Analysis of NAPs Inclusion Spain

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This page is a result of the revision by Peter Ramsden and Magda Barceló of the report "European National Action Plans for Social Inclusion and microfinance: Participation strategies, importance and challenges" (Trans-formando, 2008)

National Report on Strategies for Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2006 - 2008

National Action Plan on Social Inclusion 2003 – 2005


Situation and key trends

  • Economic growth accelerated to 3.5 % in 2005, above the EU average (1.6%). The debt ratio is low (43.1%, 63.4% in the EU, 2005). Both activity and employment rates, although significantly increasing since 2001, continue to be somewhat below EU averages: the activity rate stood at 69.7% in 2005 (70.2% in the EU); the employment rate at 63.3% (EU: 63.8%).
  • The unemployment rate declined to 9.2% in 2005 (8.7% in the EU). The increase in employment rates has mainly benefited women (+15.4 percentage points between 1998 and 2005), but there is a clear need for further effort (the total female employment rate in 2005 stood at 51.2%, in the EU: 56.3%). With the employment rate of people aged 55-64 standing at 43.1%, Spain is marginally above the EU average (42.5%). However, the rate of employment for women aged 55-64 is substantially lower than the EU average (27.4% in Spain, 33.7% in the EU).
  • The labour market is highly segmented, with a fixed-term employment rate of 33.3% in the second quarter of 2005, affecting particularly women, young people and low-skilled workers. Low productivity growth and high inflation hamper competitiveness. The substantial growth in the Spanish economy and in employment in recent years has directly benefited the social security system.
  • The age structure of the population has changed significantly (with the number of people aged 65+ projected to grow from 17% in 2005 to 33.5% in 2050). The population increase, as a result of migration flows (more than 3 million people between 1998 and 2005), will play an important role in the sustainability of the system in the short and medium term.
  • The effective labour market exit age in 2005 was one of the highest in the EU: 62.2 years, 60.7 years EU average. Although economic growth has accelerated in recent years, there is no significant improvement in terms of the number of people at risk of poverty: 20% of the Spanish population was below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold in 2004 (16% in the EU).
  • Spain continues to be significantly below the EU average regarding social expenditure as a percentage of GDP (20% compared to 27.3% in the EU in 2004) and has one of the highest rates of early school leavers in the EU (30.8% in 2005, more than twice the EU average), particularly among men (36.4%, while the rate is much lower among women: 25%).
  • Life expectancy at birth (76.9 and 83.6 for males and females in 2003) is above the 2003 EU average showing a 2-year increase in the last decade (74.3 and 81.5 in 1995). Healthy life expectancy (66.8 and 70.2) is also above the EU average. The infant mortality rate (3.5 in 2004) is one of the EU's lowest, a decrease from 35.4 in 1960.

Priority objectives in the NAP

There are five main objectives in the Spanish Plan:

  • To promote access to employment: promote participation in the labour market and fight against poverty and social exclusion.
  • To guarantee minimum social resources
  • To achieve an equitable education system
  • To support the social integration of immigrants
  • To guarantee assistance for people in a situation of dependency

These main objectives are included in the NAP 2006 – 2008 (pages 12 – 22). Each objective is followed by the necessary measures to develop it.

Financial inclusion or micro-finance mention

Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2006 –2008

  • In this report Microcredit is considered as one of the measures among 16 to promote participation in labour market and fight against poverty and social exclusion.
  • in priority objectives : p.12 of the NAP

In Section 2.2.1. “To promote access to employment: promote participation in the labour market and fight against poverty and social exclusion.”

Measure 15. page 14 : ”Promote micro-credits and other funding mechanisms to enhance self-employment for people in a situation, or at risk, of social exclusion”.

National Action Plan on Social Inclusion 2003 – 2005

  • This Plan already considered micro-finance as a tool to establish active and preventative measures to help employed or inactive persons in a situation of or at risk of social exclusion,
  • page 14, 1.1.16: “To promote micro-credits and other lines of financing to promote the self-employment of people in a situation or at risk of exclusion”.

Major changes with previous reports

  • The Spanish report has improved its strategic character in relation to previous years. Its main aim is to combine and mutually reinforce economic convergence with employment, sustained growth and social welfare, taking into account the reduction of territorial disparities and the overall objective of preventing social exclusion.
  • The Agreement for the Improvement of Growth and Employment, signed last year by the Government and the social partners, introduces important measures to tackle the excessive segmentation of the labour market. It will certainly have positive effects in the short term, although diminishing the structural segmentation of the labour market will require sustained and comprehensive efforts.
  • The report on Strategies for Social Protection and Social Inclusion 2006 - 2008 foresees the modernisation and consolidation of the Spanish social model. In relation to social protection, the Government and the social partners signed in July 2006 an Agreement on Social Security Measures. The Agreement aims to modernise the system, while ensuring financial sustainability, as well as addressing adequacy and the contributions/benefits balance.

Preparation of the report

  • The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, through the Secretariat of State for Social Services, Family Affairs and Disability, has been the leader in this process, offering a more active and direct participation and coordination for all the stakeholders, whether public or private, including those directly affected, in the actions and planning favouring integration and social insertion.
  • With regard to participation by the third sector, the National Council of Social Action NGOs has boosted and given strategic support to NGOs as proactive agents for social inclusion. It has created a working group on social inclusion and employment which will participate in the National Action Plans for Social Inclusion, at the monitoring and evaluation levels, as well as proposing measures to be taken.
  • Collaboration and participation by public administrations, together with interadministrative coordination, has been achieved by:

Central government, via:

  • The Interministerial Commission on the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion, made up of representatives from the ministerial departments with competence in social inclusion (the Presidency, Labour and Social Affairs, Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Justice, Economy and Finance, Interior, Housing, Education and Science, Public Administrations, Health and Consumer Affairs, the Environment, Culture, and Industry, Tourism and Trade). They have participated both in the assessment of the previous NAP and the drawing up of the present one. Working meetings have also been held between the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the other ministerial departments involved.

The autonomous regions and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla, via:

  • The Special Commission for the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion (created within the Sectorial Conference for Social Affairs), in which there are representatives from the Ministries of Labour and Social Affairs, Housing, Health and Consumer Affairs, and Education and Science; the autonomous regions and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla; and the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP).

Local corporations, via:

  • The Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP) on the Special Commission for the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion.
  • In addition, the Working Group on Indicators for the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion includes representatives from the ministries involved, the National Statistics Institute (INE), the autonomous regions, and the Spanish Federation for Municipalities and Provinces.


  • In the Spanish policy of the NAP, self-employment has been considered as a tool to include socially people since long. Since the last 2 NAPS micro-credit is considered as a measure to promote access to employment.
  • Microcredit is not linked or considered in the NAP when dealing with the integration and support of immigrants. This could be an opportunity to demonstrate that most users of microcredit services are precisely immigrants.
  • Microcredit is a recent tool in Spain and from the Ministry of Labour and social affairs they still have very few statistics on successful experiences and results. Therefore, there is still little support from the government in this sense. For this reason an effort should be done to provide more statistical information and reports on good practices to the different actors intervening in the elaboration of the NAPs.
  • As the Ministry considered the experience of the micro-finance entities still poor, one of the consequences of the plan is to organise seminaries to enable these entities to share their experience and best practices. First one took place 19 and 20 of December 2006. The Ministry also supported the creation of the Spanish network of micro-finance.
  • To participate in the elaboration of the NAP, one can send its recommendation to the Ministry or might intervene through the already established network dealing with socially excluded issues such as EAPN, the National Council of Social Action NGO.

Contacts of interest

  • Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs:

Pilar Vicente: Head of The Service of Social Inclusion Programs, department in charge of the elaboration of the N.A.P. in Spain. Telephone: (+34) 913637489 Email:

  • National Council of Social Action NGOs ( Consejo estatal de ONG)

Secretary Telephone: +34 670 55 94 12 Mail: Web:

  • EAPN- Spain:

Secretary: Tel/Fax +34 925 257 921 email: web:

  • Spanish Red Cross:

Maica Sánchez: Assistant Manager of Social Inclusion Department, and in charge of the Employment Plan. Telephone: (+34) 913354462 Email:

  • Fundación Luis Vives:

José Manuel Fresno: Director of the Foundation Telephone: (+34) 915400878 Email: Website:

  • CECA (Spanish savings bank association), : coordinates the Spanish network of micro-finance.

Javier Úbeda: Telephone: (+34) 915 96 50 00 Website: