Despite being home to some of the wealthiest countries in the world, housing remains a massive cost for European citizens. In 2016, housing was the biggest single expenditure for Europeans, hitting disproportionately harder those with the lowest income. House prices are growing faster than incomein most Member States, while inequality and housing exclusion are mutually reinforcing. Finding adequate and affordable housing where job opportunities are is increasingly hard across the EU.
A clear spending target
Access to affordable, energy-efficient housing close to where we work, learn and play is an immediate concern. Housing should be at least as important a priority for our governments as defense spending. Why do we have fixed targets for the latter and not the former? We are calling for an EU wide target of at least 3% of GDP to be spent on housing.
We want Member States to treat access to housing as a fundamental right. Access to affordable and quality housing isa right, not a luxury. There is an urgent need for investment to ensure that EU countries provide appropriate housing stock, without discrimination.
More social, energy-efficient housing
The European Pillar of Social Rights sets out that access to social housing or housing assistance of good quality shall be provided for those in need. We will be working to bring this principle into binding law.
Social, energy-efficient housing must be an EU priority. It cannot be that a young job seeker in Madrid spends over half of their income on renting a tiny room, or that four generations of the same family are forced to live in the same small apartment in Warsaw. Social housing should not create “ghettos” where the most disadvantaged and vulnerable are concentrated, but promote diverse, thriving communities.
The Greens managed to secure that EU funds could be used for the construction of social housing. We will fight for this to be part of the European Regional Development Fund for the next Multiannual Financial Framework.
A Europe-wide framework on housing
The Greens/EFA Group wants to see a Europe-wide housing framework to enhance Member States’ effortsto provide inclusive, energy-efficient and healthy homes to all. This framework should protect renters from exploitationby providing guidance on minimum standards.
A major programme aimed at greening the housing stock as well as building new social, low energy housingprovides not only affordability and climate action but also creates green jobs, reduces household indebtedness, and tackles health issues. No one should have to choose between a place to sleep and a meal to eat.