From market good to social right? Shifting approaches to housing in Europe

This webinar seeks to discuss the progressive shift of the UE towards the promotion of the right to affordable housing, and how this goal can be achieved. The event will bring together elected city officials, practitioners and scholars to share their insights on the role of housing rights in Europe’s future.

PERFORMED ACTIVITY
22 June 2021 - 10:00h
LOCATION: By-invitation online session (via Teams)
ORGANIZED BY: CIDOB (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs) with the support of Barcelona City Council

COLLABORATORS (2):

Objective

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Europe was experiencing a crisis of housing affordability largely rooted in the fallout from the global financial crisis of 2008. On any given night in 2019, nearly 700,000 people were sleeping rough in the European Union, a 70% increase since 2009. The rising commodification of housing was reflected in constantly increasing purchase and rental price indices, as well as high burdens among middle- and lower-income households, with one in ten private tenants spending more than 60% of their disposable income on housing (+9.3% since 2010). As a result of these trends, housing advocates, civil society organizations and local governments increasingly called on European institutions to stake out a position on the right to housing. In response to these pressures, initiatives like the European Pillar of Social Rights (2017) or the Housing Partnership Action Plan of the European Urban Agenda (2018)  would include access to social and affordable housing and protection from forced eviction among their principles, marking a shift from an approach to housing centred on regulating its problematic status as a commodity, towards an increasing emphasis on its social function. 

The pandemic has only amplified the urgent need for this shift. Throughout the continent, lockdowns and confinement have made housing far too palpable a need to ignore, as one cannot #StayAtHome without a home. Governments have taken exceptional measures and public discourses have changed seemingly overnight. In several Member States, evictions and foreclosures were suspended and emergency shelter, mortgage forbearances and support for utility bills were offered. Tellingly, on 21 January 2021, the European Parliament called on the European Union to push for measures to eradicate homelessness and recognize access to decent and affordable housing as an enforceable human right. Alongside the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, the Renovation Wave Strategy and Next Generation EU funding, an opportunity to guarantee decent housing for all seems to have emerged. 

This webinar seeks to discuss this shift towards a new housing scenario, and how these principles can be implemented throughout the European Union. Are the existing normative and legislative frameworks in Europe adequately equipped to address the social challenges posed by the commodification of housing? To what extent can the Renovation Wave and the EU recovery funds facilitate and expand access to social and affordable housing? What role can cities play in guaranteeing decent housing for all? The event will bring together elected city officials, practitioners and scholars to address these questions and share their insights on the role of housing rights in Europe’s future.

Files

Participants

SPEAKERS

Dominique Bé

Dominique Bé

Disability & Inclusion, DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion, European Commission

Javier Burón

Javier Burón

Housing Manager, City of Barcelona & Vice-Chair of Eurocities Housing WG

Carlos Delclós

Carlos Delclós

Associate Researcher, CIDOB; Postdoctoral Researcher, IGOP-UAB

Sorcha Edwards

Sorcha Edwards

Secretary General of Housing Europe

Eva Garcia-Chueca

Eva Garcia-Chueca

Senior Research Fellow, Global Cities Programme, CIDOB

Michaela Kauer

Michaela Kauer

Head of Brussels Office, City of Vienna; Co-cordinator of the EU Urban Agenda Housing Partnership

Pol Morillas

Pol Morillas

Director, CIDOB

Michelle Norris

Michelle Norris

Professor of Social Policy, University College Dublin

Ruth Owen

Ruth Owen

Deputy Director, FEANTSA

Juli Ponce

Juli Ponce

Full Professor, University of Barcelona

Elena Szolgayová

Elena Szolgayová

Co-chair of the Housing 2030

Kim Van Sparrentak

Kim Van Sparrentak

Member of the European Parliament

Lorenzo Vidal

Lorenzo Vidal

Postdoctoral Researcher, IGOP; Associate Researcher, CIDOB

From market good to social right? Shifting approaches to housing in Europe PERFORMED ACTIVITY

10:00h Welcome

Pol Morillas, Director, CIDOB

10:05h Presentation of the session

From market good to social right? Shifting approaches to housing in Europe  

Carlos Delclós, Associate Researcher, CIDOB; Postdoctoral Researcher, IGOP-UAB

10:15h Discussion

How to move towards better governance and regulation to support affordability in housing in the EU?
We will reflect on how to foster an adequate EU regulatory framework that ensures the right to adequate housing and avoids speculative real estate investment. Specific attention will be given to those legislative changes that can better address the needs of cities.

How to invest in affordable housing through the EU budget?
This debate will explore how member states and urban governments can invest more in affordable housing under the EU’s current fiscal rules. In particular, it will analyze how funding for social, affordable and energy-efficient housing can be provided through the long-term multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027, the Next Generation EU package and the Renovation Wave.

Kick-off statements 

Question 1:

Javier Burón, Housing Manager, City of Barcelona & Vice-Chair of Eurocities Housing WG

Juli Ponce, Full Professor, University of Barcelona 

Question 2:

Sorcha Edwards, Secretary General, Housing Europe

Michaela Kauer, Head of Brussels Office, City of Vienna; Co-cordinator of the EU Urban Agenda Housing Partnership 

 

Debate among participants:

Dominique Bé, Disability & Inclusion, DG Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion, European Commission

Michelle Norris, Professor of Social Policy, University College Dublin

Ruth Owen, Deputy Director, FEANTSA

Elena Szolgayová, Co-chair of the Housing 2030

Lorenzo Vidal, Postdoctoral Researcher IGOP, CIDOB Associate Researcher 

Debate facilitated by:  Eva Garcia-Chueca, Senior Research Fellow, Global Cities Programme, CIDOB

 

11:20h Keynote statement

Guaranteeing the Right to Housing in Europe: from legal changes to financial tools

Kim Van Sparrentak, Member of the European Parliament

11:30h Wrap-up

Carlos Delclós, Associate Researcher, CIDOB; Postdoctoral Researcher, IGOP-UAB