‘Work with us on employment issues’ say cities to EU commissioners

  • economy
  • knowledge society

Mayors and politicians from major European cities today met EU Commissioners Thyssen and Bieńkowska to discuss the role of cities in creating more and better jobs.

The EU needs to better engage with its cities in order to address the employment crisis in Europe. This was our message to European commissioners Marianne Thyssen, responsible for employment, social affairs, skills and labour mobility, and Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs, at a meeting on 22 February in Brussels.

With Commissioner Thyssen, the politicians emphasised the potential of cities in:

  • delivering inclusive labour markets by using social clauses in public procurement

  • addressing long term and youth unemployment through tailored policies that work at local level

  • exploring social innovation as a means to address unemployment

  • the critical role cities can play in developing the New Skills Agenda for Europe

Daniël Termont, mayor of Ghent and EUROCITIES vice president, stressed that: “The success of Juncker’s jobs and growth agenda depends on the EU’s ability to capitalise on the potential of its cities.”

With Commissioner Bieńkowska, they outlined the important work cities do to create jobs and support SMEs, innovation and economic development at local level. They stressed the important role cities have to play in ensuring Europe’s competitiveness, by:

  • creating favourable environments for small businesses and entrepreneurs, including the social economy

  • encouraging technological, social and public sector innovation

  • exploring the opportunities of public procurement for achieving economic, environmental and social objectives

  • adapting to a greener, circular and sharing economy

Speaking to the commissioner, Johanna Rolland, mayor of Nantes and EUROCITIES president, said that: “The employment situation in Europe remains critical, and as mayors and leaders of Europe’s major cities we see the urgency of the situation on a daily basis.”

Politicians speaking at the event came from EUROCITIES member cities Birmingham, Eindhoven, Ghent, Florence, Leipzig, Ljubljana, Malmo, Milan, Nantes, Netwerkstad Twente, Stockholm, Vienna and Warsaw.

The politicians stressed that their local knowledge, expertise and understanding can add value to European policies to promote employment and job creation. Johanna Rolland said: “We know our citizens well, and making the most of our understanding of the local labour market and employment and education services is an important part of the solution.”

The exchanges with the commissioners were followed by a discussion with stakeholders and partners for delivering results, including the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the European Youth Forum, BUSINESSEUROPE, the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU).

The debates come as part of the implementation of the EUROCITIES Declaration on Work, which we launched in February 2015 in the presence of European commissioner Pierre Moscovici. Jobs and skills has since been identified as one of the priority themes of an EU urban agenda. Daniël Termont confirmed the politicians’ commitment to supporting the EU’s objectives for employment and job creation, saying: “We confirm our political will and commitment to contribute the utmost to these goals.”

For more information, you can also take a look at our new video on the role of cities in promoting inclusive labour markets, available here

Pictured: Lisa Trickett, Birmingham city councillor, speaks to Marianne Thyssen. 

Photo: © vivianhertz.be