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EU urged to do more to tackle the housing crisis

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has called for more robust EU housing policies to make affordable houses available for all Europeans.

In a conference in Brussels yesterday (December 5) the committee has asked the EU to adopt urgent measures in this field, with the danger of excessive housing costs affecting the whole population.

The committee declared that housing policies at a European level must not be restricted to assisting vulnerable individuals and people in need, but must be broadened to supply affordable homes for all.

Policies should match family needs to promote high-quality and energy-efficient housing, encourage a social mix within buildings and urban areas and tackle segregation.

The ability to exercise the right to housing depends on sufficient availability at affordable prices.

Social housing is a service of general economic interest and is related to fundamental rights such as human dignity and treatment.

It is intended for those households which cannot afford decent accommodation on the traditional property market because their available income is not enough to meet their basic needs.

A household that has to spend more than 33% of its disposable income is considered to be exposed to excessive housing costs and to the high risk of over-indebtedness and exclusion.

The EU currently lacks a unified housing strategy, but EU housing policies are being increasingly mainstreamed into other European measures.

Pierre Jean Coulon, president of the EESC section for transport, energy, infrastructure and the information society (TEN), said: ‘There is no fight against climate change without the social dimension of housing.

Better social housing is the guarantee of success in taking climate action: quality housing means a better life for citizens and this will bring about a successful climate transition.’

President of the EESC temporary study ground on services of general interest said: ‘The right to housing is an international obligation of the Member States which the EU is bound to respect and is stated in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and in the Lisbon Treaty.

It is the responsibility of the Union and the Member States to respect access to services of general economic interest, including the right to housing.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

Pippa Neill
Reporter.

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