published 20 November 2017 updated 27 November 2017


Meeting on SDG in Belgium

On 6 September, the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) attended the SDG Watch meeting in Brussels. Attendees shared stakeholders’ initiatives on SDG monitoring and indicators, and identified the main challenges and a possible common reaction to the forthcoming Eurostat indicator report on SDGs in Europe. They also discussed the development of the Multiannual Financial Framework of the European Union (EU) and the European Commission’s Reflection Paper, “The future of EU finances”.

While some positive developments were identified, such as the rebalancing of economic and social priorities in the EU agenda, issues such as sustainability, coherence, and performance-based budgeting are still controversial.

Paola Cammilli represented the ETUCE at the event.

ETUCE higher education and research standing committee solidarity with Turkish colleagues

On 12 September, the ETUCE Standing Committee for Higher Education and Research (HERSC) issued a support letter to Eğitim Sen’s members, Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça. The support letter was endorsed by the ETUCE Bureau on 13 September.

Academy of European Law’s training seminar on EU equality and anti-discrimination law in Germany

On 18-19 September, the ETUCE participated in an anti-discrimination law training seminar organised by the Academy of European Law in Trier.

Participants discussed recent legal developments on equality issues such as migration, LGBTI rights, gender equality, age, and disabilities. Participants also analysed EU case law and legislation; exchanged views on the legal implications of direct, indirect, and multiple discrimination based on different discrimination groups.

Eduardo Nadal represented the ETUCE at the event.

Council of Europe’s Conference on digital citizenship education and democracy in France

From 21-22 September, ETUCE participated in the Council of Europe (CoE) conference on “Digital Citizenship Education” in Strasbourg, France. Participants discussed information and communications technology (ICT) issues in education from a citizenship education perspective: democratic digitalisation, e-safety issues, digital inclusion, cyberbullying, and students’ digital responsibility.

In 2018, the CoE’s priority theme will be data protection and privacy, media literacy and cyberbullying.

Eduardo Nadal represented the ETUCE at the conference, and actively participated in the “Preparing Teachers for Digital Citizenship Education” workshop.

European Social Dialogue: working group meeting on VET apprenticeship in Belgium

On 25 September, the European sectoral social partners in education, the ETUCE, and the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE) met in Brussels during the annual European Sectoral Social Dialogue in Education (ESSDE) working group meeting.

Participants discussed vocational education and training (VET), apprenticeships, school development, and the European Semester on education and training. They also discussed recent policy developments with European Commission representatives. A draft joint ETUCE/EFEE Statement on improving VET in Europe was composed. It will be presented for adoption at the upcoming ESSDE plenary meeting on 23 November. It will also be distributed during an ETUCE-EFEE-EESC public hearing on the role of teachers, trainers and school leaders in improving the status of VET on 24 November, in Brussels, during the second European Vocational Skills Week.

This meeting was co-chaired by ETUCE European Director Susan Flocken, with Paola Cammilli representing the ETUCE at the event.

European Forum For Enhanced Collaboration in Teaching project in France

On 26 September, the ETUCE participated in a meeting of the consortium of partners for the European Forum for Enhanced Collaboration in Teaching (EFFECT) project in Paris.

Participants discussed the final draft of Teaching and Learning Principles for higher education institutions. ETUCE also presented a report on Teaching and Learning Enhancement prizes in European higher education institutions, prepared in collaboration with the University of Porto, Portugal.

Ekaterina Efimenko represented the ETUCE at the event.

ETUCE Central and Eastern European Network meeting in Latvia

On 27 September, ahead of the Central and Eastern European (CEE) Roundtable, the Central and Eastern European Network (CEENET) met in Riga. This meeting was a useful opportunity to integrate European perspectives into the national trade union work in the region.

The meeting was chaired by the ETUCE President, Christine Blower.

ETUCE Central and Eastern Europe Roundtable in Latvia

On 27-29 September, more than 80 education trade union representatives from CEE countries convened in Riga for the ETUCE CEE Roundtable. “Empowering Education Trade Unions to Tackle the Social Crisis” was the conference’s key theme.

Taking stock of today’s social crisis, participants discussed the challenges confronting quality education in the CEE region, such as budgetary cuts, growing privatisation trends, the teaching profession’s low status in CEE countries. These have led to increasing difficulties in recruiting and retaining young teachers in the profession, and created a need for union renewal. Participants agreed on a CEE Declaration tabled for endorsement in the ETUCE Committee meeting in October.

The meeting was chaired by the ETUCE President, Christine Blower, European Director Susan Flocken, and Vice-Presidents Branimir Strukelj and Trudy Kerperien.

Social partners’ consultation on the annual growth survey: education priorities

On 28 September, ahead of the social partners' consultations on the Annual Growth Survey (AGS) 2018, ETUCE issued a policy paper on the challenges and priorities for the education sector in the survey.

The paper also highlighted that education, employment, and social considerations were prioritised in the most recent European Semester cycles. However, the paper warned against the dominance of the economic narrative over broad education policy objectives in the European Semester context. The paper also integrated the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) position on growth and social progress.

Social partners’ Liaison Forum meeting in Belgium

On 2 October, the Liaison Forum meeting for European social dialogue was organised in the European Commission. European social partners from all sectors exchanged the latest developments in social dialogue at European level. They also met with European Commission representatives and provided feedback on recent initiatives. The meeting focused on the latest actions of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU OSHA) and the role European social partners can play in raising awareness about these actions.

Marie Raverdeau represented the ETUCE at the event.

ETUCE Equality working group meeting in Belgium

On 4 October, the ETUCE Equality working group met in Brussels to prepare for the next Standing Committee for Equality meeting and the ETUCE Special Conference in 2018. The input from the European region to the 3rd EI World Women’s Conference was also discussed.

The ETUCE European Director, Susan Flocken, attended the meeting, along with Eduardo Nadal and Ekaterina Efimenko.

European Economic Governance’s seminar in Belgium

On 10 October, in Brussels, the ETUCE presented the actions of education trade unions as an example of best practice at a seminar organised by the European Commission’s Directorate General (DG) for Economic and Financial Affairs and the DG for Employment and Social Affairs. The seminar focused on trade unions’ involvement in the European Semester.

The ETUCE contribution raised awareness of the European Semester’s impact on education and training policy and public investment levels. National confederations of trade unions attending the event learned about the EU initiative to rebalance social and economic priorities – this will be done by the forthcoming European Pillar of Social Rights and by integrating a Social Scoreboard in the European Semester policy coordination mechanism.

Paola Cammilli represented the ETUCE at the event.

European Social Dialogue’s roundtable in The Netherlands

On 11 October, the joint European social partnership project on social dialogue capacity building III brought the Dutch ETUCE member organisations and representatives from the Dutch education employers’ organisations together around a table in Utrecht. The social dialogue roundtable was jointly organised by ETUCE and EFEE, together with the project partner and event organiser, Algemene Onderwijsbond(AOb).

The education social partners discussed their possible contribution to educational equity and making lifelong learning a reality. The representative from the ETUCE member organisation in Romania,the Fédération des Syndicats Libres de l'Enseignement FSLE, informed Dutch social partners about the status of social dialogue in Romania.

Susan Flocken, the ETUCE European Director, co-chaired the meeting, with Paola Cammilli and Marie Raverdeau also in attendance.

EIGE Gender Equality Index launch conference

On 11 October, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) launched its report on Gender Equality Index 2017. The Index measures gender gaps between women and men in various areas of life, such as work, money, knowledge, time, power, and health. The report shows that girls and women in Europe are still exposed to obstacles during the educational cycle, which influences their careers and positions in the labour market.

Ekaterina Efimenko attended the conference on behalf of ETUCE.

ETUC Permanent Committee on Migration, Mobility and Inclusion meeting in Belgium

On 12 October, ETUCE participated in the ETUC Committee on Migration in Belgium. Participants discussed the ETUC “Mid-term assessment of the medium-term strategy of the ETUC on migration, asylum and inclusion”, as well as the latest development of the ‘Labour-INT’ project in which ETUCE is a partner.

Contributions from different trade unions on the EU public consultation on legal migration were mentioned, including ETUCE guidelines. The ETUC also presented “The European partnership for integration of refugees into the labour market”, which ETUCE is following up.

Eduardo Nadal attended the meeting on behalf of ETUCE.

ETUC Economic Committee meeting in Belgium

On 12 October, ETUCE attended the ETUC Economic Committee. The main points of discussion concerned the preparation of the yearly Macro Economic Dialogue (MED) between the social partners, i.e. the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Commission, the Presidency of the European Council, and of the Juncker Investment Plan and its developments to foster investments across Europe. Participants also discussed the Economic Outlook for Europe and the deepening of the European Monetary Union.

Paola Cammilli attended the Committee on behalf of the ETUCE.

Seminar on the education of refugee children in the Middle East in Belgium

On 12 October, ETUCE attended a seminar hosted by the Socialists and Democrats group in the European Parliament on the education of refugee children. Speakers from organisations such as the European Commission, UNESCO, and the UN Relief and Works Agency focused on the challenges of integrating refugees into education systems. Participants also highlighted the need to increase the EU aid budget to eight per cent of the total budget, and using some of this to help fund refugee education.

Jawad Khan attended the seminar on behalf of ETUCE.

Educational Institute of Scotland-ETUCE training workshop in Belgium

From 17-18 October, the ETUCE welcomed in Brussels a delegation from its member organisation, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), led by Susan Quinn, Secretary of Glasgow Local Association, and EIS International Area Officer Pauline Buchanan.

During a jointly organised training seminar, the ETUCE presented its work on preventing and combatting racism, xenophobia and discrimination. A short session on how to effectively organise and campaign around equality was also delivered.

The ETUCE European Director, Susan Flocken, welcomed the EIS delegation, supported by the ETUCE’s Eduardo Nadal.

ETUCE Education Advisory Panel meeting in Belgium

The ETUCE Advisory Panel meeting took place on 19 October in Brussels to discuss EU policy developments on areas including school development, financing education, graduate tracking, integration of migrants and refugees, and Brexit.

Odile Cordelier, the ETUCE Vice-president, chaired the meeting, with contributions from the ETUCE European Director, Susan Flocken, and Agnes Roman and Ekaterina Efimenko.

ETUCE Status of Women Committee meeting in Belgium

On 23 October, ahead of the ETUCE Committee meeting, the ETUCE Status of Women Committee gathered in Brussels to advise the ETUCE Committee on gender equality issues and discuss how to strengthen the topic of gender equality within the ETUCE work.

The ETUCE European Director, Susan Flocken, and Ekaterina Efimenko participated in the meeting.

ETUCE Committee Autumn meeting in Belgium

The ETUCE Committee gathered in Brussels from 23-24 October to discuss recent policy developments and to adopt ETUCE statements and positions.

The Committee adopted the ETUCE positions on the European Commission’s Initiative on school development and excellent teaching for a great start in life, its views on a Proposal for a Council Recommendation on Tracking Graduates, its views on the Commission’s communication on a renewed EU agenda for higher education, and the ETUCE Statement on digitalisation, employability and inclusiveness.

The Committee also adopted the ETUCE Statement on the 30th Anniversary of the Erasmus exchange programme and the ETUCE Statement on Brexit, and discussed the forthcoming proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The ETUCE President, Christine Blower, chaired the meeting.