Ministers take stock of measures on housing at European level and discuss priorities for the next mandate

Housing Minister Germany

Klara Geywitz, Minister for Housing, Urban Development and Building of Germany and chair of the meeting.

Convening online, ministers from the Party of European Socialists (PES) took stock of current action on housing at European level and exchanged on priorities in this policy area for the next mandate. Massive investments in and regulations on affordable and energy-efficient housing are needed, socialist and social democratic Ministers stressed today.

Meeting Chair, Minister for Housing, Urban Development and Building of Germany, Klara Geywitz, said:

“Too many people across Europe struggle to find adequate and affordable housing. As socialists and social democrats, we cannot accept that something so basic and something so fundamental like a home is a burden or not a given for many Europeans. We stand up for the right to housing, now more than ever in light of market failure, and high housing and energy costs.

“Socialists and social democrats put housing on the European agenda back in 2019. Since then, the EU has taken measures to tackle homelessness, to make houses more affordable and more energy efficient, and to address short-term rentals. But this is not enough. We must now reverse the austerity practised by conservatives and liberals over the last decade and double down on investments for housing. “There are plenty of funds at European level and the European Investment Bank that allow for allocating more money to housing. The mandate of the EU for social and economic cohesion furthermore provides possibilities for EU policies and legislation to support Member States, regions and cities in delivering on housing for all.”      

The participants of the meeting also stressed the achievements on housing of European Commissioner and PES Lead Candidate for the European elections 2024, Nicolas Schmit. Most recently, he launched a toolkit to support social housing in Member States. Additionally, as part of the European Green Deal, he introduced the Affordable Housing Initiative to ensure local social and affordable housing projects can access technical and innovation capacity. Nicolas Schmit also supported the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness that fosters cooperation on this topic across the EU.

Ministers underlined the role the European Investment Bank can play in public housing. Social and affordable housing loans are a major element of the EIB’s €150 billion in urban lending. In line with the Liège Declaration adopted by European Housing Ministers earlier this year, PES Ministers called for reinforced support to social and affordable housing by the EIB. They also advocated for exploring possibilities to restrain short-term rentals at national level where needed.

Housing is a priority for socialists and social democrats in Europe. The PES Manifesto 2024 calls for a European Plan for Affordable Housing that reforms state aid and massively invests in decent, affordable and sustainable housing. It also advocates for strengthened action to combat homelessness. PES underlines that measures on housing must especially target the most vulnerable, among them young people and students.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Klara Geywitz, Federal Minister for Housing, Urban Development and Building, Germany
  • Roderick Galdes, Minister for Social and Affordable Accommodation, Malta
  • Christophe Rouillon, President of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions