Where next for the European housing sector? How can housing head towards a sustainable future? On the eve of a shaping year for the EU with the most important elections in the recent European history just a few months away the Housing Ministers of the member states will meet in Brussels working on responses to major questions of the sector. On December 9 and 10 the ministers will be attending an informal meeting initiated and hosted by the regional housing ministers in Belgium.
CECODHAS Housing Europe will take part in the meeting with its president, Kurt Eliasson contributing with the proposals of the organization. Housing and social infrastructure create sustainable and peaceful communities. Europe needs to prove that the recognized fundamental right to housing is indeed a priority and fight the current diverging growth paths between Member States by redefining solidarity.
This can only happen if the sustainable financing of the housing sector can be secured as the 2020 milestone keeps getting closer. A European Housing Fund within the EIB group- which is made up of the European investment bank and the European investment fund (EIF)- could stimulate the return of the current policies. According to the article 28 of the protocol on the statutes of the European Investment Bank it is possible to envisage the creation of an entity dedicated to investment in sustainable housing.
“There is no time to hesitate, we have to take advantage of all the tools and of every possibility available to secure the sustainable financing of the housing sector”, explains the President of CECODHAS Housing Europe, Kurt Eliasson.
Figures provide solid proof for the urgency of the need for action:
- On average Europeans spend over a fifth of their income (22.9%) on housing (Eurostat)
- 17.8% of the European population lived in overcrowded dwellings in 2009 (Eurostat)
- 6% of the European population, more than 12 million people, suffered from severe housing deprivation in 2009 (Eurostat)
Alongside with the European Housing Fund CECODHAS Housing Europe will file following proposals to the Housing Ministers of the EU:
The effective urban regeneration of large as well as smaller cities is another challenge towards the “Cities of Tomorrow” the European Commission was talking about in 2011. CECODHAS Housing Europe highlights that urban development financing products that could support different types of investments both with high and short term financial returns need to be developed.
While the EU as a whole still experiences in 2013 a decrease of its GDP, some member states are in an even worse situation making for them almost impossible to dedicate budget to investments and EU projects. The risk of non-use of the Structural Funds, because of the lack of national and regional cash funds, increases. This is why it has to be ensured that the special provisions for these Member States experiencing or threatened with serious difficulties with respect to their financial stability, are prolonged.
Since housing policy makers at all levels need sound knowledge and balanced advice about the measures that ought to be taken and due to the growing demand for more information about new technologies or practices that will help build more affordable and energy efficient homes, an Independent European Housing Observatory providing with national and EU-wide data as well as carrying out research would be of great value for member states and regions.