Social Affairs Forum newsletter

Summer 2017 - Edition 38



EUROCITIES in the news
EU News
News from the cities


If you have any questions or comments about this newsletter, contact Ciara Drohan at


EUROCITIES adopts statement on the future of cohesion policy

Initial reflections indicate that extremely difficult and complex discussions are ahead on the EU budget post-2020.  Brexit, global geopolitical changes, rising populism and Euroscepticism have created greater uncertainty about the size and priorities of the next EU budget. This will undoubtedly impact on the future of cohesion policy, which is currently under intense criticism at different levels for its alleged lack of effectiveness and European added value. Read more

Cities harness the benefits of globalisation

Cities and city networks are recognised for their positive role in harnessing the benefits of globalisation in the European Commission’s reflection paper on the topic published on 10 May. The paper outlines the risks and benefits of globalisation, with a series of challenges the EU must face to fully benefit from a hyper-globalised world. Read more

EUROCITIES launches CITIES GROW project with 16 members in Brussels

The official launch meeting of the CITIES GROW project ‘Cities integrating refugees and migrants through economic activities’ was held on 15-16 May in Brussels. Representatives from all 16 partner cities and 3 expert partner organisations (Migration Policy Group, Migration Policy Institute and Migration Work) attended the two day meeting. Read more

EUROCITIES calls for a stronger role for cities in future EU youth policy

On 3-4 May, EUROCITIES took part in the European Commission’s conference on the future EU Youth Strategy and its priorities. This conference gathered over 200 participants and took place during the European Youth Week. Read more

EUROCITIES welcomes the European Pillar of Social Rights and demands for cities to be involved

On 26 May, the European Commission adopted its proposal on the European Pillar of Social Rights. The pillar aims to update the European social model in light of changing economic and labour markets. It sets out 20 key principles and rights to support fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems. They concern equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions, and social protection and inclusion. EUROCITIES welcomes the pillar but demands for cities to be involved. Read more

EUROCITIES takes part in the Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth 2017

On 24 April, the European Commission held the Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth. It brought together policy makers and civil society to discuss what the EU can do to ensure that all citizens reap the benefits of truly inclusive growth. This year, the one-day event focused on the social inclusion of young people and the solutions that exist for them to reach their full potential. Read more

Highlights from EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum in Lisbon

Deputy mayor of Barcelona Laia Ortiz, and deputy mayor of Malmo, Andreas Schönström,  chair and vice chair of the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum respectively, addressed EU institutions and national governments via a video address from our EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum meeting on 3 April in Lisbon, where they discussed deep seated urban poverty and tackling rising inequalities. Find out more and watch the video.


  • Mentoring visit on migration and integration in Thessaloniki, 10-12 July
  • Mentoring visit on migration and integration in Milan, 27-29 June
  • European city seminar on new skills for an inclusive labour market in Hengelo, 25-26 September. Register here.
  • Meeting of working group smart social inclusion, Hengelo, 25-26 September
  • Meeting of working group migration and integration in Helsinki, 28-29 September
  • Meeting of working group employment in Gothenburg, 23-24 October
  • Meeting of working group homelessness in Gothenburg, 23-24 October
  • Meeting of working group urban ageing in Gothenburg, 23-24 October
  • Social affairs forum meeting in Gothenburg, 25-26 October - focus on the role of cities in delivering the European Pillar of Social Rights
EUROCITIES is the political platform for major European cities towards the EU institutions. We network the local governments of over 130 of Europe’s largest cities and 40 partner cities that between them govern some 130 million citizens across 35 countries.


Save the date - social affairs forum, 25-26 October 2017 in Gothenburg

The next social affairs forum meeting will be a great opportunity for cities to voice their expectations for the future of a social Europe and to send a strong message to the EU and member states ahead of the EU Social Summit on 17 November.

Read more

Social enterprises flourishing in Brno

On 1 - 2 June, the working group smart social inclusion met in Brno. The event included a visit to the impact hub of the city, to social enterprises and discussions on how cities can harness the potential of social entrepreneurship for the benefit of their citizens.

Read more

Cities look to innovation to care for an ageing population

Our working group urban ageing met on 19 May in Brussels, the day after participants attended the conference ‘Innovation in Care: How to improve quality of life and services for an ageing population?’.

Read more

Working group employment meets in Stockholm

Twenty city representatives from 10 EUROCITIES member cities attended the meeting and discussed some of the challenges they face in promoting employment measures at local level: integration of migrants and refugees, promotion of employability through skills development (for adults, low skilled and highly skilled workers) and use of public procurement to create job opportunities.

Read more

Working group housing discusses inclusiveness and limited profit housing associations in Vienna

On 3 - 4 May, members of the working group housing gathered in Vienna to discuss inclusiveness in the housing market and the role of limited profit housing associations in the provision of affordable housing. The meeting explored their range of activities and legal architecture in various cities.

Read more

EUROCITIES members address top priorities for migration and integration in cities

On 5 - 6 April 2017, 37 EUROCITIES members from 25 cities met in Lisbon, following the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum. They were joined by guests from the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) and from the European Commission’s DG REGIO.

Read more

Video - Cities meet in Lisbon to discuss local strategies for Roma participation

On 5-6 April, the working group Roma inclusion met in Lisbon. The meeting brought together representatives from 15 cities and the European Commission (DG EMPL, DG REGIO and the FRA) to discuss local approaches to encourage Roma participation. For the first time Roma people were also present at the meeting and took part in the discussions, sharing their experiences and views.

Read more and watch our video on the working group.

Cities and the future of EU integration funding

EUROCITIES was involved in a series of events on 28, 29 and 30 March, which focused on the use of EU funds to foster the reception and integration of third country nationals, asylum seekers and refugees.

Read more

Solidarity Cities: What’s new?

It’s been a year since the Solidarity Cities initiative was announced by the mayor of Athens, Georgios Kaminis, during the meeting of the European Capitals in April 2016. Since then, EUROCITIES and its members have been working to make the idea of solidarity between cities on the refugee crisis a reality on the ground.

Read more

Video - social affairs forum in Lisbon on 3-4 April
On 3-4 April, the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum held a meeting in Lisbon. A record number of 140 representatives from over 40 cities gathered to discuss effective ways to prevent and respond to deep-seated poverty and rising inequality in cities.

Watch our video with the highlights from the forum.

Cities take part in training on children’s rights at the European Parliament

On 7 June 2017, the Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup (ARDI) at the European Parliament organised a capacity building training session on children’s rights. Two cities, Barcelona and Timisoara, sent one representative each to attend this training. The representatives, social workers by background, participated actively in three workshops: children in the context of migration, access to justice and children in vulnerable situations (children living in poverty, Roma children, children with disabilities, LGBTI children).

Read more

New survey on the European Social Fund from the perspective of cities

EUROCITIES has launched a survey to collect evidence from members about their experiences with the European Social Fund from 2014-2017. The evidence collected will be used for our advocacy work to influence the European Commission’s proposal on the future of the European Social Fund after 2020.

Mapping the situation of Roma in European cities

This year marks the mid-term review of the EU Roma Framework for the National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020. The European Commission has launched a reflection on the past achievements and what the future EU approach to Roma inclusion should be after 2020. EUROCITIES has launched a survey to collect evidence of the situation of Roma in cities through a mapping exercise. This mapping explores the characteristics of Roma communities living in our cities, the challenges they face and city responses to these challenges.

Read more

EUROCITIES in the news

Barcelona calls on cities to address poverty at EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum

At the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum in Lisbon in April, deputy mayor of Barcelona, Laia Ortiz called on  EU institutions to prioritise addressing poverty in cities.
- El Periódoco
- Aldia Catalunya

Cities ask EU to put people first

Cities are ready to step up and play their part in tackling social challenges and ending poverty but they need the resources to do so, writes Laia Ortiz.

EU News

New Skills Profile tool to help non-EU nationals enter the labour market

On 19 June, The EU Skills Profile Tool for Third Country Nationals was launched by the European Commission. It is an off and online web editor that makes it possible for non-EU nationals to present their skills, qualifications, and experiences in a way that is well understood by employers, education and training providers and organisations working with migrants across the European Union.

Read more

Strong emphasis on local level in the 2017 country-specific recommendations

On 22 May, the European Commission published the country specific recommendations (CSRs) for 2017. EUROCITIES welcomes the stronger emphasis on local level as well as the increased focus on social priorities. However, despite some progress in balancing social and economic objectives in the CSRs, EUROCITIES believes more can be done.

Read more

Youth employment: are we going in the right direction?

The results for 2017 Joint Employment Report’s Scoreboard of Key Employment and Social Indicators are now out. These indicators look at policy efforts to address challenges for young people, including unemployment and inactivity. The rate of those not in employment, education or training (NEET) declined by 5.3% between 2013-2016.

Read more

What is the future of social Europe?

On 26 April, the same day the proposal on the European Pillar of Social Rights was launched, the European Commission released its reflection paper on the social dimension of Europe. This reflection paper sets out the future challenges and possible directions for a more social Europe. This is a direct follow up to the White Paper presented by the European Commission on 1 March.

Read more

European wages have not recovered from the crisis

Close to a decade later, wage growth is far from matching pre-crisis rates. In fact, seven countries show negative wage-growth since 2008: Hungary, Portugal, Cyprus the United Kingdom, Italy, Croatia and Greece, the latter retaining the highest negative growth at 3.1%.

Read more

News from the cities

New developments in The Traffic agent app

The Traffic Agent app developed by the city of Oslo was shortlisted for the EUROCITIES award for innovation in 2015. It is now entering a new phase and offers possibilities for further developments Europe-wide.

Read more

Cities in action: Glasgow adopts cooperative model

Glasgow City Council is changing the way it works internally and with external organisations to make a greater difference to city life. By supporting cooperatives and social enterprises, and devolving power to local people, it is finding effective and sustainable new ways of rising to economic and social challenges.

Read more

Tilburg refugee competence card

Tilburg has developed a competence card for refugees seeking work, which details their training and work experience for potential employers.

Read more.

Ghent – helping migrants to integrate thanks to mediators

Ghent City Council employs Slovak and Bulgarian mediators to help eastern European migrants integrate more easily into the work force.

Read more.

If you don’t want to receive this Newsletter anymore, please send an email to

This publication has received financial support from the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation "EaSI" (2014-2020).

For further information please consult:

The information contained in this publication does not necessarily reflect the official position of the European Commission.

EUROCITIES | Square de Meeûs 1 • 1000 Brussels, Belgium • T : +32 2 552 08 53 •