On 27 November 2018, in Athens, Greece, ETUCE President Christine Blower opened the quadrennial special conference of the ETUCE, the European Region of Education International (EI). A welcome speech was given by the presidents of the DOE and OLME, ahead of the address to the ETUCE Special Conference by David Edwards, General Secretary, who welcomed delegates and spoke of some major global challenges including the growing influence of private and corporate actors in education, the rise of extremisms and the erosion of rights. He concluded on the key role of teachers in meeting global challenges and in promoting democratic values.

The Annual Growth Survey (AGS) 2019, published on 21 November 2018, sets out the EU’s general economic and social priorities and offers policy guidance to EU governments for the following year. While acknowledging the six-year long uninterrupted growth of Europe’s economy, this year’s AGS recognises that not everybody benefitted from it on equal terms. Prioritising the need to address growing inequalities, the Commission warns about the vulnerability of the European economy to global instability and medium to long-term challenges. Thus, the focus for 2019 still remains on socio-economic resilience, macro-economic stability and sound public finances.

On 25 November 2018, the global community will be celebrating International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which kicks off the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign. “Orange the World #HearMeToo” has been chosen as this year’s theme, to shine a light on female victims’ testimonies and demand an end to impunity for those committing abuse.

On 26-28 November 2018, ETUCE, the European Region of Education International (EI), at the occasion of its Special Conference in Athens, Greece, will discuss the role of education trade unions in shaping the future of Europe. Empowering education trade unions through capacity building, trade union renewal and strong and effective social dialogue will be at the core of the two-day debate among 300 delegates from 132 education trade unions across Europe.

Celebrating the Universal children’s day (20th November), a new report from FRA, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights on ‘Combating child poverty: an issue of fundamental right’, has recently shown that child poverty is a common matter across Member States in which one in four children under the age of 18 are at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

On 19 November 2018, European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee in Education (ESSDE) delegates gathered in Brussels to conduct their annual Plenary meeting, with the support of the European Commission. EFEE President, Michael Moriarty, chaired the meeting. The meeting focused on: evaluating activities carried out jointly in the frame of the current ESSDE Work Programme 2018-2019; supporting teachers and trainers by increasing the attractiveness of VET and apprenticeships; supporting recruitment, retention and development of teaching professions; following-up on strategies for implementing previously adopted joint documents.