In Belgium it is customary to say Happy New Year anytime before 1 February, so I am using the fact that EPA is a Belgian organisation to wish you all the best, even in these troubling times we live in, for the year 2017. We have a busy and successful year behind us and an equally busy and hopefully successful year ahead.
This January was the time for the European Commission to reinforce their commitment to a socially just Europe, a high-level conference was held about the European Pillar of Social Rights, including the right to education, child care or a balance between your family and work. It is being set up to try to rebuild trust in Europe. The event happened just a few days after the European Parliament elected a populist as new President, and unfortunatelly the Social Pillar is only for the Euro Zone, clearly making a further step towards a two-speed Europe. Being parents of currently minor Europeans, being responsible for protecting and ensuring their rights, we have a lot to do to prevent them from becoming first class or second class European citizens depending on their nationality or country of residence.
In this first newsletter of the year I want to highlight a few important dates and also some interesting articles recently published on the EPA blog that you may find useful.
Membership fee 2017
When deciding on the budget for 2017 the GA decided not to change membership fees, so the rates are the same as for 2016. As you know since last year you have the possibility to ask for a reduced fee in case of a low operating budget. To get this reduction this declaration must be filled in by the legal representative of your organisation by 15 February.
Save the dates
As announced at the Sevilla GA our two main events of the year 2017 will be our two GAs and international conferences
- the Spring on focusing on Early Childhood Parenting Issues and Reconciliation of Work and Family Life in Paphos, Cyprus on 22-24 April (this time the school visits will be on Monday) and
- the Autumn one focusing on Career Guidance and non-University Tertiary Education in Tallinn, Estonia on 24-25 November
Paphos is holding the title of European Cultural Capital in 2017 while Estonia will be the Presidency of the EU in the second half of the year, so we are following our tradition of visiting Cultural Capitals and Presidency countries.
We must hold an Extraordinary General Assembly on 20 March in Brussels for administrative reasons, some previous decisions need to be acknowledged by full members in the presence of a notary. We are trying to not cause you any extra travel costs on this.
Invite us, share with us
As always, I am inviting you to share news or hot topics that you are dealing with in your own countries. Send us a short, one paragraph newsflash in English that we can publish on the EPA blog to share your projects, success, good practices or concerns with other members.
For 2017 we allocated a somewhat larger budget for representation. Some of you have invited members of the Board to your national events and they seems to become more and more popular. One or two members of the Board are happy to join you if you invite us, sharing costs, EPA covering travel and you covering accommodation and subsistence. This may help you in national advocacy or showing your national members the importance of your EPA membership.
In both the Social Platform and the Lifelong Learning Platform (EPA being a member of both) we are working on supporting the national cooperation of social and education NGOs that share at least their being Europeans, belonging to a European family like EPA. Inviting a Board member or two may offer opportunities for this, too.