Festival of EuropeOpen day 2012 in Brussels Esplanade Solidarnosc

European cities pledge millions for ‘social investment measures’

Antwerp, Lyon and Utrecht are among 44 cities that have joined together to invest over (€)14.2 billion Euros in vital ‘social measures’, including housing and childcare.
The mayors and deputy mayors of the cities, which together represent more than 51 million residents, presented a series of pledges at a Eurocities online conference to members of the European Parliament and officials at the European Commission.

Each city’s pledge commits it to putting in place at least one of the 20 principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights into action, through dedicated social investments and concrete actions on key issues affecting young people like childcare and support, housing, healthcare and equal opportunities.

‘Cities are essential partners in building a stronger social Europe’

Sedat Arif, Deputy Mayor of the Swedish city of Malmo, and Chair of Eurocities Social Affairs Forum, said: “Cities are essential partners in building a stronger social Europe. At a time when Europe’s social model is more at risk than ever, when social inequalities are deepening, it is local level actions like these that can lead Europe towards a fair and inclusive recovery.”

Yet despite these commitments, city leaders say they are increasingly struggling to find the financial resources needed to match the increasing demand for social services and social infrastructure at local level. They have put in place quick responses to the  pandemic but must now look towards longer term solutions.

“Without the quick actions of our city councils, many more people across Europe would be facing poverty and the recession would be deeper,” said Maarten van Ooijen, Deputy Mayor of Utrecht and Vice Chair of Eurocities Social Affairs Forum. “Going forward, cities’ efforts for a fair and inclusive recovery must be supported through the REACT-EU and the European Social Fund+, with a stronger focus placed on getting funding to where it is most needed, in our cities.”

‘City leaders are struggling to find the resources needed’

Eurocities is a pan-European network of 190 cities in 39 countries, which brings together and shares best practice among its members, and it’s these members who are showing they can work with all partners and all levels of government to do what is best for their citizens.

The cities which have pledged their support for the scheme are Amsterdam, Antwerp, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Besiktas, Bilbao, Birmingham, Bologna, Braga, Bristol, Brno, Cluj-Napoca, Frankfurt, Ghent, Gijon, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Helsinki, Istanbul, Leeds, Leipzig, Lille, Ljubljana, Lyon, Madrid, Malmo, Milan, Nantes, Nicosia, Pau, Poznan, Rennes, Rotterdam, Stuttgart, Timisoara, Turku, Utrecht, Vantaa, Vienna, Warsaw, Zagreb and Zaragoza.

Katarina Ivanković-Knežević, Director for Social Affairs at the European Commission, said: “Cities have an important role to play for a stronger social Europe, together with the EU institutions. The European Pillar of Social Rights remains the Commission’s compass in the crisis and the recovery.

Cities’ contributions and pledges can concretely feed into the forthcoming Action Plan to implement the principles and rights of the Pillar. In addition, the new Recovery and Resilience Facility will support Member States in addressing the challenges of the crisis, as well as in building social resilient systems in the big twin transition, the green and digital transitions. It will add exceptional resources to the €86 billion of the European Social Fund, and in the fields of education and skills, employment, health, and economic, social and territorial cohesion.”

Click here for more information on Eurocities’ Inclusivecities4all campaign.

Author: Simon Weedy

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