03 Apr EDITORIAL BY EFEE GENERAL SECRETARY
The outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe and its impact on Education
Dear EFEE Members and Friends,
The recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe has threatened the lives of thousands of people, limited social interactions and stopped the normal functioning of European economies. The European Federation of Education Employers wishes to extend its sympathies to everyone whose families and loved ones have been affected by the spread of this disease and express its gratitude to medical staff for their commitment and courage in fighting the pandemic. We furthermore thank educational staff from all levels who, despite the pandemic, continue working in order to allow medical personnel to attend the patients.
The outbreak of this global pandemic will most certainly cause considerable damages to European societies at public health, social and economic levels. Having this in mind, EFEE has joined forces with the European Centre of Employers and Providers of Services of General Interests (CEEP) in order to underline the importance of all services of general interest including education at European level during this critical period. Together with CEEP, we have therefore established a special platform called ‘SGIs on the frontline against COVID-19’, where we share best practices from different sectors on their actions devoted to fighting the pandemic.
At the same time, we continue our lobbying efforts at European institutions in order to preserve European funding for education, encourage Member States’ investment in education, and support social policies and financial instruments enabling transition from education to the labour market.
Moreover, the impact of COVID-19 on the education sector will be the main topic of the next European Sectoral Social Dialogue Working Group meeting in June 2020. We would like our member organizations to discuss threats and possible lessons learned during this crisis in the interest of strengthening the education sector for the future.
Finally, EFEE and ETUCE, are currently preparing a Joint Statement on the impact of COVID-19 on the education sector with policy recommendations addressed to the European Commission.
We hope that this sudden and unprecedented crisis will be overcome, and European cooperation will shortly be restored. Until then, our actions and thoughts need to be directed to those brave men and women involved in fighting the pandemic on its frontline.