On Thursday 17th November 2016, the Civil Liberties Committee MEPs voted a non-legislative resolution on fundamental rights in the EU, which was passed by the Parliament in December. The resolution was drafted by József Nagy (EPP, SK), and addresses fundamental rights challenges in the EU in 2015, focusing on issues related to migration, children protection and the online environment. Commenting on the resolution, Mr. Nagy declared: “We call on the EU and its member states to provide more help to those in need, show more understanding towards minorities and ensure that institutions work fairly”.

On 19 December 2016, ETUCE member organisations in Albania, the Trade Union Federation of Education and Science of Albania (FSASH) and Independent Trade Union of Education of Albania (SPASH-ITUEA), met at the negotiating table with the Albanian Minister of Education and Sports, Ms Lindita Nikolla. Prior to the meeting, the unions had jointly organised a  protest action in front of the Ministry of Education and Sports on 16 December 2016. The protest actions gathered hundreds of teachers and education personnel.

In January 2017, ETUCE has kicked off a new project focusing on social dialogue capacity building: ”European Sectoral Social Partners in Education striving for sustainable influence on European education policy building through successful social dialogue. The ESSDE capacity building project III.” The project continues the work of the sectoral social partners on the improvement of their social dialogue and towards stronger and more effective results at European level, which could better serve the member organisations at national level.

On 6 December 2016, the OECD published the results of the PISA 2015 (The Programme for International Student Assessment) in two volumes: Excellence and Equity in Education and Policies and Practices for Successful Schools. OECD tested the competencies of around 540,000 15-year-old students in 72 countries in reading, mathematics, science and collaborative problem-solving, with a special focus on science. The report also contains policy recommendations which include tackling gender stereotypes and providing additional support for children of disadvantaged backgrounds.

At the ETUCE Regional Conference in Belgrade, Serbia, 6-8 December 2016, the European Education Trade Union movement kicked off new policies for empowering education trade unions as key for quality education. 350 education trade union delegates from 131 national education trade unions at all levels of education from 48 European countries debated and voted on a new Work Programme 2017-2020 and several resolutions, to face the challenges education personnel is confronted with in current times.

The European Commission has started in 2015 several consultations with social partners and other stakeholders on the new initiative ‘European Pillar of Social Rights’. Together with several European Trade Union Federations, ETUCE supports the ETUC view and demands regarding this initiative. The ‘Social Rights First!’ action aims at changing the direction of the EU, to make sure that the European Commission’s forthcoming proposals on the European Pillar of Social Rights meet the needs of workers, their families and communities.