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In the frame of the ongoing discussions on border controls and, in particular, this weekend’s EU Summit on migration, the first European Citizens’ Initiative - #WelcomingEurope collects signatures to reclaim the right to help. On 20 June 2018, the Hungary’s Parliament passed a series of laws that criminalise individuals and non-governmental organisations that offer help to migrants in need.  While millions across Europe have donated their time and money as part of the #RefugeesWelcome movement, volunteers and non-governmental organisations in Hungary will now face detention for doing the same humanitarian acts.

The EU Fundamental Rights Agency organised a public hearing on early school leaving among Roma students on 4th June in Brussels. ETUCE contributed to the discussion and emphasised the need to combat anti-Gypsysism in the political discourse from a trade union perspective and to ensure high quality education for Roma children. It also suggested adopting measures to accommodate Roma students’ diversity and set challenging expectations based on the principle that quality education should fit the learner rather than requiring them to fit into an existing system.

In a world where violence, wars and diverse disasters force thousands of families to flee for their lives each day, the time is now to show that the education trade unions stand with refugees. On World Refugee Day, held every year on 20 June, we commemorate the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. This year, World Refugee Day marks a key moment for the public to show support for families who have been forced to flee from their homes.

Social dialogue promotion has been defined as a continuous task in the last work programs of the European education social partners. On 13 and 14 June 2018, the final conference of European Sectoral Social Partners in Education striving for sustainable influence on European education policy building through successful social dialogue, capacity building project III took place in Sofia. It wrapped up five years of national and European social dialogue capacity building activities which have brought the European and national social partners around a table in eighteen European countries and two EU-candidate countries.

On 11 April 2018, ETUCE/EI held a high-level conference entitled “A better copyright for quality higher education and research in Europe and beyond”. The conference was organised in partnership with the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE) and COMMUNIA (a non-governmental network of copyright advocates, researchers and experts), - with the financial support of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

During its 2018 spring meeting, the ETUCE Committee endorsed the initiative to introduce The Kounka Damianova Award, an award to be given every four years, during the ETUCE Special Conference, to an ETUCE union member for their outstanding engagement in trade union work in the field of education and the promotion of equality.The award is named after Ms. Kounka Damianova who led the International Department of the Bulgarian Teachers’ Union (SEB), ETUCE’s member organisation, for many years. Ms. Damianova unexpectedly passed on 4th August 2015.