The Economic and Social Council is a unique type of institution in terms of its membership structure. It is characterised by real representation of the three main groups of civil society organisations – employers’ group, employees’ group and various interests’ group. The Council is the unique national body that brings them together at a common forum. These three groups of organisations are united on the basis of the principle of equal treatment, while they have equal quotas in the plenary session.
The plenary session comprises a President and 36 members, which are organised in three groups of 12 members as per representation. These are the employers’ group, employees’ group and various interests’ group.
A member of the Council is also its President, which is elected by the National Assembly on a proposal from the Council of Ministers and after his nomination has been agreed with all the organisations as represented at the ESC.
The members of the plenary session have a 4 years’ term of office.
The session adopts decisions for approval of opinions, analyses and resolutions elaborated by the standing commissions to the Council.
The session adopts opinions on bills, national plans and programmes of the Council of Ministers; on acts of the National Assembly; on strategic issues of the economic and social policy as well as on annual memorandums for economic and social development of this country. The plenary session may also adopt analyses on topics of social significance. The session also adopts resolutions on current issues of the economic and social policy and of the civil society.
The opinions are elaborated and adopted at the request of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Chairman of the National Assembly and of the Council of Ministers. The ESC also elaborates own-initiative documents when approached by at least one-third of its members, by the standing commissions, by the President of the Council of by the ESC’s Presidents Board.
The opinions of the Council are adopted by an open vote and by a majority of not less than 3/4 of the members present at the plenary session.
The sittings of the plenary session are public sittings, while in certain cases the plenary session may decide to hold a sitting in camera.