On 17 January 2017, the Education and Science Trade Union of Moldova (ESTUFM) together with ETUCE’s call on the Moldovan Government to support ESTUFM’s demands, achieved the relaunch of negotiations. The ETUCE member organisation had gathered hundreds of people in a picketing action in Chisinau. The demonstrators expressed their dissatisfaction with poor working conditions and demanded the Moldovan Government to increase salaries of scientific researchers and other non-teaching staff at ell education levels to the national minimum wage and to raise school and university teachers’ salaries by 50%.

Eurydice has recently published an article reporting on good practices in Sweden regarding the integration of migrants into the Swedish labour market. Since Autumn 2016, five Swedish universities have started offering a new course for newly-arrived teachers and preschool teachers. The Swedish government launched this initiative to help new migrants with professional qualifications from their home countries integrate into the labour market in their host country, and obtain jobs in sectors where there is currently a shortage of workers.

On 16-17 January, the fourth and last training seminar of the project “Investing in Education: Strengthening the involvement of teacher trade unions in the European Semester on education and training” was carried out. Organised with the support of the ETUCE project partner in Slovenia, ESTUS, the Education and Science Trade Union of Slovenia and DLF, the Danish Union of Teachers, the Seminar gathered representatives from ETUCE member organisations in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Denmark, Montenegro, Serbia, Romania, Slovenia and the UK in Ljubljana, Slovenia, to discuss economic governance coordination mechanisms (European Semester) on education and training in Europe. The meeting was chaired by the President of ETUCE, Christine Blower.

Teacher unions have, in many countries, been at the forefront of advocacy and demanding space and time in the curriculum to deal with of values, democracy, citizenship, as well as climate change and developing their critical thinking capacity. In 2015 Education Ministries from the EU endorsed the Paris declaration reinforcing: “The fundamental values that lie at the heart of the EU are respect for human dignity and freedom (including freedom of expression), democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.”

I am pleased and honoured to present the work programme for 2017 to 2020. Let me thank you: the ETUCE Committee, the ETUCE Bureau, the member organisations and you, Fred, for your trust, confidence and the support for me as the new ETUCE European Director.

At the end of November 2016, at the Kiev Plenary Session of Trade Union of Education and Science Workers of Ukraine (TUESWU), a new Sectoral Agreement with Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine was signed for 2016-2020. The document was signed by Georgiy Trukhanov, President of TUESWU, and Lilia Grinevich, Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, during a grand ceremony.