Social Rights for all

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Europe’s major cities are ready to work with the EU institutions and member states to guarantee social rights for all.

As the level of government closest to the citizens we can bring citizens’ concerns to the centre of EU policy, and help improve people’s lives. But we need partners at all levels to work with us.

This was the key message from the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum in Gothenburg today, where the statement ‘Social rights for all’ was publicly presented. Signed by 140 cities from across Europe, the statement calls for more involvement from different levels of government to build a more inclusive and cohesive Europe. With more than half the principles and rights in the European Pillar of Social Rights having a direct link to local level, city authorities can lead the way in delivering these, but they need support and recognition from the EU and member states.

Laia Ortiz, chair of the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum and deputy mayor of Barcelona, said:

“We believe a stronger Europe is only possible if people are at the centre of it. Cities work hard to design and deliver employment, social inlusion and welfare measures and services to all citizens. We stand up for society’s most vulnerable and grant access to all to quality services such as childcare, healthcare and housing. But rising inequality and poverty across Europe following the financial crisis have made life harder for many people. We need the European institutions to change the EU economic model to support social investment in people centred policies and services. Social cohesion has been neglected for too long at EU level at the expense of economic growth - it is time to act now! We are ready to work with the EU institutions and member states to tangibly improve our citizens’ lives.”

EUROCITIES is calling upon the EU and member states to:

  • Ensure the meaningful participation of cities in decision making

  • Dedicate resources from the European Structural and Investment Funds to implement the social pillar, and channel these resources directly to the local level where they are needed most

  • Link the implementation of the European Pillar for Social Rights to the Urban Agenda for the EU where multi-level governance is already put in place

  • Adopt a European Council recommendation to reinforce the right to affordable housing for all

  • Give cities a greater role in the open method of coordination for social protection and social inclusion by enabling them to feed into the design of EU social policies, their monitoring, and implementation at the local level

  • Change the EU economic model to include spending for social policies and social services as an investment and not a cost by replacing austerity measures with social investment measures

We are ready to work with the EU institutions and member states to make social rights a reality, and we are ready to lead the way towards a stronger social Europe.

Notes to the editors

  1. EUROCITIES is the network of major European cities, with over 140 members, representing more than 130 million people. We work in all areas of interest for cities, from culture to mobility, environment to social affairs, economic development to smart cities. We facilitate learning experiences between cities, and represent cities’ interests towards the European Union.

  2. The EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum met in Gothenburg on 25-26 October to discuss the role of cities in promoting a more social Europe and in delivering on a European Pillar of Social Rights. More information is available here:
    And via Twitter at #SAFcities

  3. The EU Social Summit is set to take place in Gothenburg next month.

  4. Laia Ortiz, chair of the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum, was unable to attend this meeting in person.



Media contact:

Alex Godson: +32 495 298 594 //

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EUROCITIES staff contact

Alex Godson