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    EESC Raises the Alarm on Europe’s Housing Crisis: A Call for Urgent Action

    Brussels, 20 February 2024 – The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), recognized as the EU’s nexus of organized civil society, has issued a dire warning about the escalating housing crisis in Europe, particularly affecting vulnerable groups and young individuals. During a high-level conference in Brussels, the EESC underscored the urgency of the situation, emphasizing the need for a coordinated EU-wide response to ensure access to decent and affordable housing for all.

    The housing crisis, marked by a growing inability among Europeans to find affordable and adequate accommodation, is leading to a host of adverse outcomes including housing insecurity, health issues, and increased environmental damage. The EESC’s conference highlighted the multifaceted impact of the crisis, stressing that housing is not just a major expense for many households but also a critical determinant of social and territorial cohesion within the EU.

    Recent studies, including one from Eurofound, reveal that the crisis disproportionately affects young people, delaying their transition to independent living and exacerbating intergenerational inequalities. Countries like Spain, Croatia, Italy, and others have seen significant increases in the number of young adults living with their parents, signaling a deepening of the crisis.

    The EESC has long advocated for addressing the housing issues across the EU. In 2020, it called for a European action plan on housing, proposing measures to increase the supply of social and affordable housing and to combat homelessness. Despite housing policy being a national responsibility, the EESC’s recommendations aim to foster a collective European approach to the crisis.

    Among the proposed measures are the organization of an annual EU summit on affordable housing, the establishment of a universal right to housing through specific regulation, and the creation of a European fund for investment in affordable housing. These proposals are intended to mobilize stakeholders at all levels, from local to EU-wide, to tackle the housing shortage effectively.

    The conference featured remarks from high-level speakers, including EESC President Oliver Röpke, who emphasized the role of civil society organizations in promoting affordable housing policies. European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, acknowledged the complexity of ensuring access to affordable housing but stressed its necessity for a strong Social Europe. MEP Estrella Durá Ferrandis called for an integrated EU strategy for social, public, and affordable housing, while Christophe Collignon, Wallonia’s Minister of Housing and Local Authorities, highlighted housing as a fundamental right essential for preventing homelessness and promoting social cohesion.

    The EESC plans to compile its recommendations and present them at the upcoming Housing Ministerial Conference in Liège, aiming to place the housing crisis on the agenda of the new European Parliament and Commission for 2024-2029. This initiative seeks not only to address the immediate challenges but also to lay the groundwork for long-term solutions to ensure that access to quality and affordable housing becomes a reality for all Europeans.

    We acknowledge The European Times for the information.



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