On 23 May 2018, The European Commission published its Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) which are part of the Spring package of the 2018 cycle of the European Semester. Addressed to the governments of each European Member State, the CSRs are the culmination point of the European Semester, as they express the voice of the European Commission regarding its assessment of Member States’ need for reform in order to ensure stability and growth and to reach the Europe 2020 strategy targets.

An ETUCE delegation led by Susan Flocken, European Director participated in the Paris Ministerial Meeting on 23-25 May where ministers for education from 48 European countries celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Magna Charta Universitatum and  the 20th anniversary of the Bologna Process.The Magna Charta Universitatum is a document that was signed by 388 rectors and heads of universities from across Europe and beyond in 1988, the 900th anniversary of the University of Bologna. It contains principles of academic freedom and institutional autonomy as a guideline for good governance and self-understanding of universities in the future.

ETUCE is deeply concerned about the implementation of the Bologna Process and the future of the European Higher Education Area. The Paris Communiqué, to be adopted by the Paris Ministerial Conference this Thursday, 24 May, will focus on ensuring ‘fundamental values’ such as freedom of expression, autonomy for institutions, academic freedom, independent students’ unions and free movement of students and staff remain integral to the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).

On 16 and 17 May 2018, the first case study for the identification of challenges, concrete ways and joint social partners’ initiatives to effectively integrate migrants and refugees in education took place in Madrid, Spain, organised with the support of the ETUCE member organisation FeSP-UGT, partner to the project “European Sectoral Social Partners in Education promoting effective integration of migrants and refugees in education”. The study delegation, including ETUCE and EFEE representatives, the research expert accompanying the project as well as a video-maker and one representative from the project advisory group in Denmark (DLF) had the opportunity to learn more about  good practices and challenges in the Spanish education system with regards to policies on inclusion and integration.

ETUCE is committed to strengthen the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people. In particular, ETUCE combats homophobia and transphobia in the education sector; that is at school, in education institutions and universities, and supports its member organisation in their activities in this field. As an education trade union, ETUCE focuses on supporting teachers and other education personnel including anti-discrimination and anti-bullying strategies for LGBTI students and their families. 

Addressing all aspects of gender equality in education and the teaching profession is essential, especially promoting gender equality through social dialogue and collective bargaining with a focus on increasing salaries and decent working conditions, concluded participants of the ETUCE Conference on “Enhancing gender equality in and through education” on 7-8 May 2018 in Baku, Azerbaijan.