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EU Pillar of Social Rights: Writing a new chapter in the EU story?

Access to social housing and EU funds post-2020

CoR, Brussels, 8 March 2018Save the date

Policy Breakfast | 8 March 2018 | 9.00-11.00 | European Committee of the Regions - Jacques Delors Building, Rue Belliard 99-101, 1040 Brussels, room JDE 53 (5th floor)

 At a moment when the future budget as the whole the next day of the EU as a whole is being discussed, Housing Europe initiates a debate that makes the link between the milestone of the Pillar of Social Rights and the access to EU funds in the post-2020 era. Of course, we will be focusing part of the discussion on provision of affordable housing, in particular from the perspective of one essentially vulnerable group when it comes to access to housing, the Youth.

Join a line up of experts who have been shaping the EU debate over the last months.


Moderation: Sorcha Edwards, Housing Europe Secretary General


  • Welcome 

- CoR Member, Hicham Imane (PES, Belgium – Charleroi), Rapporteur of the EU CoR Opinion 'Towards an EU Agenda for affordable housing'

- CoR Member (ALDE, Estonia) and Housing Europe Board Member, Andres Jaadla

  • Opening speech

MEP Brando Benifei (S&D, Italy), Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Intergroup on Youth Issues and Member of the Parliamentary Committee on Employment and Social Affairs


Understanding the EU Pillar for Social Rights: social housing as an essential right for the 21st EU Welfare State

  • Raquel Cortes Herrera, European Commission, Deputy Head of Unit, Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs 
  • Kélig Puyet, Social Platform Director
  • Anna Widegren, Secretary General of the European Youth Forum
  • Presentation of the relevant Housing Europe Briefing by Housing Europe Research Coordinator, Alice Pittini

10:00-10:15 | Q & A

10:15-11:00 | Implementing the EU Pillar for Social Rights: the key role of the European Structural and Investment Funds

  • Lieve Fransen, Senior Adviser to European Policy Centre on health, social and migration policies & Editor of the report ‘Boosting Investment in Social Infrastructure in Europe’
  • Torsten Hubertus Arndt, Senior Expert, European Commission, Secretariat-General, policy-coordination unit for employment, social affairs and education
  • Laurent Ghekiere, Chair of Housing Europe Observatory & Head of EU Affairs, L'Union Sociale pour l’ Habitat

Background information

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At the Social Summit that took place on November 17th in Gothenburg, Sweden the heads of state and government adopted the European Pillar of Social Rights that was proposed by the European Commission in April. The aim of the European Pillar of Social Rights is “to serve as a guide towards efficient employment and social outcomes”, but this text will have no binding force.

Despite this, for the first time in an official text of the EU adopted by all member states, “access to social housing” is recognized as one of the “principles and rights essential for fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems in 21st century Europe”. 

This reflects a change in the political approach which creates the necessary momentum to put forward concrete implementation measures in the coming years.

At the same time, halfway through the programming period 2014-2020 for the European Structural and Investment Funds Housing Europe has analyzed with its latest report the impact of these financing tools as far as housing is concerned. The approach of Cohesion Policy has significantly improved towards housing compared to the last period: larger budget for housing, specific allocations in INTERREG and UIA, better combination of funds and more strategic focus. Combining the Structural Funds with the so-called ‘Juncker Plan’ and other programmes also brings new hybrid opportunities of financing besides only private or public support.

Housing Europe, the European Federation of Public, Cooperative and Social Housing organises a breakfast policy debate that will be hosted by the European Committee of the Regions in the aftermath of the adoption of its Opinion ‘Towards a European Agenda for Housing’. The event will bring together key decision makers at EU level with affordable housing providers from across Europe as well as representatives of various strands of civil society with emphasis on Youth. How can the Member States better address the challenge of the actual implementation of the Pillar, while their respective starting points vary a lot? What is the best way to unlock the potential of the European Structural and Investment Funds for housing in the period 2018-2020? Why should offering adequate housing solutions to young people be one of the priorities?