Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Local and regional governments as employers

Social dialogue - 16.11.2016

CEMR & EPSU join forces in Barcelona for local public services
CEMR and EPSU held a joint conference in Barcelona on 14 November to present the main findings of their project on “New forms of service delivery for municipalities, the contribution of social dialogue and good practice for well-being at work”.

Digitalisation, migration, age management, health and safety at work - many different issues concerning employment at local level lead to new forms of public service delivery, and were addressed during the conference.

Here is the wrap-up with a focus on the afternoon panel debate on “the future of local and regional administrations in Europe: challenges and opportunities”.

Integrating refugees and migrants: the experience of Barcelona City Council

Director of Immigration and Interculturality of Barcelona City Council, Ramon Sanahuja, spoke about Barcelona’s work in the field of integration of migrants and refugees. Interesting statement of his: “Integration cannot be created by law. It is a social process that happens very slowly at the local level.” Barcelona City Council Secretary General, Jordi Cases, added that we are at a time of institutional crisis, which leads to the need for the institutional strengthening of local government, and the need for a European regulatory framework.

EU Commission: “local governments should suggest how funding programs should work”

EU Commission Policy Officer, Florian Hauser, spoke of public administration in Europe. According to him, local governments should highlight the areas where difficulties exist, and give their perspective to the EU. That would be very useful for the Commission in order to make funding programs for local governments as efficient as possible.

Finance is the root of many challenges: words from the UK

Councillor of Hillingdon, David Simmons, stressed that in local government, “all the different issues somehow have a root in the financial situations that we face” – talking about how difficult it can be for some towns and cities to overcome their challenges when they have such limited access to resources.

EPSU secretary general: building a social Europe together

EPSU Secretary General, Jan Willem Goudriaan, stressed the importance of an EU pillar of social rights, and also explained how climate change is a big challenge to current and future generations. He stated that EPSU wants to work with CEMR – namely by addressing the Commission together – so we can build a social Europe together.

One of the moderators at the conference was CEMR Executive Director for European Affairs, Angelika Poth-Mögele, who answered that it would make sense for CEMR and EPSU to present their activities together at EU level – it is a discussion that needs to be continued.

This conference was opened by EPSU co-chair of the Social Dialogue Committee, Mads Samsing, and closed by CEMR co-chair of the Social Dialogue Committee, Malin Looberger.

Next step: 5 December – the next social dialogue meeting, where all social partners should approve a framework on well-being at work and a guidelines document on migration, all concerning local government as public service employers.


Hamza Bennis
Officer - Employment, Digitalisation and Public Services

Email :
Tel : + 32 470 88 33 42
Skype :
CEMR and EPSU respectively represent the employers and the employees in social dialogue in the sector at European level.
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