In mid-February 2017, the Italian government adopted a reform of the unemployment aid scheme called DIS-COLL. With the adoption of the “Milleproroghe” Decree, PhD students who receive grants and researchers hired under short-time contracts can now benefit of temporary unemployment aid – a novelty for individuals conducting research under precarious conditions. This, however, involves a higher contribution to the social security fund from their net salary.

In a series of parliamentary hearings on the precarious situation of education support personnel in Portugal, launched today, 9 March 2017, FNE demands the legal recognition of non-teaching employee’s profiles, the creation of career paths for non-teaching employees and the launch of negotiations with the Ministry of Education to that effect.

Dissatisfied education personnel, students and teachers are protesting against education personnel’s precarious working conditions, low salaries or salaries that have been frozen for several years, large classroom sizes and dismissals in Spain that pose a severe threat to the future of the teaching profession in Spain and jeopardise the future of Spain’s youth.

The conference was organised by Bulgarian Union of Teachers (SEB) and gathered representatives of education trade unions from many European countries, including ETUCE member organisations, such as F.E.CC.OO. (Spain), TUS (Serbia), SONK (FYROM), UIL Scuola (Italy),  OLME and DOE (Greece) and others. Among special guests were representatives from the Bulgarian government (Iliyana Yotova, Vice President of Republic of Bulgaria, and Nikolai Denkov, Minister of Education and Science), Plamen Dimitrov, President of Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria (CITUB), Martin Rømer, Senior Consultant to the General Secretary of EI, and Susan Flocken, ETUCE European Director.

The European Parliament’s theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Women’s economic empowerment”. The European Parliament published a leaflet entitled “Women’s economic empowerment: let’s act together” with an accompanying fact sheet compilation. Furthermore, the European Parliament has issued a briefing on young women’s unemployment in the EU.

On 22 February 2017 the European Commission has published the Country Reports  for each EU Member State, which form the basis for the dialogue ahead of the presentation of the National Reform Programmes in April 2017 and the preparation of the Country Specific Recommendations in May 2017. The Country Reports monitor reforms and point to issues that EU Member States should address.  All the Country Reports include a chapter on Education and training systems. The Country Reports of the European Semester are a crucial element in the Semester process. They are the annual analysis of the economic and social situation in the EU Member States, including an assessment of imbalances.