Spanish government departments

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The Spanish government departments, commonly known as Ministries, are the main bodies through which the Government of Spain exercise its executive authority. They are also the top level of the General State Administration. The ministerial departments and their organization are created by the Prime Minister and all of them are headed by a Cabinet member called Minister.

Although the main organization is established by the Premier, the Ministers have autonomy to organize its own department and to appoint the high-ranking officials of the ministries. It includes the possibility of ministers without portfolio, which are minister-level officials entrusted with an specific task and that do not head a department.

There are currently 22 ministerial departments.


The Ministers or Government Ministers (historically Ministers of the Crown) are, after the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Ministers, the highest officials of the State Administration and together they form the Government of the Nation, which main decision-making-body is the Council of Ministers.

Appointment and dismissal[edit]

The ministers are appointed and dismissed by the Monarch at the proposal of the President of the Government.[1]

Both appointment and dismissal, to be effective, must to be published at the Official State Gazette, although exists some specific cases, previous to the approval of the 1997 Government Act, which dismissal was not published. Those cases are Manuel Gutiérrez Mellado, minister without portfolio between 1976 and 1977 and Francisco Fernández Ordóñez, Minister of Justice from 1980 to 1981.[2]

Unlike the portfolio ministers, the dismissal of ministers without portfolio entails the extinction of all the ministerial structure that supports it.


According to the Government Act, the ministers, as heads of their departments, have competence and responsibility in the specific sphere of their actions, and they are responsible for exercising the following functions:[1]

  • To develop the action of the Government within the scope of its department, in accordance with the agreements adopted in the Council of Ministers or with the orders of the Prime Minister.
  • To exercise the regulatory power in the matters specific to his department.
  • To exercise the powers attributed to them by laws, the rules of organization and functioning of the Government and any other norm.
  • To countersign, when necessary, the acts of the Sovereign in the sphere of its responsibilities.

The ministers, as members of the Government, meet in the following collective bodies:


The substitution of the ministers must be determined by a Royal Decree of the Prime Minister, and always has to fall on another member of the Government. The Royal Decree must express the cause and character of the substitution.[1]

The only substitution that has taken place since the entry into force of the 1997 Government Act has been that of the Minister of Defense in May 2008. Minister Carme Chacón used her right to maternity leave and her responsibilities were temporary assumed by the Interior Minister, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba.[3]

Minister without portfolio[edit]

These have been the ministers without portfolio that have existed since the transition to democracy:[2]

Portfolio Name and term
Deputy Minister for the Regions
Deputy Minister for Relations with the Cortes
Minister for Relations with the European Communities
Minister attached to the Prime Minister
Deputy Minister for Public Administration
Deputy Minister for Legislative Coordination
Minister-Spokesperson of the Government

Internal organization[edit]

Ministries may have Secretariats of State and, exceptionally, General Secretariats (with rank of undersecretariat) for the management of a sector of administrative activity. The executive bodies that are assigned to them are hierarchically dependent on them. The ministries have, in any case, an Undersecretariat and, depending on it, a General Technical Secretariat for the management of common services (HR, budget, assets, websites, security...).

On the other hand are the Directorates-General, which are the management bodies of one or several functionally homogeneous areas. The directorates-general are organized in deputy directorates-general for the management of the competences entrusted to it. However, deputy directorates-general may be directly attached to other higher level management bodies or to higher bodies of the ministry.[6]

Creation, modification and suppression[edit]

Before of the approval of the 1997 Government Act, the Ministries and Secretariats of State had to be created by law, normally by a direct law passed by the Government in the form of Royal Decree-Law. After, the Government Act allowed the Prime Minister to approve a Royal Decree  (secondary legislation) designing the government structure.

Currently, the Prime Minister only creates the Ministries and some of the highest bodies (like secretariats of State and Undersecretariats) while the principal internal organization is delegated into the ministers, which develop the structure of the bodies created by the Premier or create new ones. The order of the Minister is also a royal decree signed the Monarch and countersigned by the minister responsible for the public administration at the proposal of the competent minister.

The lowest bodies such as deputy directorates-general are created by a Ministerial Order (ranked below the royal decree) of the competent minister.[6]


The ministers are the superior heads of the department and direct hierarchical superiors of the secretaries of State. The executive bodies depend on the previous ones and they are hierarchically ordered among themselves in the following way: undersecretary, director general and deputy director general. The general secretaries have the rank of undersecretary and the technical general secretaries have the rank of director general.

Ministerial hierarchy:[6]

  • Minister.
    • Secretaries of State.
      • Undersecretaries and General Secretaries.
        • Directors general and technical general secretaries.
          • Deputy directors general.

Current ministries[edit]

On 13 January 2020, Prime Minister Sánchez announced his ministers which assumed their offices that day.[7]

Logo Portfolio Minister First creation Current name Address Budget (2019) Website
Logotipo del Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Unión Europea y Cooperación.svg Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation
1714 2018 1 Province Square, Madrid €1,846 million
María Aránzazu González Laya
Logotipo del Ministerio de Justicia.svg Justice
1714 1931 45 San Bernardo Street, Madrid €1,882 million
Juan Carlos Campo Moreno
Logotipo del Ministerio de Defensa.svg Defence
1705 1977 109 Paseo de la Castellana, Madrid €10,200 million
Margarita Robles Fernández
Logotipo del Ministerio de Hacienda.svg Finance
1705 1851 5 Alcalá Street, Madrid €21,358 million
María Jesús Montero
Logotipo del Ministerio del Interior.svg Interior
1812 1977 7 Amador de los Ríos Street, Madrid €8,636 million
Fernando Grande-Marlaska
Logotipo del Ministerio de Transportes, Movilidad y Agenda Urbana.svg Transports, Mobility and Urban Agenda 1832 2020 67 Paseo de la Castellana, Madrid €6,447 million
José Luis Ábalos Meco
Logotipo del Ministerio de Educación y Formación Profesional.svg Education and Vocational Training
1900 2018 34 Alcalá Street, Madrid €2,380 million
María Isabel Celaá Diéguez
Logotipo del Ministerio de Trabajo y Economía Social.svg Labour and Social Economy
1920 2020 63 Paseo de la Castellana, Madrid €52,242 million
Yolanda Díaz
Logotipo del Ministerio de Industria, Comercio y Turismo.svg Industry, Trade and Tourism
1933 1991 160 Paseo de la Castellana, Madrid €2,893 million
María Reyes Maroto Illera
Logotipo del Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación.svg Agriculture, Fisheries and Food
1900 1981 1 Paseo de la Infanta Isabel, Madrid €8,115 million
Luis Planas
Logotipo del Ministerio de la Presidencia, Relaciones con las Cortes y Memoria democrática.svg Presidency, Relations with the Cortes and Democratic Memory
1951 2020 Puerta de Hierro Avenue, Madrid € 614 million
María del Carmen Calvo Poyato
Logotipo del Ministerio de Política Territorial y Función Pública.svg Territorial Policy and Civil Service
1979 2018 3 Paseo de la Castellana, Madrid €2,221 million
Carolina Darias
Logotipo del Ministerio para la Transición Ecológica y el Reto Demográfico.svg Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge
1996 2020 San Juan de la Cruz Square, Madrid €7,026 million
Teresa Ribera
Logotipo del Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte.svg Culture and Sport
1977 2018 1 King's Square, Madrid €1,270 million
José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes
Logotipo del Ministerio de Asuntos Económicos y Transformación Digital.svg Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation
1928 2020 162 Paseo de la Castellana, Madrid €5,406 million
Nadia María Calviño Santamaria
Logotipo del Ministerio de Sanidad.svg Health
1936 1936 18 Paseo del Prado, Madrid €2,392 million
Salvador Illa
Logotipo del Ministerio de Derechos Sociales y Agenda 2030.svg Social Rights and 2030 Agenda 1988 2020 18 Paseo del Prado, Madrid
Pablo Iglesias Turrión
Logotipo del Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación.svg Science and Innovation
1979 2008 162 Paseo de la Castellana, Madrid €6,912 million
Pedro Francisco Duque
Logotipo del Ministerio de Igualdad.svg Equality
2020 2020 37 Alcalá Street, Madrid
Irene Montero
Logotipo del Ministerio de Consumo.svg Consumer Affairs
2020 2020 Madrid
Alberto Garzón
Logotipo del Ministerio de Inclusión, Seguridad Social y Migraciones.svg Inclusion, Social Security and Migration
2020 2020 63 Paseo de la Castellana, Madrid
José Luis Escrivá Belmonte
Logotipo del Ministerio de Universidades.svg Universities
1979 2020 Madrid
Manuel Castells Oliván


  1. ^ a b c "1991 Government Act". Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  2. ^ a b "Urquijo Goitia, José Ramón. «Relación Cronológica de Gabinetes»". Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  3. ^ Burnett, Victoria (2008-05-20). "Spanish defense minister begins maternity leave". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  4. ^ "Royal Decree 561/2000, of April 27, by which Government Ministers are appointed". Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  5. ^ "Royal Decree 776/2002, of July 26, by which the organic structure of the Ministry of the Presidency is modified". Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  6. ^ a b c "2015 Legal Regime of the Public Sector Act". Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  7. ^ Minder, Raphael (2018-06-06). "Spain's New Leader Forms Government With Almost Two-Thirds Women". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-05-16.