You are in:

Regional Administrations

6th Conference of Regional Presidents

Sunday 31 December 2017

In January 2017, the 6th Conference of Regional Presidents was held in the Upper House of Parliament, attended by representatives of 15 regions. During this Conference, 11 agreements were signed on a broad range of issues to address the main problems affecting our country.

In July 2017, six months after the Conference, the Vice-President of the Government and Minister for the Presidency and the Regional Administrations took stock of the progress that had been made in relation to these agreements. These results mark the starting point and basis on which further work will be done. The reactivation of the Conference of Regional Presidents constitutes a genuine opportunity to increase communication, collaboration and cooperation through this body that helps drive relations between the different tiers of government.

The main results in the different areas can be summarised as follows:

Employment policies

The Sector Conference on Employment and Labour Affairs held in July 2017 addressed the Annual Employment Policy Plan 2017 (Spanish acronym: PAPE), the Spanish Strategy for Employment Activation 2017-2020, the strategic goals for 2018 and the start of the process to draft the PAPE, the development of training actions through the implementation of the training voucher, and the additional allocations from the Youth Employment Initiative and from the European Social Fund.

Work will continue to be done on the effective implementation of the National Youth Guarantee System, on job activation programmes and on catering for the long-term unemployed, and on fostering the employability of other vulnerable groups.

Employment will continue to be the main cornerstone for action of the different ministerial departments and of the autonomous regions.

Civil Protection

On 29 March 2017, the National Civil Protection Council was set up, and the internal regulation on its organisation and functioning was approved, with representation from the government, all the autonomous regions and FEMP.

Reporting functions and the development of coordination within the Council was delegated to its Standing Committee. This committee met on 11 May 2017 and reported on the emergency plan for forest fires in the different regions, as well as plans for chemical spills, accidents involving dangerous goods and on 26 different dams in different river basins.

Demographic Challenge

The demographic challenge has been included on the national policy agenda, with the creation of the Government Commission to Tackle the Demographic Challenge, and the formation of an inter-institutional Working Group, made up of nine ministerial departments, all the autonomous regions and FEMP. Contact has also been made to see the level of involvement of the EU in the demographic challenge, with the aim of providing a response to a problem we share with most other European countries.

State Social and Political Education Pact

On 27 March 2017, upon an initiative from the government, a monographic debate was held at the meeting of the General Committee of the Autonomous Regions of the Upper House of Parliament, which reached several agreements. Noteworthy among these is the creation of a study group on the State Social and Political Education Pact within the General Committee of the Autonomous Regions of the Upper House of Parliament. As from 14 September, representatives of the autonomous regions have been attending this study group to present their proposals. It has also been agreed to involve the Spanish Federation of Municipal Districts and Provinces (FEMP).

The State Social and Political Education Pact was also the subject of a specific debate at the Education Sector Conference held on 30 March 2017. The government undertook to work during this term of office on reaching agreements between parties and institutions with the aim of achieving a pact with the broadest possible consensus and over and above political changes.

Law to Guarantee Market Unity

On 22 February 2017, the Market Unity Council met, with representatives from the government, the autonomous regions and FEMP, which reactivated the system for cooperation between different public authorities. The Market Unity Council will meet again in the second half of the year to give a renewed drive to the reports to study regulatory impact and the plans to remove obstacles to economic activity.

Public employment

At the level of the General State Administration, major agreements have been reached by the General Negotiation Council of the Public Administrations (29 March and 6 July 2017) which led to the largest public employment offer being approved since 2008, with 28,249 jobs advertised in 2017.

  • The job replacement rate for the autonomous regions can be as high as 100% for regional education and police officers, as well as in all the priority sectors.
  • In the period 2017-2019, the process to stabilise temporary employment will begin, which will affect 129,700 jobs in the healthcare sector, 98,807 in the teaching sector and 2,331 in the administration of justice.
  • Working groups have been set up to facilitate the geographic and functional mobility of public servants.

Digital Administration

The drive and development of the offer of services that the General State Administration provides to the autonomous regions under the system of cooperation has continued, guaranteeing the full availability of the following services: F@ce, Record Management, Intermediation, Cl@ve, Integrated Record System, General Point of Access and Citizen's File, and Key Events.

Social Card

The commitments made on the constitution of a working group to design and implement the social card have been met. To this end, the technical configurations of the project have been outlined and a data base has been set up to record all the benefits.

Mechanisms to protect vulnerable electricity consumers

The approval of the Royal Decree on the Social Electricity Voucher will include mechanisms to protect vulnerable electricity consumers. It will also include new categories of vulnerable consumers, to whom different discounts can be applied, and reporting and information obligations to consumers are strengthened. All of this has led to meeting the commitments made and improving communication between different public authorities, which have lists of projected suspensions of electricity supply available to them.

The autonomous regions have been punctually provided with the draft Royal Decree on the Social Electricity Voucher, and can make contributions that will be evaluated and, as the case may be, incorporated into its implementing regulations.

Sustainability of the Welfare State and reform of model of regional financing

On 10 February 2017, the Council of Ministers set up three groups, as agreed at the Conference, on the subjects of regional financing, local financing and to assess the system of long-term care.

A Committee of Experts was set up to revise the system of regional financing, with five representatives from the General State Administration and one representative from each autonomous region under the common regime, with the exception of Catalonia, which did not elect a representative. Set up on 23 February, this Committee has met on an almost weekly basis. The Committee of Experts is due to present its report before the end of 2017. The revision of the system of financing will subsequently continue through the Technical Standing Committee for Evaluation and then at the Fiscal and Financial Policy Council.

As regards local financing, the Committee of Experts on the reform of the system was set up on 1 March 2017 and has held periodic meetings since then. The Committee of Experts will issue its report shortly and will present it to the National Committee for Local Authorities for its evaluation.

As regards long-term care, the Committee to Study the Situation of Long-term Care was set up on 23 February 2017. In order to develop its remit, a working group has been set up that has now held nine meetings. It is finalising its conclusions with a view to submitting them to the Territorial Council of the System for Autonomy and Long-term Care for discussion.

Participation by Autonomous Regions in EU Affairs

The commitments to reactivate the Conference for Affairs Related to the EU (Spanish acronym: CARUE) have been met. Prior to the Conference of Regional Presidents in January, CARUE had not met since 2011. Since the Conference of Regional Presidents, two plenary meetings have already been held. Furthermore, a working group has been set up that is evaluating the current system of regional participation adopted back in 2004.

Agreement for the reform of the Regulation of the Conference of Regional Presidents

The reform of the Regulation provides the Preparatory Committee with the evaluation and implementation of the agreements adopted, as well as with stimulus and monitoring tasks, and furthermore establishes that the Conference of Regional Presidents will meet on an annual basis.

The meetings of the Preparatory Committee for stimulus and monitoring are fundamental for guaranteeing continuity and for promoting the Conference as a forum for multilateral cooperation between different public authorities.

Gender-based Violence Pact

On 28 September 2017, the Plenary Session of the Lower House of Parliament approved the State Pact on Gender-based Violence with the vote in favour of 278 MPs. The agreement contains 213 measures, which must be implemented within a period of two months after the government notifies the autonomous regions, local authorities, parties, the administration of justice, trade unions and associations of its content. The proposals are financially backed in the sum of around 1 billion euros over the next five years: 100 million for local authorities, 500 million for regional authorities and another 400 million for State powers under the General State Budget.