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Ahead of EU Social Summit, Eurocities call for a new pact

Ahead of EU Social Summit, Eurocities call for a new pact

It is time to look into the human dimension of recovery

The leaders of about 70 cities met yesterday, 6 May, as part of the Eurocities network to discuss what should be the way forward after the coronavirus pandemic with regards to social policies. The main decision from this conference was the one calling for a new pact between the different levels of government on the continent, which would reverse worrying trends in terms of homelessness, unemployment and exclusion.

The timing of that meeting was not coincidental. It was organized so that the conclusions could be presented at today’s EU Social Summit - which will see the heads of the 27 EU Member States’ governments get together in Porto to decide on how to make Europe more resilient in the social sphere.

Social targets should be matched by reforms and investments if they are to be achieved

The members of Eurocities had already shown their commitment to making the European pillar of Social Rights a reality through the ‘Inclusive Cities 4 All’ initiative, which gathered the pledges of 66 cities on the continent and mobilized some 15 billion euros of municipal investments for social causes.

However, the network members are of the opinion that even more needs to be done in the wake of what has been an unprecedented socio-economic and public health crisis, whose effects might be felt even after the pandemic has subsided.

"A new pact must commit the different levels of government to design a recovery response that works for people and planet. When so many people have been so badly affected this year, especially in our cities, now is the time to lend a helping hand, not to turn our backs," said Dario Nardella, President of Eurocities and Mayor of Florence.

In addition to the pact proposal, there were three main conclusions from the meeting, which Mr Nardella will personally deliver to the European government leaders. These were described as:

  • An annual social summit on the European Pillar of Social Rights action plan, with meaningful participation from cities
  • A strong social dimension in the European Green Deal
  • Strengthen social investment and investment in social infrastructure, including social and affordable housing, as the way to deliver a just recovery, leaving no one behind

Even if there may be a consensus across the Union that there needs to be a strong institutional push and aid for recovery, these deliberations show that the focus of the recovery efforts may still be a subject for debates.

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