The European Union has answered to the economic and financial crisis, adopting the Europe 2020 Strategy plan for sustainable, smart economic growth. Education, employment, fighting poverty and social exclusion are at the hearth of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the EU-policy making, coordinated through the European Semester coordination. Since the inception of the European Semester, budgetary austerity and the rigid application of the fiscal targets (which limit government deficit to 3% and public debt to 60% of the GDP) framing the Europe 2020 Strategy, the attitude of governments adopting unilateral adjustments and decisions, and strong anti-union campaigns across some European countries led to an absence of, or limited involvement of trade unions in negotiations on education workers’ rights and working conditions, and national education and training reforms.
To raise awareness and trigger participation at national and European level within the ‘policy space’ of the European Semester on education and training, the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) launched the project “Investing in education: Strengthening the involvement of teacher trade unions in the European Semester on education and training” in 2015. The University of Nottingham was contracted to carry on a study to investigate the effects of the European Semester policy coordination on national education and training reforms and investment as a result of the European Semester, and on the changing nature of education investment and public/private developments. This report is the result of a two-year study by the Education department of the University of Nottingham and the collaborative effort among members of the project Advisory Group from Denmark (DLF), Italy (FLC-CGIL), Lithuania (FLESTU), Malta (MUT) and Slovenia (ESTUS).