Press release

Cities commit to invest €4.3 billion to fight poverty and social exclusion over 5 years

21 February 2019

21 cities, representing more than 20 million citizens have so far pledged €4.32 billion towards a fairer, more equal and inclusive Europe.

‘Inclusive cities for all: social rights in my city’ is a new political initiative launched by Eurocities today at the European Parliament. It coincides with the publication of a new report, which shows cities are doing more than they are legally responsible for in providing social rights because they are faced with urgent needs.

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. 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 are making pledges to turn the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights into tangible actions to improve people’s lives on the ground. However, cities cannot do it alone, they need better support and coordination with national governments and EU institutions. Eurocities top recommendations to the EU and member states include:

  • Allocate more resources at the local level to build local level capacity to provide inclusive measures for all people and tailor support for the most vulnerable groups
  • Involve cities as partners in all social policy-making to ensure it is supported with evidence and responds to the real needs of people at local level
  • Allow flexibility for cities to tackle rising inequalities at the local level by integrating various services and combining different EU funding streams

Eurocities will continue its ‘Inclusive cities for all’ campaign throughout 2019 with the aim of collecting 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.

The new report, which focusses on cities’ ability to provide inclusive education, promote gender equality and equal opportunities, and deliver active support for employment, is the first of three such reports by Eurocities on how cities are delivering on the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Maria João Rodrigues MEP and European Parliament rapporteur on the Pillar, said:

“The European Pillar of Social Rights will only succeed through concrete actions at the local level. The city pledges being collected by Eurocities under the banner ‘Inclusive cities for all’ demonstrate a clear commitment to a more social Europe. We can overcome challenges of social exclusion and poverty by working together from the ground up.”

Andreas Schönström, chair of EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum and deputy mayor of Malmo, said:

“We need a fairer, more equal and inclusive Europe that puts people at the centre. Cities are already taking action to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights and make our cities inclusive places for all. As mayors and city leaders from across Europe we are committed to becoming strategic partners to the EU institutions and working towards a socially sustainable future for Europe and its people.”

Katarina Ivanković-Knežević, Director for social affairs, DG EMPL, European Commission, said:

“One year after the adoption of the European Pillar of Social Rights it is encouraging to see it turned into positive actions through these city pledges, being collected by EUROCITIES. We need the support of cities to ensure European ambitions of a more social Europe have a meaningful impact on people’s lives.”


Notes to Editors

  1. EUROCITIES is the political platform for major European cities. We network the local governments of over 140 of Europe’s largest cities and more than 40 partner cities that between them govern some 130 million citizens across 39 countries.
  2. The full report ‘European Pillar of social rights – cities delivering social rights’, can be found here: EUROCITIES_report_Cities_delivering_Social_Rights
  3. The 21 cities are: Athens, Barcelona, Braga, Ghent, Glasgow, Gothenburg, Leeds, Leipzig, Lille metropole, Ljubljana, Lyon metropole, Madrid, Malmo, Milan, Nantes, Stuttgart, Timisoara, Turku, Utrecht, Vienna, Warsaw
  4. This initiative is a follow-up on the Eurocities statement of October 2017 on ‘Social Rights for All: Cities are committed to deliver on the European Pillar of Social Rights’: EUROCITIES_statement_social_rights_for_all_FINAL
  5. This event ‘From principle to action’ took place in the European Parliament on Thursday 21 February. It can be seen again here:


Media contact:

Alex Godson: +32 495 298 594 //