The members of the ETUCE Committee convened on 18 to 19 March 2015, situated between the ETUCE mid-term conference and in the run-up to the EI World Congress. Welcoming the new Committee members Lies Van Rompaey, COC Belgium and Claudio Franchi, CGIL, Italy, ETUCE President, Christine Blower, greeted also the new members from Central Asia Maira Amantayeva, Kazakhstan, Nozakova Zulkhiya Zagirdavlatovna, Tajikistan and Asylbek Toktogulov, Kyrgyzstan. She highlighted especially the rotation regarding the Cypriot country seat from Shener Hassan Elcil to Constantinos Constantinou, POED, which marks the commitment of the Cypriot teacher unions to union solidarity in an otherwise politically divided country.

Delegates from ETUCE member organisations meet every year, to discuss important equal opportunity issues. At this year's Standing Committee meeting, the topic "Social Dialogue and Equal Opportunities" was discussed extensively. Speakers at the event were Yamile Socolovsky, from the Latin American Women's Network, who presented their work on increasing women's participation in trade unions and on supporting women's rights. Furthermore, Jorge Cabrita, a researcher from the research centre Eurofound, presented a report on social partners and gender equality in Europe.

The report published by ISMU (Iniziative e Studi sulla Multietnicità) argues that economic growth in the European Union depends on migration from third states. Due to demographic developments – the ageing population - the labour market depends on workforce from non-European countries. From this perspective, integration strategies are analysed, the results show, among other things, that the skills from many migrants are not sufficiently valued. The reasons for this are diverse – from misguided policies to the raising xenophobia in Europe – migrants are often not given any opportunity.

Due to the ageing population, the number of people with disabilities is growing – until today 80 million people in Europe have disabilities. In order to support these people the European Union aims to renew the commitment on the protection of rights of persons with disabilities. The commitment is based on the UN Disability Convention, which defines minimum standards for the protection for affected persons. The European Union has signed the convention in February 2011 and until today most of the European member states have joined the convention and are obligated to ratify it.

"Investing in growth and creating jobs: stepping up the contribution of the social partners" was the promising theme of the tripartite social summit which took place in the morning of 19 March 2015 just before the start of the European Council spring meeting 2015. It was the first Tripartite Social Summit within the mandate of the Juncker-Commission. It also came just shortly after the High Level Conference on social dialogue which the European Commission (EC) hosted in order to discuss the eagerly awaited so-called new start of social dialogue.

ETUCE is member of the European Policy Network of School Leadership (EPNoSL), which has recently published its Toolkit on School Leadership. The "School Leadership Toolkit for equity and learning" was designed to provide policy makers, school authorities, schools, researchers and teacher training institutes with the tools to reflect upon, identify challenges and prioritize areas for policy action to support and enhance school leadership for equity and learning.