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Housing in the Coronavirus European Semester

A COVID-19 impacted version of Country Specific Recommendations

Brussels, 26 May 2020 | Published in Economy, Social, Research
You may download the image from the 'Downloads' section at the bottom of the page so that you can enlarge it and read all the details.
You may download the image from the 'Downloads' section at the bottom of the page so that you can enlarge it and read all the details.

On May 20, the European Commission published its annual Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) as part of the 2020 European Semester. The huge impact of the current Covid19 crisis on the EU economy and society means this year the European Semester is being refocused to reflect this.

This year’s recommendations suggest ‘Member States to implement measures designed to mitigate the immediate health and socio-economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic’ in the short term, and ‘restore growth while supporting the green and digital transitions in the Single Market’ in the long run. CSRs focus on the four dimensions of competitive sustainability: economic stability, social fairness, the Green Deal and productivity and competitiveness, with a special emphasis on health.

By country

Lack of affordable housing is mentioned in the CSRs for Germany, the UK and Ireland. Issues related to housing are also mentioned in the recitals for Greece, the Netherlands, Romania and Sweden -  although not in the recommendations themselves. See the table above and in the 'Downloads' section for details.

You can access the documents by country here

We encourage our members to read their national recommendations and get back to us with their reactions and analysis! Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Alice Pittini.


The ‘chapeau’ communication on the CSRs clearly mentions housing affordability as an urgent issue to deal with and the need for investment in renovation of social housing as part of the recovery.

More specifically, under the ‘social fairness’ axis the document reads ‘To protect households that are overburdened by housing costs, short-term measures may include temporarily suspending evictions and foreclosures or deferring payments of mortgages and rent for low-income families during the crisis, while preserving financial stability and repayment incentives over the medium-term.’

Furthermore, the communication states that ‘Investment in ‘high impact’ infrastructures can help addressing current policy trade-offs and societal imbalances.  [...] including renovation in social housing and dwellings of low-income households [...] Addressing environmental and climate change challenges is also important for preserving human health. In particular, green deal investments are key for tackling air pollution.’

You can read the full text of the Communication here and a shorter Factsheet here.

Next steps

Like every year, the recommendations will be discussed among the governments in the Council, endorsed by EU leaders at a summit in June and formally adopted by the national finance ministers in July.