EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum (Oct 2017)

On 25 October 2017, I was invited to give a key-note speech at the conference in Gothenburg of EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum. I have enclosed two emails below from the coordinator from EUROCITIES as I think she explains the event and its purpose as well as my task very well. My presentation can be found in pdf here. There is a lot to say about the European pillar of social rights and my intention is to write a separate article on that later.

5 October 2017
Dear Professor Mikael Stigendal,
My name is Bianca Faragau and I am the coordinator of the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum. Together with the colleagues in Gothenburg city council, I am organising the upcoming event on 25-26 October in Gothenburg.
Let me first thank you for accepting to take the role of keynote speaker at our high-level event. I have read your impressive CV and I am absolutely certain that you are the right person to open our conference with an inspiring speech about social rights and the role of cities. I know that you have been part in plenty of research projects around the topic of how European societies have developed into states of social inclusion with boundaries appearing mainly in the cities. You surely have a vast knowledge and experience as researcher and thematic expert in the URBACT programme.
I will try to shortly describe our event, which is a political event that happens twice a year and gathers mayors, deputy mayors and city representatives to discuss key issues related to social affairs in their cities. This time we will focus on discussing the role of cities in promoting a more social Europe and in delivering on a European Pillar of Social Rights, which is the most recent initiative launched by the European Commission at the highest level of president Juncker. You can find out more information about this Pillar here:
The entire programme of our event is designed to maximize exchange among cities and with invited stakeholders on the principles and rights enshrined in the Pillar. Two high-level panel debates are scheduled, five workshops and five site visits. On the second day of the event, we will adopt a EUROCITIES statement of commitment from cities to deliver on the European Pillar of Social Rights and to ensure social rights for all (you can see the draft statement in attachment). The entire event is aimed at demonstrating the role of cities in ensuring access to social rights and in voicing the expectations of cities for the future of a social Europe. All this is for the purpose of sending a strong message to the EU and member states ahead of the EU Social Summit on 17 November. Our main plan is to advocate for a stronger role of cities at the table of EU policy-makers based on the argument that cities can do more but need financial support from the EU and national level.
Your role as keynote speaker is to inspire the audience and to trigger the discussions about the role of cities in a social Europe. You will have a maximum of 15 minutes for your speech, which would be best if it is a free speech without PowerPoint or other tools which are usually distracting the audience. The format you could envisage is that of a TED talk that is inspiring and captivating the audience into the subject. As for the content of your speech, it would be great if you could start by thinking from the perspective of a citizen inhabiting in a large city like Malmo and Gothenburg. You could launch some interesting questions, food for thought, about how society and cities in particular have developed into a state or a space for social inclusion. You could bring some inspiring examples from your research about the role of a city in helping citizens access their social rights – education, employment, minimum income, housing etc. – and reach their full potential of inclusion and participation in the city. Then you could point at some clear examples of EU policies – e.g. Youth Guarantee, combatting long-term unemployment – that could not be implemented without the contribution of cities to the implementation. You could also use real examples of projects realized in Malmo or Gothenburg to show how average citizens have benefited from the help / support of the city authority. You could end your speech by raising key questions about how cities could improve their role to ensure social rights for all, even for the most vulnerable, how could cities learn from each other and how could they cooperate with the national and EU authorities to making social Europe a reality.
I would be more than happy to discuss this in further detail with you over the phone in the coming days. When would you be available for a phone call or Skype call? How about Monday, 9 October?
Thank you for registering to our online database – this is excellent!
Best regards,

29 October 2017
Dear Mikael,
A big THANK YOU for your excellent keynote speech at our EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum on Wednesday morning. We’ve received very positive feedback about your speech and the key points you made about the disconnection between the economic and social dimensions of the EU growth model. Not only did all panelists refer to your speech, but it also stimulated discussions among all participants whether in workshops or in coffee or lunch breaks. Many thanks for your great work on the speech and capturing all the most important elements that inspired our further debates.
I would like to kindly ask you to please send me your PPT presentation so that it can be made available to all participants by uploading it together with all materials on our event webpage.
For your information, the event was very successful for us both in terms of organisation and content. The announcement of our EUROCITIES statement ‘Social Rights for All’ received a widespread publicity in both the Swedish and the EU media. You can check out the highlights from our meeting as well as our press release here: The photos and sketch art from the meeting are available here:
Thank you very much once again for your excellent contribution to making our event a success! I sincerely hope that we will continue our good collaboration in the future 😊
With best wishes,

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