Policy papers

A stronger social Europe powered by inclusive cities

30 September 2020

We are facing an unprecedented crisis in Europe that is deepening social inequalities, putting our European social model at risk. Addressing this crisis requires bold actions. Nobody can respond to this crisis alone, but only by working together in solidarity between all levels of government can we mitigate the negative impact on the most vulnerable in our society and build a fair, inclusive and sustainable recovery in the EU, leaving no one behind. Cities are committed to working together with the EU institutions and national governments to put people at the heart of the recovery. In turn, we expect European leaders to engage cities as key partners in reinforcing social Europe and to ensure a strong urban dimension in the EU recovery plan.

A stronger social Europe is a Europe of inclusive cities, where:

  • Cities should be engaged as key partners in driving a fair and inclusive recovery in Europe. Cities have been the hardest hit by the pandemic crisis, and it is in cities that the socio-economic consequences are most visible, and the recovery is most urgent. At the same time, the pandemic has shown that cities are able to act quickly to protect the most vulnerable people and provide urgent support to all in need. Cities have shown leadership in managing the COVID-19 crisis on the frontline and solidarity in sharing know-how with other cities to help contain the virus. We have demonstrated our responsibility and resilience by immediately reallocating municipal budgets to take pro-active measures to mitigate the negative impact of the crisis on people. We are ready to lead the recovery together with the EU and member states. For this to be possible, the EU recovery plan should have a strong social and urban dimension.
  • Social investment should be strengthened as a key priority for a fair and inclusive recovery. We have the chance to do more than temporarily undoing the effects of the pandemic crisis and starting over where we left off. We can build back better. We should make sure all Europeans have access to affordable healthcare of good quality. We should create more quality jobs with fair working conditions, more inclusive education paths and skills training, ensure decent and affordable housing, grant active support for the most vulnerable and equal opportunities for all people. To achieve this, we need strong investment in social infrastructure and social services at local level, with the right policy mix and financial resources for implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights and the SDG agenda.
  • A new pact between city and EU leaders should be set up to drive social Europe forward. Cities and EU leaders can build a stronger social Europe by working together in a renewed strategic partnership. As the level of government closest to people, cities work to ensure EU social policies reach out to those in need. In the wake of this crisis, we are more determined than ever to ensure a fair and inclusive transition to green and digital economy where no one is left behind.

Read the policy position here