‘Building back better: A stronger social Europe – What role for cities?’ 30 September

25 August 2020

People living in cities have been hardest hit by the corona pandemic and are deeply affected by the economic and social crisis. Poverty and inequalities are rapidly rising in cities, with new groups of people at risk of poverty – the ‘new urban poor’. Addressing this crisis requires unprecedented bold actions by working together in solidarity between all levels of government to build a fair, inclusive and sustainable recovery in the EU, leaving no one behind. The recovery is our chance to do more than just undo the effects of the pandemic crisis. It is time to ‘build back better’ and put people first on the EU agenda. It is time to strengthen social Europe and give cities the means to address poverty and inequalities.

The event

Eurocities is organising a digital high-level conference to bring together city mayors and EU leaders to discuss how to move social Europe forward and drive a fair and inclusive recovery, leaving no one behind. The event will take place online on 30 September from 10:00 – 12:30 CEST.

The conference is co-hosted by MEPs Estrella Dura Ferrandis, Agnes Jongerius and Brando Benifei, and supported by the European Commission through the European programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSi).

The event will take stock of the achievements of Eurocities political campaign ‘Inclusive Cities for All: Social Rights in My City‘. Mayors and deputy mayors will present their new pledges to the European Pillar of Social Rights proving their commitment to put principles into action through dedicated social investments.


We aim to trigger a political dialogue between city mayors and Members of the European Parliament on how to work together on new priorities and proposals for reinforcing social Europe and driving a fair and inclusive recovery from the pandemic crisis. In particular, we wish to discuss the role of cities in the governance of the upcoming action plan for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

A special focus will be on European policy solutions to address the rising poverty and inequalities in cities, in particular: housing exclusion and the new urban poor. The increasing demand for social services in cities and how the EU can support social investment at local level will also be discussed.


We will gather hundreds of policy makers from all levels of government:

  • mayors, deputy mayors and policy-makers from the biggest cities in Europe
  • Members of European Parliament
  • representatives from the European Commission and the German Presidency of the EU Council
  • members of the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee
  • representatives of EU-level civil society NGOs active in the field of social rights

Expected outcomes

  • announce our new Eurocities statement on reinforcing social Europe with inclusive cities (currently being finalised and approved)
  • present new city pledges (political commitments) signed in 2020 to reaffirm our cities’ commitment to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights and the actions taken so far
  • launch our new website dedicated to our campaign ‘Inclusive Cities for All: Social Rights in My City’ where all city pledges, evidence and good practices from cities, and results of our mutual learning programme for cities, are gathered in one place.


We will feed the outcomes of the conference in our Eurocities contribution to the EU public consultation on reinforcing social Europe in view of bringing a strong urban voice into the European Pillar of Social Rights action plan.

We will continue our campaign to collect city pledges to the European Pillar of Social Rights throughout 2020 and 2021 and prove the key role of cities as essential partners in building a stronger social Europe to drive a fair and inclusive recovery.


The video recording of this event is now available here: