Our event on 4 December focused on the role of cities in implementing the European Commission's Social Investment Package (SIP).
We hosted an event on the role of cities in implementing the Social Investment Package (SIP) in Brussels on 4 December. It confirmed that true multilevel governance is urgently needed if Europe is to achieve the social targets of the Europe 2020 strategy. The event was attended by senior officials from the European Commission, MEPs, academics and representatives of civil society organisations from all over Europe. It also saw the launch of our publication, ‘Integrated services at local level’, which presents good practice examples in a number of different social policy areas from 10 major European cities. The examples all serve to highlight the importance of: a flexible approach that is adapted to individuals’ needs; a preventative approach through timely and comprehensive solutions; and the close coordination of different services through ‘one-stop-shops’.
Dr Lieve Fransen (pictured), director of social policies at the European Commission, and our secretary general, Anna Lisa Boni, opened the event. The first panel was a political discussion on the role of cities in implementing the SIP. The panel comprised: Nicolas Costello, deputy head of unit for social policies at the European Commission; Cllr Raimond Blasi from Barcelona, chair of the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum; Cllr Veronica Dunne from Newcastle; and MEP Siôn Simon (S&D, UK).
There were also panel discussions on combatting unemployment, addressing homelessness, and the need to provide flexible childcare services.
Anna Lisa Boni said: “Social investment is about investing in people. Cities are committed to providing integrated and quality social services to improve the everyday lives of Europe’s citizens. We have identified good practice examples from across our network, which we hope will facilitate mutual learning among our members and beyond.”
The event underpinned the main message of our our publication, ‘Integrated services at local level’, that cities are working hard to respond to the growing social challenges of post-crisis Europe through integrated social service delivery and social innovation. However, cities need maximum support and investment from national governments and the EU for further progress to be made and to avoid future social crises.