European sectoral social dialogue in education (ESSDE)
The idea of establishing a Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for the Education sector was taken into account within the in the ETUCE since 2000. In 2004 the ETUCE adopted its first Action Plan to work on the set-up of a European Sectoral Social Dialogue in Education (ESSDE). The ETUCE then engaged in a process of discussion with the European Center of Enterprises with Public Participation (CEEP) and with national employers' organisations. This process was carried out by the ETUCE secretariat with support from the European Commission. A critical step was undertaken in February 2009 when the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE) was created and the joint ETUCE-EFEE application to create a Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee under the terms of the EC Treaty was submitted later in September 2009.
The European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee in Education was launched on 11 June 2010 by the European social partners in education; the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE). EFEE currently represents 24 employers' organisations from 16 countries. The EFEE membership reflects the diversity of education employers: national ministries, regional and municipal authorities associations, state agencies and associations of school leaders.
The launching of the ESSDE was an historical event as it brought the largest public sector in Europe into the European Social Dialogue system, making the social partners co-legislators for their professional area at European level. Since the beginning of the 21st Century and the launch of the Lisbon Strategy, more than ever in these current times of crisis, education is an essential political priority, both at national and European level. The European Social Dialogue in Education is a crucial element for the achievement of the new EU2020 strategy goals as it brings together European employers and employees in education to agree on how to meet the challenges facing the sector.