European Commission’s Spring Package 2024 Highlights the Crucial Role of Education but Neglects Teachers' Professional Issues


The European Commission's Spring Package 2024 emphasizes the vital role of education in the EU's socio-economic landscape but overlooks crucial issues affecting teachers' professional well-being and working conditions. ETUCE is concerned that this narrow focus on education's economic benefits neglects the essential needs of teachers, who are the backbone of the education system. 

On 19 June, the European Commission published the European Semester's Spring Package 2024. The package, which includes the general Commission Communication, the Country Reports, and the Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs), provides essential insights into the European Union's economic and social priorities for the coming year. 

In this year's Spring Package, the Commission places significant emphasis on education, underlining its critical role across various Country Reports and Country Specific Recommendations addressed to all Member States. This renewed focus on education is a positive step. However, ETUCE is concerned because the Commission’s acknowledgment of education remains limited to its role as a pivotal element for enhancing labor market activation and skills development. 

The Commission Communication indeed states, “improving educational outcomes and skills development is essential for the EU’s productivity and competitiveness,” thus ignoring the pedagogical function of quality and inclusive education. Similarly, particular attention is given to higher education only in light of its relevance to labor market needs, aligning educational outcomes with economic demands. 

Despite this emphasis on education, the Spring Package 2024 raises concerns also due to the minimal references to professional issues and the working conditions of teachers. ETUCE finds this aspect troubling, as professional well-being and good working conditions are crucial for sustaining high-quality education systems. The focus on education as merely a tool for labor market activation overlooks the essential need to address the professional and working conditions of teachers, who are the backbone of the educational system. 

The next key step in the EU economic governance cycle is represented by the medium-term fiscal-structural plans that Member States will have to submit to the European Commission by 20 September. These fiscal-structural plans, in line with the reformed Stability and Growth Pact, will set the trajectory for net expenditure growth and fiscal prudence, impacting investment capacities in education. It is imperative to ensure these plans do not compromise the quality and accessibility of education or the working conditions of education personnel. 

ETUCE remains committed to advocating for quality education and ensuring that the vital role of teachers and their working conditions are not overshadowed by broader economic objectives.