The agenda for housing
Reviewing the manifestos of the European Political GroupsBrussels, 22 May 2014 | Published in Economy, Social
As the countdown to the European Elections comes to an end, we review the electoral manifestos of the various political groups, trying to locate housing...
The countdown to the European Elections 2014 has just finished in some countries like the Netherlands and the UK, where people have already started casting their votes to elect the new MEPs to the European Parliament for the period 2014-2019. The fear of an increase of the extreme and the radical representation has prevailed in the pre-electoral time and has also been a serious point that was raised during the numerous debates among the candidates for the presidency of the European Commission.
At the finish line of this intense preparatory time in light of probably the most challenging European Elections ever, CECODHAS Housing Europe attempts to trace where housing stands within the manifestos of the main political groups. Most of the excerpts from the manifestos are not directly housing related, but refer to measures that one way or another would affect the housing sector.
“EPP supports a European Union that tackles the big issues together, leaving the smaller issues to the capable responsibility of individual countries”. Housing is part of the “smaller issues” that are tackled at national level.
“The cornerstone of EPP policy is the idea of the Social Market Economy. This precept aims to balance the principles of freedom and solidarity. We understand that the advantages of a free market must serve the common good, so that social cohesion is achieved. Simply put, the economy should serve the people, and not the other way around!” CECODHAS Housing Europe shares the notion that economy should serve the people and this should also be clear in the reform of the banking sector…
As far as energy efficiency is concerned “the EPP Group believes that it needs both funding and reasonable policies to un-tap the energy efficiency potential of Europe”, while it supports the use of Structural Funds to trigger more such renovations across the EU.
European Socialists and Democrats (PES)
Social Housing is included in one of the 10 priorities presented in the PES manifesto:
“Towards a Social Europe
The right wing has used neoliberal policies to cut provisions that have helped people bounce back after tough times. We will fight for a Europe that leaves no one behind. A decent income, the quality and affordability of education, of housing, including social housing, of healthcare, childcare and elderly care, as well as the adequacy of pensions are crucial components of our societies. To achieve these aims, the EU must support Member States in the effective and fair redistribution of wealth and opportunities. Binding targets on employment, education and social cohesion are essential. Social policy objectives must be respected in all European policies. We need to ensure that the EU is a real Social Union as much as it is an Economic Union: economic freedoms cannot outweigh social rights. We will give opportunities for Europeans to develop their potential by investing in education, skills, childcare provision, life-long learning, culture, student mobility, research, and knowledge.”
CECODHAS Housing Europe is willing to share concrete policy proposals and good practices on how “affordability of housing” may be secured for everyone.Read More
Following the Delli Report that led to a European Parliament resolution for social housing in June 2013 the European Green Party addresses social housing and the various needs of the sector in its manifesto.
“Greens mobilise under the banner of social justice against social exclusion, of sustainability against austerity. We want to live our lives as people for whom security and opportunity are not just tales from yesteryear. Here, without doubt, the EU must change direction! We want to fight against youth unemployment, against homelessness, against poverty and hopelessness. Where member states individually refuse or fail to deliver, we can overcome that together as European citizens. Let us build a social Europe.”
“We want the European Central Bank (ECB) to include macroeconomic and financial stability among its policy objectives, which also includes employment promotion. Moreover, to boost employment in Europe we need to work further to make the project of the single market fully operational, particularly in the area of free movement of workers and services. We advocate the inclusion of a social progress clause in European law, which would emphasise the priority of building a social Europe.”
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE)
ALDE stresses the need for a new direction of the EU economy:
“Setting new priorities
We need to rethink the whole budget process. We believe in a larger strategic objective to determine how our money is best spent. We call for an extensive reform of the financial system of the Union, both revenues and expenditure, ensuring that no countries contribute disproportionally. Budget decisions should take into consideration how best to increase the number of jobs and improve people’s lives and the welfare of our communities. The budget must be growth-oriented.”
"Relaunch economic activity
We propose the creation of a European public bank of social and solidarity-based
development. In contrast to the European Stability Fund, it would distribute funding for projects on the basis of social and environmental criteria. Funded from the ECB, a share of the EU budget and the taxation of financial transactions and revenues, it would free public investment from the financial markets and would in this respect disarm speculators.
Budgets must be directed towards solidarity, and aid to individuals and countries in difficulty. They should aim to reduce social, regional and gender inequalities.“
No matter where housing stands before the elections for the political groups, CECODHAS Housing Europe, the European Federation for Public, Cooperative and Social Housing, has clearly identified “9 secure paths to better homes for a better Europe” in its manifesto. Thanks to our 41 member organizations from 19 countries, we are in position to know the major challenges the affordable housing sector is facing at the moment and so to propose tailored and concrete policy proposals.