From 26 to 27 November 2014, more than 200 teacher union representatives from all over Europe convene in Vienna for ETUCE's first mid-term conference under the new structure. The Future of the Teaching Profession, which is the Leitmotif of the event and of the main conference resolution, promises interesting discussions. The debate is prompted and inspired by several honoured guest speakers, among them, Mr. Xavier Prats-Monné, Director General, DG EAC, Prof. Emeritus John MacBeath from Cambridge University, Dr. Riina Vuorikari, from the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission and Prof. Susan Lee Robertson from Bristol University.

A new study by the European Parliament on primary teacher training in Europe is now available on-line. The study assesses the state of initial teacher training, early career support and continuous professional development in Europe from the perspective of teachers and teacher educations in primary schools in Europe. The European Parliament's investigation takes into account the results of the ETUCE Mini-survey on the impact of the economic crisis on teacher education in the European Union (2012) and the EI/ETUCE Study on stress: the causes of stress for teachers, its effects, and suggested approaches to reduce it (2001).

ETUCE is together with EPSU, AK and ÖGB organising a training seminar on trade policy on the 15-16 January in Vienna. The focus of the training will be on the current trade negotiations, in particular TTIP, CETA and TiSA and the EU's trade policy. We will discuss how to challenge the liberalisation of education and other public services and better understand the problems of trade agreements for public services.

On Wednesday 6 November all Belgian teachers and educators affiliated to ETUCE member organisations ACOD-Onderwijs, Centrale Générale des Services Publics Enseignement, FGTB-CGSP; ACV-Openbare Diensten/CSC-Services publics, ACV-OD/ CSC-SP; Christelijke Onderwijscentrale, COC; Confédération des Syndicats Chrétiens de l'Enseignement, CSC-Enseignement; Syndicat Libre de la Fonction Publique-Vrij Syndicaat; together with all the other sectors and professions, demonstrated in Brussels to defend their working conditions, welfare state and purchasing power against austerity and the Belgian government's attacks.

The European Commission's autumn economic forecast was published on 4 November 2014. They project a very weak economic growth for the rest of the year and foresee a gradual strengthening of the economic activity in 2015. Indeed, the EU's recovery still lags behind. GDP growth in the EU is set to be very modest, while in the euro area it will almost stagnate. This is in contradiction with the expectations raised by the previous economic forecast in spring 2014, which projected a broad and self-sustaining economic recovery across Europe.

An Appeal from the European Higher Education and Research Unions to Defend Europe's Scientific, Humanities and Academic Potential (2014) was adopted by the ETUCE Committee on 13-14 October 2014. ETUCE member organisations with the membership from the higher education and research sector underlined that "higher education and research are under increasing threat because the European-level and national policies aim at focusing on the short-term objectives of research, particularly on innovation and technological transfer, as the only responses to the economic crisis."