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EACEA National Policies Platform


1. Youth Policy Governance

1.4 Youth policy decision-making

Last update: 28 November 2023
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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 2030: Inclusive, equitable, quality education and training and lifelong learning; Self-reliance, decent employment and youth entrepreneurship; Emancipation, housing, birth rate and life project; Integral health and quality of life; Young people and adolescents at serious risk of social exclusion or subject to double discrimination; Youth and global transformation, participation and volunteering; Youth mobility: emigration and return; Youth and the rural world; Knowledge management on youth reality and youth services; Youth governance and institutional cooperation; Young women and equality; Youth, the environment and sustainability.

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 2022 was of 54,931.44 thousands of €. With respect to the previous year 2021 INJUVE has experienced an increase of 17.63% 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”. Royal Decree 507/2021, of 10 July, restructuring the ministerial departments and Royal Decree 682/2021, of 3 August, developing the basic organic structure of the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration and amending Royal Decree 139/2020, of 28 January, establishing the basic organic structure of the ministerial departments, establishes that the Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies is attached to the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration through the Secretariat of State for Public Administration, with the organic level of Deputy Directorate General (Article 14.6).

The monitoring and evaluation of the Youth policy is been carried out, as noted above, through the review of Strategy 2030.

Main functions of the Monitoring System

The monitoring system will provide information on the progress of implementation and at the same time facilitate understanding of the evolution of the strategy.

The monitoring of the strategy will be results-oriented and, as such, the information to be collected will therefore make it possible to measure the evolution of the main impact indicators, and this in turn will identify whether these developments are in line with the temporal scope of the strategy and shed light on the priorities for the three-year operational planning.

The evaluation of the Strategy will provide information on progress in the achievement of the objectives at three key key stages of implementation.

Interim evaluation reports in 2024 and 2028 and final evaluation report.

The actors involved in the monitoring and evaluation of the Strategy are:

  1. Spanish Youth Institute
  2. Management centres with responsibility for the implementation of the Strategy
  3. Youth Governing Board
  4. Interterritorial Youth Council
  5. Spanish Youth Council
  6. Working Groups and Open Dialogue with Youth of the Inter-ministerial Youth Commission
  7. EU Youth Dialogue


[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).