CEOE

CEOE
   The Confederación Española de Organizaciones Empresariales (CEOE—Confederation of Employers Organizations) is the major national organization representing business interests in Spain. The CEOE plays an important role in the labour market and a more general role in shaping government policy, in forming public opinion, in vocational training and in Spanish culture. It also represents Spanish employers in international organizations and in other countries. Since its foundation in 1977 the CEOE has been a vehicle for expressing the conservative viewpoint, contributing to the shift in Spanish politics towards the centre in the mid-1990s.
   The CEOE has a membership embracing both individual companies and other employers organizations. These include those representing employers in particular areas of the country (for example the Employers Federation of Andalusia), those representing specific economic sectors of the economy (such as the private banks) and those representing specific categories of businesses such as small and medium size businesses; the latter being represented by the Confederation of Small and Medium-Size Enterprises (Confederación Española de Pequeñas y Medianas Empresas— CEPYME).
   The ultimate ruling body of the CEOE is the General Assembly, composed of a large number of delegates, elected for four-year terms, representing all the organizations of the CEOE. The General Assembly elects a Chairperson and a Board of Directors, who in turn appoint the members of the Executive Committee. A number of ad-hoc advisory committees consider specific issues such as government budgets, taxation, the labour market, health and safety, infrastructure, energy and the European Union. There is a permanent secretariat to advise on, and coordinate the work of, the CEOE and to implement its policies.
   The activities of the CEOE are, first, to represent the viewpoint of the business community in discussions with the government over public policy, including those which take place in the government's Economic and Social Affairs Committee, and with the trade unions over collective wage agreements and working conditions. It undertakes research into issues affecting the business community and publishes reports. For example, the CEOE carries out ongoing analyses of the Spanish economy in order to offer advice on enhancing the competitive position of Spanish companies. For its members the CEOE provides a forum for discussion and a source of business information. It also runs training courses and offers some technical support. As a broader cultural organization, the CEOE Foundation promotes cultural activity, social and scientific research.
   During the "transition to democracy" and economic crisis at the end of the 1970s, the CEOE was one of the three parties involved in reaching agreements that contributed towards stabilizing the economy, the other two being the government and the trade unions. In 1984 it was a signatory to the Economic and Social Accord, along with the government and the General Workers Trade Union (UGT). However, despite its alignment with the ruling political party in 1996, it remained outside the agreement on pensions (initially reached in 1995 as the Pacto de Toledo) between the government and the trade unions, arguing that the cost to business remained too high. During the mid-1990s the CEOE, under the presidency of José María Cuevas (in office since 1984), became the axis for conservative criticism of the socialist (PSOE) government. Its leadership allied with the opposition conservative Popular Party (PP), providing technical support in developing the PP's economic programme. Following the victory of the PP in the elections in 1996 some members of the CEOE joined the PP government.
   Although the CEOE represents the business community, that community does not have a single view on all issues. Internal tensions reflect the different perspectives which emerge from the variety of businesses in the country and their regional origin, as well as personality clashes.
   See also: economy; labour market; trade unions; unemployment
   KEITH SALMON

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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