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Unmasking Greece's housing crisis

A roundtable Discussion on EU strategies and a call for a new Housing paradigm

Brussels, Belgium, 21 February 2024 | Published in Future of the EU & Housing

The lack of social housing in Greece is becoming a serious social problem making the Mediterranean tourist country extremely unaffordable for ordinary households, with big flows of unknown investors and a non-existent housing strategy. Today, Greece is one of the 7 countries with the most severe homelessness problem in the EU. Soaring construction costs and over-profits from real estate, short-term rentals, and distorted tourism models are deepening the issue.

The Greek MEP Stelios Kouloglou from the Left group in the European Parliament and a former well-known journalist organised a roundtable discussion at the European Parliament, inviting Housing Europe, MEP Kim Van Sparrentak from the Greens and Idoia Vilanueva Ruiz from the Left Group, former Minister of Finance of Greece, Euclid Tsakalotos, researchers, activists from Greece, as well as the Mayor of one of Brussels' communes.

The EU has a wide variety of tools through which it can either incentivise socially inclusive and sustainable housing systems or exacerbate the current housing crisis, Housing Europe's Communications Director, Diana Yordanova said. She insisted that eight already existing EU tools have the power to transform our housing systems if people and communities are at the centre of how policy frameworks are being shaped and implemented.

  • EU funding and regulation shape emerging housing systems and reinforce (or potentially undermine) existing ones.
  • State Aid Rules impact housing investments.
  • The Stability and Growth Pact influences how countries allocate funds for housing.
  • European Semester country-specific recommendations impact national housing policies.
  • Capital Markets Union steers money flows.
  • Energy Performance of Buildings Directive shapes neighbourhoods.
  • Energy Efficiency Directive is a make-or-break tool for residential energy use.
  • Short-term rental regulations impact national and local laws.

The call for a new housing paradigm came in different shapes and forms during the event and is surely gaining momentum. Read what it takes to embrace it in our EU election manifesto.