On Friday 17 November, European heads of state and government met in Gothenburg, Sweden, for a summit dedicated to social Europe. The voice of civil society was represented by Social Platform (of which Housing Europe is a member) who highlighted the crucial need to tackle social issues together in Europe. At the Summit the heads of state and government adopted the European Pillar of Social Rights that was proposed by the European Commission in April. This is a historic moment for Europe, not only because since the last dedicated Summit 13 years passed but also because of the strong commitment of EU leaders to stand by these 20 principles and rights. 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 labor 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.
To make sure that this will be followed by actions and that Member States will invest in access to social housing, Housing Europe will monitor with its Members over the next year the national policy developments in the field of housing as well as the policy recommendations made by the European Commission within the framework of the European Semester 2018 and to evaluate the impact of Pillar.