CES - Economic and Social Council of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
- Pascale Toussing
- Daniel Becker
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg's Economic and Social Council (ESC) was established by the law of 21 March 1966 (amended by a further law passed on 15 December 1986). The Economic and Social Council is the government's permanent consultative body in the area of economic and social policy. It is a forum for national tripartite discussion on economic, social and financial issues for which consensus-based solutions are needed. Its general mandate is the study of economic, social and financial issues concerning either several economic sectors or the entire national economy. The Council operates either on referral from the government or on its own initiative.
The Economic and Social Council's role is to:
- draw up an opinion on the economic, social and financial situation of the country every year during the first quarter;
- to issue, at the government's request, opinions on general legislative or regulatory measures that it intends to adopt, when these measures concern a number of economic sectors or professional groups or the national economy as a whole.
- In urgent situations, however, the government is legally freed from the obligation to consult the ESC;
- to submit opinions on specific issues, at the government's request;
- to study economic, financial and social issues of a general or specific nature on its own initiative when it deems appropriate;
- to express a view at the request of the government, usually by means of a single, coordinated opinion, on matters of general interest or on any issues on which the trade associations have issued fundamentally divergent opinions;
- to draw up an opinion at the specific request of the government on the opinions of the tripartite coordination committee, passed on by the government;
- to express a view on the annual revision of the consumer price index weighting scheme.
he Economic and Social Council has 35 members and 35 alternates, who are either employers' or workers' representatives or who have special expertise in an economic or social domain. The latter are completely independent from the professional organisations represented in the Council.
Responsibilities are allocated as follows:
- 14 members representing employers:
2 representatives of the iron and steel sector;
2 representatives of small and medium-sized companies;
2 representatives of the trade sector;
2 representatives of the craft sector;
1 representative of the banking sector;
1 representative of the insurance sector;
1 representative of the professional classes;
2 representatives of the farming sector;
1 representative of the wine-growing sector.
- 14 members representing workers:
10 representatives of private sector employees;
3 representatives of civil servants and public sector employees;
1 transport sector agent.
The employers' and workers' representatives are appointed by the cabinet on the advice of the most representative professional organisations.
- 7 members with special expertise in an area of economic and social policy, completely independent from the professional organisations represented, namely:
4 members co-opted by the employers' and workers' representatives;
3 members appointed by the cabinet.
The Council's members have a renewable four-year mandate.
A president and two vice-presidents are appointed by the Grand Duke on the advice of the Council for a period of two years.
The ESC's constituent bodies are the Plenary Assembly, the Bureau, the Committees and the Secretariat.
- The Plenary Assembly is made up of all the full members of the ESC. It votes on the opinions prepared by the committees, takes stock of work in progress and determines the stance to take in the opinions being prepared.
- The Bureau is the Economic and Social Council's executive body. It consists of the president, the two vice-presidents and the secretary-general. If necessary, the Bureau can be enlarged to include other ESC members.
- Specific committees are established for each opinion. The work is managed by a chairman assisted by one or more rapporteurs chosen from the members of the committee. The rapporteur(s) are assisted by the Secretariat.
- The Secretariat is directed by the secretary-general, who is responsible for the administrative organisation of the ESC's constituent bodies (the Plenary Assembly, the Bureau and the Committees) and also the ESC's Groups. The Secretariat is in charge of budgetary and administrative management.
The Council can act either on its own initiative or on referral from the government when drawing up opinions or studies on issues that fall within its sphere.
Work is organised in accordance with the ESC's rules of procedure.
The Plenary Assembly decides whether a question submitted to the Council will be examined by the Plenary Assembly or referred to a committee. In the first instance, the matter will be discussed immediately and a rapporteur asked to prepare a draft opinion, which will be presented to the plenary assembly for discussion and a vote. Otherwise, a rapporteur appointed by a committee will submit a report and a draft opinion on its behalf, on which the Plenary Assembly will be asked to vote following a discussion.
Members may table amendments to draft opinions and studies submitted to the Plenary Assembly. The Plenary Assembly votes either by a show of hands, or by roll call. Plenary Assembly sessions are not open to the public. Minutes are drawn up for each session, and signed by the president and the secretary-general.
The opinions and studies are published. They are widely disseminated and can also be consulted on the ESC web site: http://www.etat.lu/CES.