Housing Europe Newsletter 05.12.2014
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The last month of 2014 has started by revealing a number of policy developments around which the Housing Europe work programme will be evolving next year. After unveiling the new European Fund for Strategic Investments in Strasbourg, the European Commission presented the Annual Growth Survey 2015 that will also have an impact on the housing sector.
Read below the most important housing related news of the last fortnight alongside with the Housing Europe analysis on them. Check out the latest publications, stay tuned with our EU projects and last but not least save the date for our General Assembly 1 & 2nd July 2015 !

Making Housing part of the EU Investment Plan
Housing Europe meets the Cabinet of Vice-President Katainen (*)

As you probably already know the European Commission has unveiled during the latest European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg its European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) that is expected to make up to 300 bn Euros available for Investments to boost ‘jobs and growth’. You may see Vice-President Katainen explain in a short video how this fund is supposed to work.

Housing Europe has sent its own contribution to the special taskforce that has been shaped around “Developing an investment project pipeline in the EU”. 

Additionally, following the official announcement of the Plan we have issued a joint press release with the International Union of Tenants (IUT) that has also led to media coverage, including a mention in the influential energy portal ‘Energy Post’.

There is also scepticism regarding the ambition of the Commission to mobilise private investment to make up the amount targeted. 

As a follow up next week, on Friday, December 12th the President of Housing Europe, Marc Calon will meet with the Cabinet of the European Commission Vice-President, Jyrki Katainen.
The aim of this meeting is investigate the relevance of the fund for our sector and explain to the European Commission why and how the EU investment plan should support the construction and renovation of social, cooperative and public housing.
We remind you that your contribution to the preparation of this meeting is extremely valuable. Therefore, as requested by mail, please take the time to fill in the table below and send it back by Wednesday, December 10th.

You may include:
  • Any large scale programme (of construction or renovation) either at the national or regional level that could benefit from a financial or technical support from the EU and that is currently blocked or downscaled.
  • An estimation of the costs and expected benefits (number of jobs created, number of homes renovated or built, other positive co-benefits) of such programme/project
  • An estimation of the timeline of the programme/project
Fill in the table - Contribute to the meeting
Annual Growth Survey 2015- A Housing Europe Analysis (*)

On November 28th, the European Commission released the new Alert Mechanism Report, together with the Annual Growth Survey 2015. What does this actually mean for the housing sector?
Housing Europe has done a first ‘screening’ of the 2015 Alert Mechanism Report to find out which countries are more likely to have their housing market closer analysed by the EC.
You may read Alice Pittini's analysis and download a detailed table on our website
Working Committee Meetings Report- November 2014 (*)

The Working Committees of Housing Europe met for the first after the statutory General Assembly in Versailles in July 2014. The meetings took place in Brussels on November 4th and were attended by most of the member organisations.
As usual each committee has also hosted a guest speaker, giving the opportunity to members to exchange views with representatives from the European Commission, the OECD and the Coalition for Energy Savings.
Read the report of each meeting and view all the presentations of the guest speakers
New faces in Federcasa & Finance Watch- Axel Gedaschko re-elected at the helm of GdW

In ItalyLuca Talluri is now the new President of Federcasa succeeding Emidio Ettore Isacchini. The body of the General Assembly that took place in Genova appointed the president of Casa Spa in Florence as the new chair of the Italian Federation. Talluri said addressing the members of Federacasa: 'We must remain protagonists in the social housing sector, we must make our voice heard where decisions are made, we have to make housing a priority.'

In Germany, GdW held on November 20th their annual Day of Housing Economy (Tag der Wohnungswirtschaft) in Berlin. Among other issues discussed the majority of GdW members voted to extend the presidential term of Axel Gedaschko for another 5 years. Gedaschko who will thus be GdW President until 2021 said that 'We will continue to work with all our powers to ensure that our housing companies are able to offer affordable housing for large sections of the population under fair commercial conditions.'

In Brussels, Finance Watch, an independent not-for-profit that defends the public interest in financial regulation and close partner of Housing Europe, elected the former President of Housing Europe and CEO of SABO, Kurt Eliasson as its new chair. Eliasson will be leading the organisation, from January 1st 2015, alongside with the new Secretary General, the former investment and commercial banker, Christophe Nijdam. We look forward to building on the success of our joint conference with Finance Watch.

Migrants and Housing: Barriers against social inclusion

Eurodiaconia has published the report ‘Access to social and health services for migrants in Europe: overcoming the barriers’. According to it housing is one example where administrative barriers often exclude migrants as well as growing xenophobia among landlords. 
More information and link to the full report on our blog
Social cohesion & well-being in the EU

This policy brief, a collaborative project between Eurofound and the Bertelsmann Stiftung, examines how significant social cohesion is for the well-being of people in Europe. It considers, in particular, how income inequalities are related to social cohesion and well-being. 

Combining two widely recognized research schemes such as the European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) of Eurofound and the Social Inclusion Monitor (SIM) of Bertelsmann Stiftung, the findings of this report are thought provoking for all stakeholders who try one way or another to develop effective and focused strategies to uphold social cohesion and improve happiness and quality of life in Europe.
Read the report online or download it in PDF format
Global Tenant is out with extensive ERHIN event report

The International Union of Tenants (IUT), a close partner of Housing Europe has just published the latest issue of its quarterly publication 'Global Tenant'. Among other stories, the magazine offers extensive coverage (pp.4-7) of the ERHIN final conference that took place on the occasion of the International Tenants' Day 2014 on October 6th in Brussels.

Barbara Steenbergen, Head of IUT EU office, stresses in her editorial note that 'We are taking a big step forward with ERHIN. Together with the social housing providers and key EU stakeholders like the family organisations […] we defined how CSR has to be realised in the housing sector.'
Read the issue online

ERHIN: the role of housing federations & their members

The ERHIN project - Responsible Housing Initiative has produced numerous useful outputs that we'll keep using in the years to come. We invite you to help us disseminate them among your members and partners!

Together with the project stakeholders, we have agreed on a Responsible Housing CSR Code of Conduct, which can help your members showcase their added value to the society as well as good services to residents and local communities. We urge you to encourage them to sign it online as a voluntary commitment to the CSR principles.

Housing federations as well as other stakeholders at EU, national and local level are encouraged to endorse the European Declaration on Responsible Housing. Housing federations may choose to sign up to the Declaration to signal their support to their members as a component of their national responsible housing communication campaign. Please contact Housing Europe secretariat for more information.

Both documents are now being translated into all languages used by Housing Europe members and are already available online in Czech, Danish, German, French, Dutch & Swedish. We now need your help to verify and approve the translation and we will contact you on that.
Find your way through EU financial instruments

Are you looking for the best possible ways to use the new opportunities  of the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) in terms of financial engeneering? fi-compass is an online platform provided by the European Commission in partnership with the European Investment Bank that offers practical know-how and learning tools on financial instruments.
Explore the platform

Housing Europe General Assembly 2015 on July 1 & 2 in Lisbon, Portugal (*)

It is official that the Housing Europe General Assembly will take place in 2015 in the capital of Portugal, Lisbon. CECODHAS Portugal will be hosting organisation this time, offering to all members the opportunity to attend the European Network for Housing Research Conference that they'll also be hosting from June 28th till July 1st.

It's a valuable chance to meet the academics and practitioners during these two events and exchange around the vast research production that takes place also from our side by making your own contribution, or encouraging your colleagues engaged in housing research to do so.
Call for papers will open on January 1st 2015.

Furthermore, as João puts it 'the sunny and beatiful Lisbon is a warm city, in weather and in passion, so, please join us next summer!'
You may check the very first draft agenda here
Housing Europe supports the European Parliament Hearing of the Semester Alliance

Housing Europe as a member of the Semester Alliance, attended the European Parliament hearing stressing the role of housing within the EU 2020 agenda.

The hearing highlighted the missing voice of civil society in the debate on the revision of the Europe 2020 Strategy, and the urgent need to include them as key partners in the EU governance process known as the European Semester, at national and EU level.

Speaking at the event our Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards reminded that: ‘for any sort of sort of sustainable economic growth, as a minimum people need to participate in the economy, to have purchasing power, to have access to education and to employment. For all of this, access to housing is a prerequisite.
Read more
Housing Europe at the China-Europe Forum

Housing Europe participated in the China-Europe Forum 2014 Paris Conference on Climate Change. The Forum, an independent civil society initiative that was founded in 2005, invites the stakeholders of both societies to think about their common future. We were invited to contribute to the thematic workshop on 'sustainable housing'.
Our Policy Coordinator, Julien Dijol held a presentation about the role of social housing providers in urban policy in the European Union. Julien has used some of the numerous ERHIN best practices to make the case that Responsible Housing is the right path towards a sustainable future for the housing sector.
You may see and download Julien's presentation here
* To access the members only content, please login using the credentials of your organisation. In case you have difficulties, please contact Michalis Goudis.