Press release

Dublin MEP leads call for EU housing plan

28th February 2024
Ciaran Cuffe speaking in the EU Parliament

Green MEPs Ciarán Cuffe and Kim Van Sparrentak have delivered fresh demands to EU housing ministers and the European Commission to develop a response to the European housing crisis. The demands were delivered ahead of an EU housing ministers meeting on March 5th in Liège, Belgium. In a letter to the Ministers, the MEPs emphasised that problems associated with the affordability, supply, and quality of homes are present in every Member State and called for the EU to provide solutions. 

The MEPs called for a European Housing Crisis Response Plan, coordinated by a Commissioner responsible for the right to housing. They said this plan should address five priority areas: more affordable and social housing; boosting renovation and construction; ending homelessness by 2030; stricter oversight of short-term rentals; and tackling housing speculation. 

They specifically called for an EU Housing Fund to boost public investment in social and affordable housing and fund renovations for people living in energy poverty. They also flagged that some EU rules such as state aid rules are acting as barriers to public investment in housing, while others limit the capacity of local authorities to take measures to curb the negative effects of short-term rentals on access to housing. The MEPs called for changes to these and other EU policies to support Member States to respond to the housing crisis. 

Green MEP for Dublin Ciarán Cuffe said:

“While we are often told that Europe has no powers over housing, the EU is playing a role in our housing markets so it is vitally important that we ensure this role is a positive one. Europe is in a housing crisis: right across the continent, people are facing increasingly unaffordable rents, eye-watering house prices, and rising energy bills caused by poorly insulated, bad quality housing. This crisis is particularly acute in cities like Dublin.

“This situation is not an inevitable reality. It is time for the EU to recognise this crisis and the role it is playing, and offer solutions where it can. We are calling for a European Housing Fund to help address the €57 billion annual investment gap in social and affordable housing. With new EU renovation targets coming down the line, the Housing Fund should also prioritise and support renovations for people living in energy poverty, who will see the most benefit from these works. 

“National governments and local authorities are also telling us that some EU laws, like state aid rules, are actually acting as barriers to tackling the housing crisis in their countries. Changes should be made, and the EU must support authorities that are taking proportionate measures to increase access to housing in their cities. We have outlined a number of ways that the EU can support them, including by enabling stricter oversight of short-term rentals and countering speculative activities by investment funds that are driving up house prices.”

“We have also noted that each EU Member State has committed to ending homelessness by 2030. It’s time to introduce measures to make that goal a reality. Homelessness is one of the most extreme forms of poverty, and it has no place in a wealthy and prosperous society.”

Ciarán Cuffe MEP has led EU negotiations on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), a new EU law that aims to reduce energy consumption by Europe’s buildings to bring bills down and address their climate impact. MEP Cuffe’s priority throughout the negotiation process has been to reduce energy bills for everyone, and to prioritise renovations for people living in energy poverty. The final vote on the EPBD will take place in March. 

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