Lessons from the social affairs forum in Brussels - 'inclusive labour markets'


We look at some of the lessons from our social affairs forum in Brussels on 20-21 October, which focused on inclusive labour markets.

Over 160 participants from 40 cities, including seven politicians, attended our social affairs forum on inclusive labour markets in Brussels on 20-21 October.

Our working groups on employment, migration and integration, Roma inclusion, and homelessness met alongside the forum, and we organised a focus group on the European Social Fund.

During the debates and work sessions we learned that:

  • Public procurement is a powerful tool for city authorities to promote inclusive labour markets. Newcastle’s environment agency uses public procurement to create opportunities for social enterprises that seek to tackle social justice issues. Social Platform has published a guide on ‘Public procurement for social progress’, which presents recommendations and identifies opportunities to implement social clauses in procurement, as set out in the EU Public Procurement Directive.

  • City authorities bring together businesses, trade unions and relevant stakeholders to exchange ideas and experiences of creating inclusive labour markets. Our new publication, ‘Promoting an inclusive labour market at local level’ gives examples from 12 cities on how they are helping those furthest from the labour market to find employment. Among the examples is Tilburg, which has established cooperation with trade unions to create two separate work experience programmes designed for young people and older workers.

  • The refugee crisis is at the top of the agenda for many city authorities. Thomas Fabian (pictured), deputy mayor of Leipzig, was joined by other politicians to discuss both short and long term challenges of the crisis. These include the need for cities to have access to the necessary resources to be able to address urgent needs such as shelter, health and housing, and in the longer term, the labour market inclusion of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

  • LinkedIn can be a helpful source of information on the local labour market. Stockholm and Milan are working with the business-oriented social network corporation to map the job markets in their cities and contribute to local policy discussions on talent and skills attraction, retention and strategies.

  • Brussels Capital Region’s grant scheme, which provides opportunities for entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds with green business plans, has created new sources of employment. This and other examples of how the green economy can provide opportunities for labour market inclusion are featured in our publication on ‘Green jobs for social inclusion’.

In 2016, our social affairs forum will focus on the following priorities: social cohesion and integration of refugees, inclusive labour markets, and tackling deep-seated poverty and homelessness. Our next forum meeting will take place in Nantes on 16-18 March 2016.

EUROCITIES staff contact

Silvia Ganzerla