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Keeping alive a platform of cooperation for EU urban and housing issues

Housing Europe welcomes the approval of the URBAN Intergroup of the European Parliament for 5 more years

Brussels, 11 December 2014 | Published in Energy, Economy, Social
At one of the URBAN Intergroup meetings
At one of the URBAN Intergroup meetings

Following a long procedure that had started just after the European Election last May, the Conference of Presidents has been officially approved today, December 11th, the 28 European Parliament intergroups. The URBAN intergroup, supported by Housing Europe, is among them.

The URBAN Intergroup at the European Parliament is a cross-parties and cross-committees grouping with a horizontal approach to discuss urban related issues. Housing is included among the priorities of the body as it has been made clear during its previous term, from 2009 to 2014. Therefore, Housing Europe alongside with its 42 member organisations from 22 countries is happy to continue being part of this intergroup and to exchange views with around 70 MEPs from most political groups as well as with more than 100 partners from local, regional, national and European level.

As a result of this exchange and cooperation over the last legislative period, the place of housing within the European Structural and Investment Funds has been made clear, ensuring that the sector was made eligible for them. It is important, for instance, that the President of the intergroup, Jan Olbrycht, has been the ERDF rapporteur, too.

Almost all European cities face an increasing demand for affordable housing while they are confronted with a lack of finance to fund investment in the sector. We really hope that the URBAN Intergroup will raise awareness on these issues and continue its valuable work’, said Housing Europe Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards. 

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The raison d’ etre of the URBAN Intergroup as explained on its webpage:

Over 70% of Europe’s population live in urban areas and that towns and cities are increasingly seen as the engines driving national and regional economies; however, at the same time many problems of social or environmental nature lay in urban areas.

According to the subsidiarity principle, urban policy is not an EU competence. Nevertheless, about three quarters of the EU legislation is implemented at local and regional levels and has a direct impact on Europe’s towns and cities.

MEP Jan Olbrycht (EPP, Poland) has been leading the informal body over the last legislative period expressed his satisfaction regarding the continuation of the work of the intergroup.

I am very happy that tree political groups supported the re-establishment of the URBAN Intergroup in this term of the European Parliament. I hope that URBAN Intergroup will be very active in coming years to raise urban related issues in close cooperation with our partners’, he said talking to Housing Europe.

The work fields of the URBAN Intergroup include a number of subjects linked to sustainable development of urban areas such as: environment and energy efficiency, urban transport, housing, social aspects (social exclusion, migration, ageing of the population), services of general interest (SGEI), local public finances and more.

Full list of Intergroups

The European Parliament intergroups for 2014 to 2019 are as follows:

  1. Ageing and intergenerational solidarity
  2. Anti-racism & Diversity
  3. Sustainable Hunting, Biodiversity, Countryside Activities and Forests
  4. Children's Rights
  5. Climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development
  6. Public Goods and Services
  7. Creative Industries
  8. Digital Agenda
  9. Disability
  10. Extreme poverty and human rights
  11. Development of European Tourism, Cultural Heritage, Ways of Saint James and other European Cultural Routes
  12. Freedom of Religion, Belief and Religious Tolerance
  13. Integrity - Transparency, Anti-corruption and Organised Crime
  14. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Rights – LGBT
  15. Long-term investment and reindustrialisation
  16. Rural, Mountainous and Sparsely-Populated Regions
  17. Seas, Rivers, Islands and Coastlines
  18. SME "small and medium-sized enterprise"
  19. Sky and Space
  20. Social Economy
  21. Sports
  22. Trade Unions
  23. Traditional National Minorities, Constitutional Regions and Regional Languages
  24. Urban Issues
  25. Welfare and Protection of Animals
  26. Western Sahara
  27. Wine, Spirits and Food Quality
  28. Youth Issues