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With crisis looming, S&Ds call for a European plan to ensure decent and affordable housing

Date

04 Oct 2023

Sections

Global Europe

Europe’s housing nightmare is on the European Parliament’s agenda today at the request of the Socialists and Democrats. Over the past 13 years, house prices have increased in 24 EU countries, while rent has increased in 26 EU countries. In several EU countries, housing prices more than doubled. As the housing crisis grips Europe, the S&Ds call for a strong European plan for social investment in housing.

Pedro Marques, S&D vice-president responsible for a social Europe, said:

“Europeans are facing a housing crisis. They are struggling to pay their rent and mortgages. Many, in particular young people, cannot afford a decent home. The risk of homelessness is increasing for those who lose their jobs. The European housing market is failing and we must fix it.

“To tackle this, we are calling for a strong European plan for social investment in housing. Decent housing is a human right, not a commodity. Therefore, we must stop speculation. We must boost investment in green social housing. We have to increase funds to tackle homelessness. Leaving no one behind means first putting a roof over everyone’s head.

“Moreover, we cannot further delay urgent actions to curb the quick rise of mortgage rates. The EU must intervene in the mortgage market, alleviating families that are struggling, as the Portuguese and Spanish governments are doing. It is a matter of social justice.

“Saying that the EU has no competence in housing is just an excuse. When there is a will, there is a way. It happened with the vaccines and with so many other things. We have the will and we challenge all the political groups to be on our side and on the side of the Europeans who need a decent home.”

Agnes Jongerius, S&D spokesperson for employment, added:

“By putting housing on the plenary agenda this week, we amplify the voice of European mayors who have recently adopted a declaration calling on the EU institutions to put access to decent and affordable housing at the heart of the priorities.

“The housing crisis has a negative impact on jobs, social inclusion, and democracy. For example, frontline workers, such as nurses, cashiers, cleaners, public transport drivers, and social service workers can no longer access housing in our cities.

“Housing is a human right and the EU has an essential role to play, in particular, by regulating the intervention of private investors in housing and preventing speculation, by supporting investments in social housing, and by eradicating homelessness.

“We must talk more about what Europe does and could do for people to counter false national narratives. My country keeps pointing the finger at Brussels, blaming the EU for restrictions on social housing, while in Vienna more than half of the people live in social housing with clearly no restrictions from the EU.”

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