New EUROCITIES report: Cities delivering social rights

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EUROCITIES published a new report mapping cities’ existing policy measures that are in line with the principles of the EU Pillar of Social Rights. Many cities already deliver inclusive social policies to promote social rights for all people even before the EU Social Pillar was adopted. However, we found that cities’ efforts are not always known or recognised at national and EU levels.

This research is the first in a series of EUROCITIES surveys to collect evidence from cities in line with the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The report covers 20 cities in 12 EU member states governing a total of 20 million people. The evidence was gathered directly from city authorities and their relevant administrative departments. The responses fed into a comparative analysis to identify trends and map inspiring practices.

This report presents the findings on how cities deliver inclusive education, gender equality, equal opportunities and access to the labour market. It provides:

  • an overview of city competences in each of the four policy areas
  • trends and current social challenges at local level
  • good practices of city measures in line with each of the four principles
  • obstacles cities face to doing more or implementing better policies
  • policy recommendations for cities, member states and the EU

Key findings 

Cities play a key role in the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. As the level of government closest to people and the local economy, cities are the first to see that labour markets are changing and inequalities are rapidly increasing. It is now more important than ever to ensure social rights for all people and preserve social cohesion. 

Most city authorities have competences and even go beyond their legal responsibilities to provide inclusive education, promote gender equality and equal opportunities, and deliver active support for employment. As policy makers and service providers, cities:

  • deliver local strategies to reduce inequalities in access to education and the labour market and combat gender-based discrimination and ensure equal opportunities
  • implement targeted actions to promote the inclusion of the most vulnerable groups, including migrants and refugees, the long-term unemployed, older people, people with disabilities, people living in poverty or in the most deprived areas
  • constantly innovate to adapt services to the newly emerging needs of vulnerable groups and integrate education, employment and social services into coordinated local actions
  • take measures to prevent school dropout, improve literacy and qualification levels of adults, and facilitate the transition from education or training to employment
  • introduce social clauses in public procurement to promote gender equality and inclusive training and employment of migrants, the long-term unemployed, the under-qualified
  • build the capacity of municipal staff to provide non-discriminatory access to services
  • complement the public employment services by giving tailored support to those furthest away from the labour market through job search, coaching, counselling and guidance
  • coordinate broad local partnerships between public services, employers, training providers and civil society NGOs to match demand and offer on the local labour market

Our recommendations

Cities are committed to turning the Pillar principles into tangible actions but need more support from national and EU levels. We recommend the EU and member states to: 

  1. Allocate more resources to local level from the state budgets and the EU funds to build capacity for local measures and services for tailored support to the most vulnerable groups.
  2. Involve cities as partners in social policy-making at national and EU level to ensure social policies are effectively responding to the real needs on the ground. Multi-level governance for policy and funding, including the ESF+ operational programmes, is needed. 
  3. Support integrated urban development to tackle rising inequalities between urban areas and improve living conditions by combining people-based and area-based solutions. 
  4. Adopt a post-2020 EU strategy on equal opportunities and social inclusion with an integrated approach to tackling inequalities and specific focus on challenges in urban areas.
  5. Improve equality data by disaggregating social scoreboard indicators on gender, socio-economic status and migrant background to feed evidence-based inclusion policies. 

Cities are committed to creating a stronger social Europe by ensuring that everyone has the right to inclusive education, training and employment to participate fully in society.

Read the full report below.
   EUROCITIES_report_Cities_delivering_Social_Rightsdownload/preview this file
    EUROCITIES_rapport_EPSR_-_FRdownload/preview this file

EUROCITIES staff contact

Bianca Faragau-Tavares