The EU Fundamental Rights Agency organised a public hearing on early school leaving among Roma students on 4th June in Brussels. ETUCE contributed to the discussion and emphasised the need to combat anti-Gypsysism in the political discourse from a trade union perspective and to ensure high quality education for Roma children. It also suggested adopting measures to accommodate Roma students’ diversity and set challenging expectations based on the principle that quality education should fit the learner rather than requiring them to fit into an existing system.

In a world where violence, wars and diverse disasters force thousands of families to flee for their lives each day, the time is now to show that the education trade unions stand with refugees. On World Refugee Day, held every year on 20 June, we commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. This year, World Refugee Day marks a key moment for the public to show support for families who have been forced to flee from their homes.

Social dialogue promotion has been defined as a continuous task in the last work programs of the European education social partners. On 13 and 14 June 2018, the final conference of European Sectoral Social Partners in Education striving for sustainable influence on European education policy building through successful social dialogue, capacity building project III took place in Sofia. It wrapped up five years of national and European social dialogue capacity building activities which have brought the European and national social partners around a table in eighteen European countries and two EU-candidate countries.

On 11 April 2018, ETUCE/EI held a high-level conference entitled “A better copyright for quality higher education and research in Europe and beyond”. The conference was organised in partnership with the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE) and COMMUNIA (a non-governmental network of copyright advocates, researchers and experts), - with the financial support of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

During its 2018 spring meeting, the ETUCE Committee endorsed the initiative to introduce The Kounka Damianova Award, an award to be given every four years, during the ETUCE Special Conference, to an ETUCE union member for their outstanding engagement in trade union work in the field of education and the promotion of equality.The award is named after Ms. Kounka Damianova who led the International Department of the Bulgarian Teachers’ Union (SEB), ETUCE’s member organisation, for many years. Ms. Damianova unexpectedly passed on 4th August 2015.

The new EU General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR) has just entered into force. This will have an impact on students’ and teachers’ data protection as well as in the internal management and processing of data in the education trade unions. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and has been designed to harmonise data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organisations across data privacy protection.