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European High-level Roundtable on Housing

Bridging the Gap in Affordable Housing

Lyon, 7 June 2019Save the date

Housing Europe joins forces with the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the European Committee of the Regions and the Metropolitan Region of Lyon for a high-level Roundtable discussion as part of the 2nd International Social Housing Festival | June 7th, 11.30-16.30 at the Catholic University of Lyon (UCLY), Campus St. Jean, Place des Archives.

Housing affordability is currently one of the most complex policy challenges our societies in Europe are faced with. Although housing is without any doubt at the top of the political agenda, different levels of policy-making are struggling to identify and implement solutions to this challenge. This is particularly the case for major cities where the mismatch between supply and demand is most extreme.

Building on the efforts of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe which endorsed in 2015 the Geneva UN Charter on Sustainable Housing; Action Plan of the Housing Partnership under the Urban Agenda for the European Union, State of Housing Report, Housing Europe and CoR own-initiative report ‘Towards a European Agenda on Housing’ .This high-level roundtable will bring together senior officials responsible for housing and urban affairs, representatives of local authorities and housing providers, experts and representatives of international organisations to discuss and exchange experiences on how to move forward in bridging the gap in affordable housing.

The event will also launch work of the European Review Panel on Affordable Housing; the Panel consisting of experts in housing policies in Europe is expected to produce an overview of the evidence on the situation of housing affordability in Europe and approaches taken to tackle the challenge at the national, international and local levels.

In two panels, the High-Level Roundtable will focus on the following key questions that will be also addressed by the upcoming Review Panel:

  • What are the phenomena/issues which show a problem with housing affordability? How does this manifest in data/trends that can be monitored, i.e., what is the evidence of the lack of affordability of housing in your city or country?
  • What are major causes for the lack of affordable housing?
  • What policy approaches are used to promote affordability?
  • What are the costs and benefits of different policy approaches and how are they measured?
  • What training/technical assistance is required to support affordable housing provision?


11:30-12:00 Opening of the High-Level Roundtable on Housing

  • Moderator: Cédric Van Styvendael, President, Housing Europe, General Manager of Est Metropole Habitat, Villeurbanne Region, France
  • Welcome remarks:
    • Julien Denormandie, Minister responsible for cities and housing, Ministry of Territorial Cohesion of France (tbc)
    • David Kimelfeld, President of Lyon Metropole


  • Elena Szolgayova, Chair of UNECE Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management, UNECE; and Director General, Ministry of Transport and Construction, Slovak Republic
  • Hicham Imane, Member of the European Committee of the Regions
  • Christophe Lalande, Leader, Housing Unit - Housing and Slum Upgrading Branch, UN-Habitat

12:00-13:30 Session 1: Providing Affordable Housing with a Low Environmental Impact

Moderation by: Ms. Beatriz Corredor Sierra, Member of the Parliament and Former Minister of Housing, Spain

Buildings is one of the major sources of carbon emissions. Therefore, housing needs to meet environmental sustainability standards to substantially lower the environmental impact of the buildings sector. This will require the application of innovative financial instruments. Representatives of national, regional and local governments, international financial institutions, housing providers and other stakeholders will address key issues of decreasing environmental impact of housing and promoting climate neutrality. The participants will share best practices and formulate recommendations for possible solutions and instruments to promote environmental sustainability of housing.


  • Ales Prijon, State Secretary Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning, Slovenia
  • Maja-Marija Nahod, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning of Croatia
  • Jens Schumacher, Permanent Representation of Germany to the EU, Germany

Panel discussion

  • Reinhard Six, Senior Engineer Energy Efficiency Division, European Investment Bank
  • Mårten Lilja, Vice-Chairman, Rijkbyggen, Swedish Housing Cooperatives
  • Marnix Norder, Chairman, Aedes - Dutch Social Housing Federation
  • Andres Jaadla, Chairman, EKYL - Estonian Association of Housing Cooperatives
  • Sven Bergenstråhle, President, International Union of Tenants

13:30-14:30 Lunch break

14:30-16:00 Session 2: Housing as a Service in Welfare 2.0

  • Moderation by Bent Madsen, Chairperson, BL - Danish Social Housing Federation 
    • Putting social inclusion at the heart of affordable housing provision will be essential to meet growing urban challenges such as migration, social exclusion and an ageing population. Dealing with these issues effectively requires stakeholders from different governance levels and sectors to adopt an inclusive and strategic approach to housing. In this context, panellists will be requested to provide their view on how to shift the focus from housing as a mere commodity to housing as service and basic human need.


  • Javier Martin, Secretary General Director for Architecture, Housing and Urban Policy, Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Housing, Spain
  • Daniela Grabmüllerová, Director, International Relations Department, Ministry of Regional Development, Czech Republic
  • Doris Andoni, Director of Housing, Ministry of Finance and Economy, Albania

Panel discussion 

  • Willem Adema, Labour and Social Affairs, OECD
  • Tony Mulhall, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, UK
  • Jaana Närö, Chairperson, KOVA - Finnish Social Housing Federation
  • Bjorn Mallants, Chairperson, VVH - Flemish association of social housing companies
  • Edoardo Reviglio, Chief Economist of CDP,Cassa Depositi e PrestitiRepresentatives of national, regional and local governments, international financial institutions, housing providers and other stakeholders will present and discuss.

 16:00 – 16:30 Wrap Up and Next Steps moderation by Ms. Elena Szolgayova, Chair of UNECE Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management, UNECE

  • Sorcha Edwards, Housing Europe, Secretary General: presentation of Housing Europe’s Affordability Review
  • Michaela Kauer, City of Vienna, Co-Coordinator of the EU Urban Agenda Housing Partnership and Member of EUROCITIES Executive Committee
  • Kerstin Jorna, Deputy Director General, DG ECFIN