The E.S.C. of Greece was established by the Law 2232/1994 and has followed the E.E.S.C. model based on the tripartite structure of the interests represented, namely: the employers’ group, the employees’ group and the various interests’ group, the latter representing farmers, freelance professionals, the Local Government, consumers, environmental protection Organizations, people with disabilities and Organizations on issues of gender equality.
The E.S.C.'s work is the expression of Opinions on issues of social and economic policy (e.g. labour relations, social security, taxation measures, regional development, investment, export, consumer protection and trade). The E.S.C. expresses its Opinion on the above topics before the draft law is submitted to the Parliament to become Greek law. The E.S.C. may also, on its own initiative, express an Opinion.
The single most important development concerning the E.S.C. was the inclusion into the new, amended Constitution of Greece of a new article (82 par.3) about its organization and authority. The new provision states that "Law determines the issues related with the composition, the operation and the authority of the E.S.C., the mission of which is the conduct of social dialogue about the general policy of the country, and in particular about the direction of the economic and social policy and the expression of opinions on draft laws submitted to it ".
The E.S.C. consists of the President and sixty (60) Members, who form three Groups with equal number of Members. The first of these Groups represents employers, the second one employees and the third one other categories.
The Members of the first Group are: a) four from the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen and Merchants (G.S.E.V.E.E.), the National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (E.S.E.E.), the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (S.E.T.E.) and b) one from the Union of the Hellenic Bank Association (E.E.T.), the Union of the Greek Shipowners (E.E.E.), the Association of Greek Contracting Companies (S.A.T.E.), the Hellenic Federation of Building Contractors and Developers (OM.K.O.E.E.).
In the second Group, fourteen Members are appointed by the Greek General Confederation of Labour (G.S.E.E.) and six from the Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Servants Trade Unions (A.D.E.D.Y.) selected, if possible, from different sectors.
The third Group Members are: a) four from the Panhellenic Confederation of Unions of Agricultural Cooperatives (PA.S.E.GE.S.) and two from the General Confederation of Greek Agrarian Associations (GE.S.A.S.E.), b) a member pursuing professional services from the Lawyers Coordinating Committee, the Greek Medical Association (P.I.S.), the Central Union of Hellenic Chambers (K.E.E.E.), the Technical Chamber of Greece (T.E.E.), the Economic Chamber of Greece (O.E.E.), the Geotechnical Chamber of Greece (GEO.T.E.E.), c) one (1) representative of the Consumers, environmental protection Organizations, the National Confederation of Disabled People (E.S.A.E.A.), Organizations on issues of gender equality, d) two (2) Members from the Central Union of Communities and Municipalities of Greece (K.E.D.K.E.) and e) two (2) Members from the Hellenic Central Union of Prefectures (K.E.P.E.).
The E.S.C. bodies are: the General Assembly, the Executive Committee, the Council of Presidents, the President and the three (3) Vice-Presidents.
The General Assembly has the authority to form the Opinions, to issue regulations regarding the organization or the operation of the E.S.C., as well as to deal with any other subject not entrusted to another body.
The Executive Committee consists of the President, the three Vice-presidents and five representatives from each Group, designated by the respective Groups. The membership of the Executive Committee Members lasts for two years, unless otherwise decided by the General Assembly, and is renewable. The Executive Committee manages the daily affairs of the E.S.C., proceeds with the gathering of information and the preparation of the proposals on the Opinions expressed by the E.S.C., which it submits for final approval to the General Assembly and prepares the draft regulation. For this purpose, it establishes a committee and appoints a main rapporteur and possibly a second one, who belongs to a different Group. It may also establish, with the President's concurrent opinion, research groups or suggest the appointment of an expert.
The Council of Presidents is composed of the Presidents of tertiary Organizations which are Members of the E.S.C. The Members of the Council of Presidents do not have terms, but every member participates in the Council for as long as he chairs that body. The Council of Presidents sets guidelines for the E.S.C.’s action, as well as the specialized departments that E.S.C.’s work is permanently or temporarily divided into, depending on the critical areas of social dialogue. The proposals are validated by the Executive Committee and the General Assembly.
In accordance with Law 3943/2011 (Government Gazette No. 66A/31.3.11) the President of the Economic and Social Council is appointed by decision of the Minister of Finance for four years, after a proposal from the General Assembly. The choice of President is made by prestigious personalities, of adequate scientific training and broad social acceptance indicated every four years by each of the three Groups, which constitute the E.S.C.
The President represents the E.S.C., has the responsibility of the E.S.C.’s action, presides over Council of Presidents meetings, the General Assembly and the Executive Committee, sets the agenda, taking into consideration the requests formulated by Members and approves the minutes.
The E.S.C. has three Vice-Presidents, elected for four years by the Members of the Group from which they are. The election requires a majority of 2/3 of the total number of Group Members. The Vice-Presidents’ term is not renewable. The meeting of Groups, in order to elect Vice-Presidents, is under the responsibility of the President.
The Executive Committee appoints Work Committees and a rapporteur in order to collect information and prepare a proposal of Opinion to be expressed by the E.S.C. The Work Committee prepares a draft Opinion and submits it to the Executive Committee for approval. The final decision on the Opinion is taken by the General Assembly. In most of the cases, the relevant Minister is participating in the deliberations of the General Assembly.