In times of major crises such the one we are facing right now, strong and coordinated interventions are needed at the central and the local levels of government. In this paper concrete examples are given of the vital role local governments play in the fight against the COVID19 pandemic.
The tasks of local governments are especially difficult in countries where the welfare system is underdeveloped, and cities constitute the last resort for people not protected by other systems. Municipalities can play a crucial role in ensuring that all members of the community are taken care of when the economy is at great risk of collapse.
Some European cities have gone to great lenghts in finding innovative ways to protect vulnerable group: examples include Vienna, Barcelona, Berlin and London. We must not forget that cities are key stakeholders in the fight for environmental sustainability. Their contribution to tackling the present crisis could serve as a blueprint for future social policies that take into consideration the green economy. In many countries, cities are the last bastion of progressive social policies. It is therefore essential that we learn from the mistakes of the past and avoid a renewed wave of austerity against municipal budgets.