Keeping social Europe moving forward!

5 May 2021

The health emergency has become a social emergency. In our cities and metropolitan areas, we are witnessing the development of job insecurity which is affecting more and more Europeans.

The emergencies we are facing must not prevent us from making concrete progress on the social rights of our fellow citizens. Europe will be all the more heard and respected by its inhabitants if it provides them with the social protection they need to face the challenges of new forms of work.

The health emergency has particularly boosted the development of digital services in Europe, and therefore of delivery platforms in all our cities. These digital platforms, while they provide access to new services for users, contribute greatly to the precariousness of the workers working on their behalf.

We are thinking of the two-wheeled delivery workers, who are very evident in our cities, who are in a fragile economic situation and exposed to significant risks, without benefiting, in many situations, from any social protection due to their status. In such cases, these delivery professionals cannot remain outside the rules of labour law any longer.

They must be protected! This is all the more necessary as alternative solutions exist. Generally created in the form of cooperatives, they are experiencing significant development and combine innovative services with respect for workers’ rights.

They must be supported and made visible. It is time to act and to show that social Europe is still moving forward!

With 75% of the European population living in urban areas, cities are an essential level of governance and proximity to ensure the effective implementation of the action plan of the European social rights base, and more generally to ensure a fair and inclusive recovery.

Cities, on the front line of this crisis, are putting in place immediate measures to preserve jobs, help local businesses and protect the most vulnerable. Some 40 cities in the Eurocities network, representing more than 50 million citizens, have already jointly committed to investing more than €14 billion in social investment measures to create a fairer, more equitable and more inclusive Europe.

Europe must be able to join us in committing to support and protect labour law, and to ensure the protection of a social status, particularly with regard to the precarious status of delivery workers on two wheels.

Supporting them means setting out on the path of Social Europe and the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. Supporting them also means speaking out for young people, who sometimes feel sacrificed on the altar of this very difficult situation which hinders their integration into the labour market. Finally, it means avoiding deepening social divisions and reinforcing inequalities, which are all too often sources of conflict in our local areas.

In order to achieve a stronger social Europe by 2030, cities must be at the heart of the decisions to bring Europe closer to its citizens and to bring everyone to participate in fair transitions. Cities are reliable, resilient and effective partners in building a social Europe now and in the future

Therefore, through this platform, as European trade unions have already done, we ask for the support of the European Union in this struggle for the dignity of workers exposed to working conditions unworthy of Europe. The Social Summit in Porto must find concrete solutions that accommodate the changing behaviour of users while guaranteeing the protection of their social status.

We need a European Union that puts citizens at the heart of its project, to respond in a concrete way to the challenges of the future, the challenge of employment and the social crisis at work, the challenge of protecting each and every one. It is through our concrete actions that we must contribute to making our Europe more humanist, more democratic, more social and more ecological.

Johanna Rolland, Mayor of Nantes, President of Nantes Metropole
Michael Ludwig, Mayor of Vienna
Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona
Mrs Almut Möller, State Secretary, Hamburg


Johanna Rolland Mayor of Nantes, President of Nantes Metropole
Michael Ludwig Mayor of Vienna
Ada Colau Mayor of Barcelona