Social economy to combat long-term unemployment – Highlights from the policy transfer in Lille Metropole

  • economy

Fighting unemployment is inseparable from the ideal society we want to build. This is the ambition which leads Marc Godefroy, Counsellor and Lille Metropole’s team in their actions to fight long-term unemployment.

To support the 61 000 long-term unemployed of the area, Lille Metropole has developed a specific set of strategies towards employment, with a specific focus on social economy as a way to reach those furthest from the labour market. Within the framework of a national law adopted in 2016, the metropole implemented a pilot project of ‘communities with no more long-term unemployment’. There, no one is considered unemployable. Without any selection process and on the basis of the skills of the people, their projects and the local needs, the previously long-term unemployed are hired in open-ended contracts and provided with the opportunity to develop their activity (such as urban market gardening, house service, social solidarity grocery, solidarity garage etc.) 150 contracts have been signed so far, funded under the understanding that this money is invested in people rather than in the benefits they would be entitled to.

This innovative approach was the focus of the joint policy transfer between the working groups Employment, Smart Social Inclusion and Entrepreneurship and SMEs on 27-29 May 2019. The 39 experts from 15 cities could engage in discussions to transfer know-how from Lille Metropole’s practice, but also debate with high level representatives from the European Commission, the European Parliament, the OECD and the French Ministry. A site visit complemented the policy transfer to get the perspective of project managers and beneficiaries from the ‘Job Factory’

The aim of this meeting was to transfer know-how from Lille Metropole’s good practices on fighting long-term unemployment through social economy, by engaging in a mix of sites visits, presentations and discussion with key local stakeholders and decision makers. Participants analysed the key success factors and developed actions for three cities with specific challenges related to long-term unemployment:

Key messages from the meeting were:

·         Social economy can be a major driver for inclusion and combating long-term unemployment

·         The city perspective enables sensitivity to local differences while ensuring a multi-dimensional response in cooperation with different stakeholders

·         Adopting a bottom-up participatory approach enables to build on the capacities of the long-term unemployed and the needs of the neighbourhood.

·         City experts were inspired by the licence to innovate and experiment, which includes the right to make mistakes

·         Lille Metropole adopted a job first approach on this project which is linked to other forms of support

The transferability of the best practice from Lille was then further reinforced by working with 3 cities facing similar challenges in combating long-term employment. Following the presentation of their challenge, city experts provided advices and drafted potential solutions to help Amsterdam, Bristol and Cluj Napoca address the situation.

This activity is part of the EUROCITIES mutual learning programme for cities working on employment at local level, which receives funding support from the European programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) under the strategic partnership with the European Commission DG EMPL.

Learn more about this policy transfer by reading the report of the meeting below or by watching the watching the video here:


   AGENDA___innovative_solutions_to_combat_LTU_through_social_economy__Lille__27-29_Maydownload/preview this file
    PPT_ next WG meeting Skills Navigator Presentaion_ 14-15 November, Ghentdownload/preview this file
    PPT_WG employment business meetingdownload/preview this file
    PPT_Lille Metropole - Strategy for economic development and employmentdownload/preview this file
    PPT_OECDdownload/preview this file
    Report WG empl 'innovative solutions to combat LTU through social economy' in Lille, 27-29 Maydownload/preview this file

EUROCITIES staff contact

Patricia CoutiPolicy advisor

EUROCITIES staff contact

Solene Molard