Cities can engage with European programmes on sharing knowledge and access funding. Many ESN Members are already doing so.
ESN has over 30 members that represent cities across Europe. Being the level of government closest to citizens, cities play a fundamental role in designing and delivering social services that improve their well-being and welfare.
The EU institutions have been active in promoting and supporting the role of cities in social welfare policies adopting several instruments such as funding programmes. Currently, several initiatives are taking place.
The European Regional Development Fund will finance 20 urban projects, which had been put forward by cities under the fourth call for proposals of the Urban Innovative Actions. On the 20th of September 2019, representatives from the winners of the Access City Award will meet to exchange best practices on accessible tourism. European cities will also have the possibility to contribute to the European Days of Local Solidarity and showcase the importance of their work and how they implement EU cohesion policy at the European Week of Regions and Cities, 7-9 October in Brussels.
Throughout the years, ESN has collected best practices in its Practice Library from ESN members including cities which have implemented innovative projects. In the upcoming year, ESN’s working group on the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals will be focusing on SDG 11, “Sustainable cities and communities” on which Eurostat published the progress of EU countries regarding SDG 11.
Cities need adequate financial support from national governments and the EU to deliver their ambitious plans for social welfare policies. European Structural and Investment Funds are one important source of funding for social services. Negotiations are currently underway on the 2021-2027 funding programme. It is crucial that the new programme takes on board the recommendations that ESN members shared with EU policy-makers during our European Parliament event in April 2019. This is of fundamental importance if the progress made by cities in designing and delivering social welfare policies is to continue.