The Council of Economic and Social Agreement is a joint voluntary negotiating and initiative body of the government, trade unions and employers for achieving an agreement in essential issues of economic and social development. It is based on tripartite structure as a consultative body. Usually documents prepared by the government or ministries are discussed upon request of social partners. Sometimes there is a governmental request for discussion to be familiar with the social partners´ opinions as well. All documents submitted to the Council are subject of debate firstly in the working teams and then in the Plenary Session. During this process the ideas crystallize to the final opinion given to the Plenary Session.
Related to specific areas discussed the Council deals mainly with the main issues of economic and social development, employment, health and safety conditions at work, entrepreneurship conditions, health care, living costs, environment, education, research, industry development and usage of the EU funds.
Discussion within the Council is not obligatory and there is no legal basis for the Council’s activity. There is no legal obligation for the government or for the Parliament to ask the Council’s advice. The full cooperation is based on voluntary basis. In most cases social partners require discussing some specific problems or government proposals and this discussion depends on the political culture and the government’s will to accept it. All the activities of the Council are based on good will, cooperation and agreement between social partners and the government. On the other hand, the influence of the Council is very strong – support of the social partners in the key questions is very useful for the government.
The Council does not produce any advises or any other binding documents. The conclusions of the Plenary Sessions are not binding and the acceptation of the opinions of the social partners depends just on the will of the government.
There is no special budget of the Council. The salary costs for the secretariat staff and other related costs are covered by the Office of the Government.