The European Commission (EC) has published a Joint Statement on the "International Day against Female Genital Mutilation" and is committed to end this practice. In the EU still 500,000 victims suffer under Genital Mutilation. The EC declares that this practice is a violation of human and children rights, and states that no tradition or culture can justify violence against women. In order to support the fight against Genital Mutilation the EC will provide another 4.5 million euro for the work at the "grassroots" level.

The weeklong strike in Macedonia has ended. SONK has called off the strike as the Education Ministry has promised not to implement the monetary punishment of teachers if they failed the external evaluation. This was a main demand and was discussed in the meeting last week between European Director Martin Rømer and the Education Minister. Since then communication have been in place and SONK and ETUCE insisted that this element in the new laws on education should be removed.

The European Semester has become an important tool for recommendations to Member States on education and training. Yearly, these recommendations contribute to education and training reforms at national level. The Annual Growth Survey 2015 is a communication from the European Commission to the Member States which kicks off the European Semester 2015 (the annual cycle of economic governance).

On 1 January 2015, Latvia took over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The main strategic objectives of the Latvian Presidency are the following: Competitive Europe: To work on the Investment Plan for Europe; continue the work on strengthening the Single Market; launch discussions and start working on the Energy Union; promote industrial competitiveness.

ETUCE is member of the Thematic Working Group of the European Commission on Entrepreneurship Education. The representatives of governments experts, social partners and the European Commission finalised its work and published their Final Report on Entrepreneurship Education in  November 2014. The report provides guidance to Member States to enhance their actions on improving entrepreneurship education, which may help in the long-run to reduce the high number of unemployment rate among young people in Europe.

A number of outstanding issues between the Government and the Teacher Trade Union SONK in Macedonia have brought education to a halt. The union called for strike since the government wouldn't negotiate on important issues like the penalties teachers could risk to pay following external evaluation procedures. According to the latest change of the education law, a teacher could be fined up 50 € in the monthly salary ( only around 300-400 €) if their evaluation of the students were not similar to those of the external evaluators.