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"Strong social housing providers are vital for European cities"

EU mayors and European Commissioner highlight the importance of our sector

Amsterdam, 25 April 2016 | Published in Social
Commissioner Cretu meets Marc Calon
Commissioner Cretu meets Marc Calon

"European cities need a supply of housing which is affordable for a broad range of citizens and enables high standards of liveability in our neighbourhoods. Strong social housing providers can play a vital role in this but the current state-aid approach, fiscal controls and limitations in access to funding for social housing by the European Commission risk limiting the quality of life in our urban areas."

The Mayors of the EU Capital Cities clearly acknowledge the role and the potential of public, cooperative and social housing providers in their Declaration, signed in Amsterdam on April 21st. The heads of the leading European cities came together for their 5th Direct Dialogue with the European Commission. The meeting centred on four major challenges currently facing cities: affordable housing, air quality and transport, radicalisation and the integration of refugees. 

The mayors concluded the meeting by unanimously adopting the Declaration on the EU Urban Agenda and Refugee Crisis, showing willingness to work on a European solidarity network between capitals for the reception of refugees. In the final declaration the mayors emphasize that "social housing can play a vital role in providing housing and liveable neighbourhoods."

Corina Creţu represented the European Commission as she is responsible for Regional and Urban Development. In her keynote address she highlighted the added value of social housing for cities, too. The Commissioner also had a brief meeting with the President of Housing Europe and Chairman of Aedes, Marc Calon.

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Marc handed to Commissioner Cretu information about the work of Housing Europe on Structural Funds and he shared with her the demands of the "Housing for All" campaign, introducing the European Responsible Housing Awards. At the same time Mrs. Cretu received the first copy of the publication Dutch Social Housing in a Nutshell that presents numerous examples of how social landlords take up the challenges discussed at the conference. "In the Netherlands, housing associations are essential long-term investors in affordable housing and liveable neighbourhoods. Investments in stones are accompanied by actions towards citizens and communities.", explained Marc.

Housing Partnership

Housing Europe as well as its Dutch member, Aedes participate in the Housing partnership of the European Urban Agenda. The partnership gathers member states, cities, experts, NGOs and European institutions. The aim is to draw the attention to the effects of European policies on residents, cities and affordable housing, and improve EU policies, funding and knowledge.