Between January and June 2019, Romania will lead the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The good news for the affordable housing providers is that Romania aims to bring a contribution to ensure convergence and cohesion in Europe, in order to achieve sustainable and equal development opportunities for all citizens.
Among the main objectives a strong link to the social Agenda of Europe is emphasized:
- taking forward the negotiation process on the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).
- developing the EU social dimension, through the enforcement of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
- advancing the EU agenda in the economic and financial fields, in order to stimulate growth and investment, to deepen the Economic and Monetary Union, as well as to support structural reforms.
- promoting research and innovation, digitalization and connectivity, in order to increase the competitiveness of the European economy and industry.
Ensuring the smooth negotiations of the next budget of the EU is indeed the most important priority of Romania, who is keen to reach an agreement in autumn 2019. The socially oriented Government would like to push for a stronger European Social Fund (ESF) that means greater support for social inclusion, fight against poverty (including energy poverty) and that has a specific objective on access to affordable and quality services such as affordable housing.
The discussion in the Council on the ESF already started which has been fed by the European Parliament. In its recently approved Report on the future ESF, the European Parliament puts several new references to affordable housing which will facilitate the use of the ESF (also in combination with ERDF) for housing related projects.
Since the Council (representing the Member States) is co-legislator, it is important that it adopts the same approach as the European Parliament in relation to housing. The socially oriented Romanian Presidency is in the driver seat to make this happen and its motivation can be already seen now, busy organising a dedicated event on social cohesion and the role of the future EU budget in February 2019 that will create the first occasion of the year to convince the Member States’ Representatives sitting in the Structural Actions Working Party that working towards social cohesion is the future of Europe.
Therefore, it is also timely for affordable housing providers from all levels to use this opportunity to reach the relevant national Representatives to convey their support for the European Parliament’s position in order to maximize support for affordable housing in 2021-2027.