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Charting a New Housing Course

Insights from the PES Discussions in Portimão

Portimão, Portugal, 5 April 2024 | Published in Social, Future of the EU & Housing

The future of housing policy discussions during the Party of European Socialists in Portimão, southern Portugal was to the point, capturing well some of the most pressing issues politicians must tackle as soon as possible.

Local voices echoed the urgent need for more public, cooperative, and social housing, and the housing crisis is taking a central place in the pre-election debates and commitments. It was quite easy to recognise the New Housing Paradigm our own Housing Europe is calling for in the asks of the draft Portimão declaration, namely, to prioritise fairness, environmental sustainability, and community cohesion over exclusion.

Chairing a session a day before the conference, our Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards, and fellow organisations FEPS Europe, the International Union of Tenants (IUT), and Wiener Wohnen got multiple (tough!) questions on the impact of the housing crisis on youth, housing systems, subsidiarity, what can be done about empty housing, the conditionalities linked to EU and public funds, inflation rates, pro-cyclical measures, and money laundering. Sorcha also joined a debate today on how we can boost the availability of affordable housing.

Strong and promising messages came once more from the EU Commissioner for social rights and jobs, Nicolas Schmit, who said that if he is elected to become the next Commission President, the first summit he would organise would be on housing together with the European Committee of the Regions to make sure that local policymakers are involved.