The model of State adopted by the Spanish Constitution, which dates from 1978, is an original structure which combines a regional and a federal model, and is called a “State of Autonomies”. The distribution of powers between the Autonomous Communities (there are seventeen of them, in addition to the Autonomous Cities of Ceuta and Melilla) and the State is set out in the Constitution itself: culture is a decentralized matter, in its broadest terms conferred to the territorial entities, over which the State, however, continues to hold broad powers.
The Spanish Constitution expressly protects cultural and linguistic plurality.
In this context, cultural policies are established at the various instances. The Autonomous Communities, with their broad powers, have their own laws and action programs. All of these agree on highlighting the importance of cultural diversity, integration and respect for the various linguistic realities.
The local administration is the one which invests the most in culture. A part of the municipalities, particularly the largest ones, are adhered to the Culture Commission of the worldwide association United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). In the framework of this network, they have adopted the Agenda 21 for Culture, which aims to “promote culture as the fourth pillar of sustainable development”.
The State cultural policy, during this quadrennium, which has coincided with the term of a legislature, has been based on a document prepared in its initial months, the General Strategic Plan 2012-2015 of the State Secretariat for Culture. It is focused on "guaranteing the right of access to culture; contributing to supporting citizens and favoring social cohesion; encourage the participation and leading role of civil society in supporting and promoting culture; facilitate the creation, innovation and production of knowledge and promote culture online, safeguarding intellectual property rights".
Annual Operating Plans have been set up for compliance with these objectives, as have mechanisms for evaluation and monitoring.
At the level of international cooperation, the basis are established in the IV Master Plan of the Spanish Cooperation (2013-2016), which sees culture as being twofold: as a transversal priority and as a specific sector of cooperation. The sector framework document is the Spanish Cooperation Culture and Development Strategy, largely inspired by the 2005 CDC. Both of these documents conduct the Spanish cooperation as a whole.
The most active debate in recent years is, undoubtedly, al forms of digital comminication. In 2013 the Spanish Digital Agenda was presented, the product of the work of a number of agents involved, led by two Ministries.
Along the same lines, the State Secretariat for Culture organized the V Ibero-American Conference on Culture in 2013, under the topic "Digital Culture. Internet Culture". In this way, common ground was sought where deliberation could take place betwen those in charge of cultural policies and civil society representatives participating in political debates, as well as entrepreneurs, creators, philosophers and a broad spectrum of professionals.Their conclusions have given rise to subsequent works in the Ibero-American sphere, including the first approach to an Ibero-American Cultural Agenda, which transversally affects all IBER cultural matters and programs.