Towards an effective involvement of education trade unions in the European Semester


Towards an effective involvement of education trade unions in the European Semester 

ETUCE has put at member organisations’ disposal the 2023 updated version of the Toolbox on Effective Involvement of Education Trade Unions in the European Semester on Education and Training, helping Education trade unions grasp the aims and functioning of the European Semester to further engage and co-shape education related policies. 

 The European Semester was initiated in the aftermath of the Eurozone crisis, in 2011. It is defined as the ‘European Union’s framework for the coordination and surveillance of economic and social policies. Each Semester cycle opens with the publication of the ‘Autumn Package’, including the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy, the Joint Employment Report and the Social Scoreboard, then followed by the Education and Training Monitor (ETM). The ETM has particular relevance to education trade unions since it presents an analysis of how education and training systems evolve across Europe. It is in ETUCE member organisations’ interest to engage at national level in the elaboration of the National Reform and Stability Convergence Programs which set out their respective yearly economic and fiscal plans, before they publish it in April, so that Social Partners’ concerns are taken into account.  

During the second phase of the Semester, it is essential for education trade unions to engage in talks with their national governments and the European Commission on the Country Specific Recommendations (CSR) and the Country Reports. The CSRs set out what reforms and measures the European Commission require Member States to put in place within the following year. On the other hand, Country Reports give an assessment of progress made by each country on a variety of economic and social indicators, including the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. Keeping that in mind, the Semester constitutes a crucial opportunity for member organisations to contribute to designing reforms and investments. The ETUCE Toolkit helps education trade unions to have a more tangible impact on shaping public investment, by making the case for increased public investment for quality education and influencing education-related recommendations as well as the national Recovery and Resilience Plans. 

ETUCE encourages its member organisation to develop close relationships with the European Commission’s Semester Officer (in charge of organising consultation with local stakeholders) and the Desk Officer representing the directorate-General for Education and Culture (DG EAC), so to ensure that education trade unions’ voice is duly considered during the European Semester cycle.