

The Tripartite Commission on Youth Employment (Comisión Tripartita para el Empleo Joven) is an analysing, debate and assessment body for public policies concerning youth employment. It is made out of business and trade union organisations as well as the Public Administration.

[i] From the Basque Statute of Autonomy, the first one, established in 1979;until the Statute of Autonomy of Castile and Leon, the last one, established in 1983 (Comas Arnau, 2007, page 66)

[ii] Organic Laws are those laws constitutionally needed to legislate over certain matters. For the Spanish Legal System, the relationship between organic laws and ordinary laws is not hierarchical; it is a relationship according to the subject (artículo 81.1 CE). They also require a further consensus in order to be approved, the overall majority in the National Parliament).