Towards a European Agenda for Housing, an update, IUT EU news

The EU Committee of the Regions issued an opinion paper entitled “Towards a European Agenda for Housing”, in December 2017 which highlights the increasing impact of EU policies and rules on the conditions under which Member State and regional and local authority housing policies are put into practice. This concerns the relevant State aid arrangements, the VAT system, the definition of social housing as a service of general economic interest, the rules governing public procurement and public-public cooperation, and country-specific recommendations under the European Semester, with regard in particular to rent controls and housing benefits;

Its objective is: “Provide the impetus needed for a horizontal European approach towards housing”.
Allow the CoR to take part in the broad work underway at inter-institutional level in relation to housing such as the Urban Agenda Partnership on Housing;
Provide a follow-up to the CoR opinions on the Urban Agenda (2016), on the Social Pillar (2016), on State Aid for Services of General Economic Interest (2016) and on an European agenda for social housing (2011) and be related to the on-going opinions on the Energy Efficiency Package (incl. the Review of Directives on Energy Efficiency and of Energy Performance of Buildings) and on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Its key points are stated to be:

– welcomes the fact that the European Pillar of Social Rights, proclaimed by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission at the social summit for fair jobs and growth in Gothenburg on 17 November 2017, includes the right to access to social housing, the right to good quality housing assistance, and the right to assistance and protection for those at risk of eviction;

– following on from the EU Urban Agenda’s Partnership for Housing, calls for the implementation of a European Agenda for Housing that can: ensure better coordination between EU policies and the policies of the Member States, their regions and local authorities; achieve better coordination of EU policies and intervention mechanisms to support these housing policies; and compare how European cities provide affordable housing;

– welcomes the fact that the Commission’s report on the EU Urban Agenda echoes its call for a review of Decision 2012/21/EU with the aim of broadening access to social housing beyond “disadvantaged citizens or socially less advantaged groups”;

– calls for housing investment to be eligible under the post-2020 cohesion policy, in order to better respond to the diversity of local needs.

The rapporteur was received by the Commissioner Vetaeger’s cabinet member Mr Schonberg for a meeting to further discuss the CoR Opinion “Towards a European Agenda for Housing” on 19 February 2018.

Following this meeting and in order to address the issues that local and regional authorities are currently facing in this area, the CoR will host an event on 23 May 2018 organised by the Urban Agenda Partnership on Housing (see event listings for further details)

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