(19 June 2019) Europe’s public service unions say that housing must be social and affordable for all. The European Federation joins the efforts of many unions and organisations to collect a million signatures and put housing on the European agenda. Housing is a human right and not a commodity. We demand better EU legislation for affordable, public and social housing in Europe.
Young workers, low income households and many workers are confronted with rising housing prices in many capital cities in Europe. More and more people in Europe are in trouble because of their housing costs. It is estimated about 82 million people in the EU are overburdened with housing costs. The waiting lists for subsidised, public and affordable apartments grow longer and longer. The number of homeless people is increasing rapidly. This can not go on.
The ECI Housing for all want to do something about this. There is a huge need for investments in affordable, social and public housing all over Europe. The agenda of austerity has impacted the building of housing. The European legal and financial framework should not block cities and municipalities in their efforts to create affordable housing. It recognises the right to housing as a human right. It demands easier access for all to affordable, public and social housing. The socalled Maastricht criteria (of the Economic and Monetary Union) should not apply to public investment in affordable, public and social housing. Public and non-profit housing developers should have better access to European funding. The investment gap in the EU is about 57 billion euros per year. The fiscal framework of the EU and the EU’s state aid law are hindering cities and municipalities in their efforts to crate affordable and social housing space.
Many workers and families are forced out of cities. This leads to commuting over long distances every day to work or study in the city. And that brings with it environmental and climate challenges, as well as for many women and men additional difficulties to balance family and working life having to juggle with bringing kids to school and engaging in activities with the children or people dependent on care for example.
We should recognise that Global investors (including pension funds, hedge funds) are buying up properties in streets and districts, speculating on high profits. It is not about housing for them, it is about making money. And another problem is that short-term letting to tourists via digital platforms reduce the available living space for the local population dramatically.
EPSU’s Executive Committee therefore decided to join a growing group of unions, social housing organisations, municipalities and others to advocate for the European Citizens Initiative Housing for All.
We encourage all to sign the petition and put this issue on the European agenda to deal with the European obstacles that social and public housing are facing.
The EPSU Executive took the decision 15 May 2019