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."

The Women's Committee of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) took place in Brussels on 30 and 31 October 2014. The discussion focused on achieving a gender balanced composition of the ETUC statutory bodies.  The members of the ETUC Women's Committee strongly welcomed the adoption of the ETUC Road Map on this issue, which seeks to make gender equality a reality and to ensure that the numbers of the ETUC Secretariat members of either gender are equal.

Today, on 5 November 2014, European sectoral social partners in education ETUCE and EFEE, and European cross-sectoral social partners (ETUC, BusinessEurope, UAEPME, CEEP) discussed with the Education Committee of the Council of the European Union on the economic case for education and training in the context of the mid-term revision of the EU2020 Strategy. The social partners and the representatives of the ministries of education welcomed the initiative of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union of inviting the European-level social partner organisations to explain their views on investing in education.