On 26 November, the European Commission has announced the Investment Plan for Europe, which is foreseen to boost investments in support of jobs and growth. The Plan will be endorsed by the European leaders during their meeting in Brussels next 18-19 December 2014. The Plan is the outcome of an established partnership between the European Commission and the European Investment Bank. It intends to mobilise €315 billion in additional investments over the next three years, maximising the impact of public resources and unlocking private investments. It also identifies targeted initiatives to make sure that investment finance reaches the real economy in the field of infrastructures: broadband and energy networks, transport, education, research and innovation, renewable energy and efficiency.

Teacher trade unions in Europe support the aim of the European High Level Conference Education in the Digital Era to improve education via digital tools. Together with the Italian Presidency, the European Commission invited high level representatives from European Education Ministries and other stakeholders in education to discuss education in the digital era. The conference, which took place in Brussels on December 11, evolved around three topics: Increasing the quality and relevance of learning, increasing the Impact of educators and addressing inequalities through better access and lower costs.

The new National Sheets on Education Budgets in Europe: 2014 reveal that 2 out of 3 countries/regions in Europe are increasing their education budget for 2014 by more than 1 % at current prices. Conversely, 7 countries decreased their budgets by more than 1 %. Budgets coming from national, regional, local and EU level are considered. It should be noted, however, that not all budget levels are covered in all countries. Even if the statistics reveal that the education budgets are increasing, the second reading is that the budget differences between the countries are bigger and deeper.

A recent article in the Brussels Times analyses the main issues at stake in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) such as the secrecy of the negotiations, ISDS (investor-state dispute settlement) and the consequences on growth and employment. The consequences on education, health and public services are also outlined in the article. Explaining the consequences for the education sector the article quotes the common letter by Education International, ETUCE, AFT and NEA sent in June 2014 to both presidents of the US and of the European Commission:

Welcoming the participants to ETUCE's first Special Conference on 26-27 November 2014 in Vienna on The Future of the Teaching Profession, the ETUCE President Christine Blower reflected on what education and teachers' work will be like in future taking reference in today's world that is already constantly online. EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen outlined the potential consequences when children fall through the cracks of society because of insufficient education and touched on the challenges confronting quality education, such as austerity measures, privatisation and de-professionalisation. Framing the conference theme, the European Director Martin Rømer highlighted the challenges of rapid developments in ICT, the decreasing investment in education and with a view to initiate the discussions, provocatively questioned the participants whether teacher unions can match governments and private providers in the discussions on innovation in education and whether teacher unions will in future be an attractive partner for debate on this topic.

In October 2014 DG ECFIN and DG TAXUD published the annual report on Tax Reforms in Member States which evaluates key tax reforms implemented in member states, and identifies the present taxation policy challenges. Overall, the report shows that member states have increased the tax burden in the past years as a part of fiscal consolidation policies, but it is anticipated that the tax burden will stabilize in 2014. In the first part of 2014 most member states decreased the tax burden on labour, especially for low income workers, but increased consumption taxes such as the VAT. In general, environmental and property taxes only saw a minor increase. The majority of member states have taken steps to combat tax fraud and evasion.