21 cities, representing more than 20 million citizens have presented their pledges to act on the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights through dedicated investments for city measures. In total, the 21 cities pledge to invest €4.32 billion to fight poverty and social exclusion over the next 5 years.
In the presence of Members of the European Parliament, Commission officials and over 100 policy-makers, EUROCITIES launched a new political initiative ‘Inclusive cities for all: Social rights in my city’. Half of the city pledges collected so far focus on municipal measures for provision of more affordable housing and support for the homeless, reflecting a pressing challenge for cities. Cities pledge to build 75,000 new affordable housing units by 2024 with an investment of over €2.17 billion.
A remarkable number of 15 deputy mayors and city representatives (from the total of 21 cities) travelled to Brussels and presented their city pledges in the European Parliament:
Malmo – Andreas Schönström – Deputy mayor and chair of EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum
Madrid – Ramon Palomino – Cabinet director for employment and social policy
Stuttgart – Simone Fischer – Commissioner for people with disabilities
Gothenburg – Kristina Bergman Alme – Vice-chair of the Political Committee on Social Welfare
Braga – Firmino Marques - Deputy mayor for social affairs
Vienna - Michaela Kauer – Director of Brussels office of Vienna
Barcelona - Laia Ortiz – Deputy mayor for social rights
Timisoara - Imre Farkas - Deputy mayor for social affairs
Nantes - Abbassia Hakem - Deputy mayor for social affairs
Leipzig - Thomas Fabian - Deputy mayor for social affairs
Warsaw - Pawel Rabiej – Deputy mayor
Athens - Lefteris Papagiannakis - Deputy mayor for migrants and refugees
Utrecht - Maarten Van Ooijen – Deputy mayor for social affairs
Tampere - Johanna Loukaskorpi – Deputy mayor for welfare services
Other 8 cities have signed pledges but could not be represented at the launch event: Ljubljana, Turku, Leeds, Ghent, Glasgow, Lille, Milan and Lyon.
All 21 city pledges are available here.
City pledges get recognition from EU policy-makers
The chair and vice-chair of the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum, Andreas Schönström and Maarten van Ooijen, handed over the 21 city pledges to MEP Maria João Rodrigues and the European Commission Director for Social Affairs, Katarina Ivanković-Knežević. This is a symbol of the commitment of our cities to work together with the European Parliament and the European Commission to make the European Pillar of Social Rights a reality on the ground.
Speaking about the impressive role of cities, MEP Maria João Rodrigues said: “Cities are where inclusion happens on the ground. You, city leaders, need to invent the inclusive city of tomorrow. The European Parliament is at your disposal and available to work with you to make inclusive cities for all people”.
The city pledges were welcomed also by European Commission Director for Social Affairs, Katarina Ivanković-Knežević, who said: “These city pledges are not just mere declarations of intention, they are real budget allocations and concrete actions at local level. We [the European Commission] see the huge potential of cities to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights”.
The chair of EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum and deputy mayor of Malmo, Andreas Schönström said: “If we want real action to close the gap in our diverse EU, we need the cities, they are the best tools to bring the EU closer to our citizens. Let our pledges be the beginning to show our citizens what EU can be for the future; the EU is not for the economy first, but for the citizens first”.
Did you miss the event? You can watch the highlights here
- watch the full recording of the event here
- all photos from the event are available here
- watch a lively interview with Andreas Schönström, Laia Ortiz, MEP Maria João Rodrigues and Commission Director Katarina Ivanković-Knežević, recorded alongside the event here.
- read our press release ‘Cities commit to invest €4.3 billion to fight poverty over next 5 years’ here
- read the highlights from the debates in our Twitter story from the event #inclusivecities4all
- watch our video about preventing evictions and homelessness in Vienna here
- watch the vlog from Utrecht about tackling homelessness here
New EUROCITIES publication launched at the event
Coinciding with the launch of the new political initiative, EUROCITIES also launched a new report that shows cities are doing more than they are legally responsible for in providing social rights because they are faced with urgent needs. The new report focuses on cities’ ability to provide inclusive education, promote gender equality and equal opportunities, and deliver active support for employment.
The report reveals that inequality is rapidly increasing in our cities and it is hitting hardest in the most deprived urban neighbourhoods, among the lowest income earners and most vulnerable groups.
Read the full report here.
More about the political initiative ‘Inclusive cities for all’
Our initiative aims to mobilise mayors and deputy mayors to implement the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights at local level.
EUROCITIES will continue this initiative throughout 2019 as part of its strategic partnership with the European Commission under the Employment and Social Innovation programme. We aim to gather as many pledges on different principles of the social pillar as possible. Our goal is to build an inclusive Europe with inclusive cities for all people.