Today, the European Parliament is set to adopt a report proposing concrete policies to address the housing crisis. The Socialists and Democrats Group led the drive to consider access to decent and affordable housing as a human right that must be guaranteed for all Europeans.
Estrella Durá Ferrandis, S&D MEP responsible for social housing said:
“80 million Europeans lack affordable housing. Every day, the number of people who are struggling to pay their rent or the energy bills to heat their homes is growing. Increasingly, middle-income groups are affected by a housing crisis that has severely worsened during the Covid-19 crisis.
“Housing is a human right and all Europeans must have access to decent and affordable housing. To solve the housing crisis, we call for an integrated EU strategy to create a favourable framework for national, regional and local authorities. To guarantee housing for all, we propose a number of progressive policies such as rental price control measures, exclusion of social spending from fiscal policies, rules for hospitality services to avoid touristification, the revision of the housing cost overburden rate, inclusion of housing sustainability criteria and support for the circular economy.
“The S&D Group demands that housing affordability must be included in the European Semester and that National Affordable Housing Plans should be incorporated in the National Reform Programmes. Everybody deserves a place to call home.”
Agnes Jongerius, S&D MEP and spokesperson for employment and social rights added:
“The rampant housing crisis is also a market failure. Housing has become an object of speculation. At the same time, the ‘Airbnb effect’ is speeding up the spiral of rental prices and gentrification to a level where local residents can no longer find and no longer afford housing. We must ensure there is a well-regulated market capable of providing affordable housing to all. We argue that public housing policy should be excluded from the competition and state aid rules, therefore make it possible for EU governments to design their own public housing policy.
“Solving the housing crisis will become a test case for the solidarity and the cohesion of our society. Leaving no one behind means first and foremost putting a roof over everyone’s head.“
Note to the editor:
Next week European progressives are joining forces to put housing at the top of the agenda for the post-Covid-19 recovery, through a series of events marking Housing Week. The PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions, together with the S&D Group, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies, the Party of European Socialists and the City of Vienna, is organising a week of online events from 25 to 29 January 2021, to focus on concrete solutions to the housing crisis, which is affecting millions of people in the EU and which the pandemic has only worsened.