As part of our Cities4Europe campaign, Terrassa organised a citizens' consultation to develop recommendations, on social rights relating to housing and work, education and migration and governance and participation, which will be sent to the European Commission.
The event included two presentations, on the European plan from the Catalan Government and our Cities4Europe campaign, and a conference on human rights in Europe followed by a debate with all participants.
The event moderator was Mr Joan Chicón, head of the department for European and International Affairs, Terrassa City Council, other speakers included:
- Mr. Adrián Sánchez, councillor for human rights, Terrassa City Council
- Mrs. Mireia Borrell, general director for foreign relations, the Government of Catalunya
- Mr. Juan Caballero, member of the Cities4Europe campaign, EUROCITIES
- Mrs. Isabel Marquès, ombudswoman of Terrassa
The event resulted in recommendations in three areas:
1. 'Guarantee the right to decent housing and work for all'
Laws must be adapted to promote a decent life in relation to issues such as housing, ensuring that basic social rights are not violated. There is a need to tackle the current repetition of the real estate bubble and the speculation that led to this crisis, whose consequences are still being felt. Legislation must guarantee the right to decent housing through social rental and sale price limitation. There should be social policies and sanctions for property owners and banks to promote decent and social rents before eviction, which can infringe other rights (e.g. childhood, family life) and curb the presence of vultures whose speculation adversely affects people's lives. As energy poverty can cause a new marginalisation, it is necessary to limit business interests in basic service rates such as water and electricity.
Guarantee everyone who does not have the necessary resources, whatever their origin, the right to decent work, the lack of which can cause inequalities in other rights. Also, provide more protection for professionals, through tax improvements and greater equality with other workers, and boost their ability to create jobs.
2. 'Promote welcoming and inclusive societies in areas from migration to education'
Do not close Europe to immigration and fight against mobs who threaten certain groups of people, as in the case of prostitution. Migrants and refugees have a basic right to survive, as they have to leave their countries due to war, economics or persecution. There should be less self-protectionism of the states and more cooperation with the south to put an end to situations that lead to migration and asylum requests.
Promote inclusive education, reduce school segregation and value and guarantee rights to people with diverse abilities.
3. 'Enhance the participation of people and cities indecision making at all levels'
We ask for the role of cities in Europe to be as actors on decision-making boards and as direct managers of policies and funds. We must value the contributions of citizens and promote more citizen participation and the role of citizen thinkers. We must also ensure that all policies are informed by social rights. European economic policies must prioritise social behaviour and not be based purely on economic interests. As an issue of social justice, there must be a real defence of individual freedoms and the thinking of European citizenship as fundamental pillars of the rule of law. We need to train and inform citizens more, with open policies and better channels from the European Union and without party bias.
These citizens' proposals, together with those from other panel events taking place across Europe until the end of February, will be presented at the second mayors summit on the future of Europe on 20 and 21 March 2019.
As part of the mayors summit, which will take place two months ahead of the European Parliament elections in the presence of more than 100 city politicians, EUROCITIES and the European Commission will present the panel results to national and European political leaders.