After the employees in primary and secondary schools in Serbia had been almost three months on strike, an Agreement has been struck between the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development and two teacher unions, the Teacher Union of Serbia (TUS) and Nezavisnost (NTTU), who are representatives for the sector and members of ETUCE/Education International. The Agreement of Solving Disputes and Collective Agreement for Primary and Secondary Schools and Students' Dormitories are also to be signed by two other unions that participated in the strike, following the decision of their boards foreseen for 18 February 2015 on the day of re-opening of schools.

The 8th round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations took place from 2 to 6 February 2015 in Brussels. This is the first round of negotiations after the so-called fresh start of the TTIP negotiations, in which the EU and the US reaffirmed their commitment to the negotiations. On 4 February 2015, ETUCE participated in the two stakeholder events organised by the European Commission. During the TTIP stakeholder presentation event, ETUCE demanded to explicitly carve-out education from the negotiations as have been done for the audio-visual sector based on the public interest in preserving and promoting cultural and linguistic diversity.

The European Commission (EC) has published a Joint Statement on the "International Day against Female Genital Mutilation" and is committed to end this practice. In the EU still 500,000 victims suffer under Genital Mutilation. The EC declares that this practice is a violation of human and children rights, and states that no tradition or culture can justify violence against women. In order to support the fight against Genital Mutilation the EC will provide another 4.5 million euro for the work at the "grassroots" level.

The weeklong strike in Macedonia has ended. SONK has called off the strike as the Education Ministry has promised not to implement the monetary punishment of teachers if they failed the external evaluation. This was a main demand and was discussed in the meeting last week between European Director Martin Rømer and the Education Minister. Since then communication have been in place and SONK and ETUCE insisted that this element in the new laws on education should be removed.

The European Semester has become an important tool for recommendations to Member States on education and training. Yearly, these recommendations contribute to education and training reforms at national level. The Annual Growth Survey 2015 is a communication from the European Commission to the Member States which kicks off the European Semester 2015 (the annual cycle of economic governance).

On 1 January 2015, Latvia took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The main strategic objectives of the Latvian Presidency are the following: Competitive Europe: To work on the Investment Plan for Europe; continue the work on strengthening the Single Market; launch discussions and start working on the Energy Union; promote industrial competitiveness.