Housing Europe Newsletter 08.06.2015
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TTIP, EFSI, SGEI... It's true that life in Brussels is full of acronyms. But it is also true that these particular acronyms were involved in some of the most important developments that have taken place in the capital of Europe since the previous edition of our newsletter. What is the state of play regarding the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) in the European Parliament? When is the the so called "Juncker Plan" (EFSI) about to be officially launched? What does the European Court Decision regarding the objections of the housing associations on the definition of Services of General Economic Interest (SGEIs) mean?

Get all the answers you need by scrolling through the Housing Europe newsletter. Furthermore, the EU Urban Agenda, Professor Thomas Piketty's housing-related concerns and our view in light of the latest Spanish Regional Elections. Could this be a game changer for the housing sector in Europe?

Stay tuned with the latest developments regarding the European Projects and initiatives Housing Europe is taking part in including today the final report of the POWER HOUSE nearly Zero Energy Challenge, a must-read for the next few weeks.

You can also check out our listing of events you may be interested to attend.

Before starting to read, please allow us to give you a tip:
Go to the homepage of (ideally using any other browser than Internet Explorer) and log in by clicking on the lock on the top right side using your credentials. You will then be able to access all links that are for members only (indicated with *).

TTIP and the European Parliament- A timeline of the latest developments ahead of the vote in plenary

What's next for TTIP after its approval by the Trade Committee of the European Parliament? What were the changes made in the text adopted by the MEPs with 28 votes in favour and 13 votes against? Housing Europe's key demand to keep definition and funding of housing within the scope of SGEI out of TTIP was indeed endorsed in the final report. 

Housing Europe has prepared a timeline of the latest developments regarding the position of the European Parliament on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that is about to be voted upon in the next plenary session in Strasbourg on June 10th.

Check it out on our website
EU Institutions Trilogue concludes with deal on EFSI (*)
European Parliament Plenary Vote expected on June 24th

The informal tripartite meetings attended by representatives of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached an agreement regarding the regulation of the European Fund for Strategic Investments.

The deal was struck on Monday, May 25th. This means that the so-called Juncker plan can now be put to a European Parliament plenary vote on 24 June and the investment programme can kick off within the summer.

Read the full article on our website and find out all the changes made in the final text
The EU Urban Agenda: the result of the public consultation. A brief report from the 2nd CiTIES Forum of the European Commission (*)

DG Regio of the European Commission published last week the result of the public consultation on the EU Urban Agenda, taking into account the Housing Europe contributions. On Tuesday, June 2nd the second CiTIES Forum opened debate on the future urban challenges and Housing Europe was there…

Read our report
European Court: ‘Objection housing associations to SGEI decision manifestly unfounded’
The European Court dismissed the objections of landlords against the SGEI Decision of the European Commission arguing that their actions were "manifestly unfounded". The Court finds that the Commission’s Decision only captures an agreement with measures proposed by the Dutch government.

Our Dutch member organisation, Aedes summarizes the background and comments on the European Commission interference on our website
Austria: Marc Calon at the GBV Association Day (Verbandstag)

Housing Europe President, Marc Calon delivered a keynote speech at our Austrian Member Organisation annual day of associations that took place in Klagenfurt on May 29th. Marc highlighted old and new challenges at EU level, presenting the influence of EU policies on the housing sector across the continent.

GBV members were informed about the latest developments on state aid and SGEI issues, including a summary of the latest developments regarding the so called “Dutch Case” that you may read just above.

                                Pictures: Robert Newald

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (the “Juncker Plan”) as well as the latest European Commission Country-Specific Recommendations (CSRs) were also part of the discussion agenda.

You may download Marc’s presentation (in German) as a PDF file
Financial Instruments in support of territorial development. Report on stakeholder consultation for the CoR's opinion (*)
Housing Europe participated in the Stakeholder Consultation of the Committee of the Regions on the issue of "Financial Instruments in support of territorial development" and reports.

Visit our website to find out the main conclusions
The first edition of ESH responsible housing awards
The 1st edition of responsible housing awards of ESH- The French federation of Non Profit Housing companies- was launched On Thursday, June 4th in Paris at the 2015 ESH General Assembly by the President of the CSR Committee, Dominique Duband. 

Organized in partnership with Housing Europe, which organized itself, last year, the first European Responsible Housing Awards and HLM Institute of CSR, this first edition has received a warm welcome and companies were called to compete in 6 categories: Environment, Customer relations, Fair practices, Communities and Local Development, Working Conditions and Human Rights and Governance.
56 cases were examined by the jury, which awarded 7 awards.

Some of the most interesting concepts included the compilation of a handbook of good practices for responsible buying, sustainable management of vegetation around buildings or new tools to facilitate good governance. The document will be also translated in English and circulated across Europe.

For more information, please contact Marine Carrat 

Articles & Publications
Housing Activists take over in Spain. Encouraging news for the housing sector?

The regional elections in Spain on Sunday, May 24th made clear that the political balance in the country has changed. Why is Ada Colau’s victory in Barcelona important and what could it mean for one of the most problematic housing markets in the EU?

Having risen to prominence as leader of the Platform for Mortgage Victims (PAH), that earned her the European Parliament’s Citizen Prize in 2013, Colau vowed her first measures if elected would be to defend poor families. […] Among other things she proposes to turn empty homes into social housing, set a minimum monthly wage of €600 and make utility companies lower the price of gas, water and electricity.

Read the full article on our blog
Thomas Picketty on inequalities, the future of Europe and… real estate
A presentation with a "scent of housing" at the 2015 Progressive Economy Forum

The author of the "Capital in the 21st Century", the first-ever economics bestseller to go “viral”, held a presentation at the 2015 Progressive Economy Forum, highlighting housing as a key policy challenge...

Thomas Piketty reflected on long-term trends in inequality, the fragility of the European project and possibilities for institutional reform towards a stronger political and economic union - and in particular to support the Eurozone. He calls for a stronger investment in education, innovation and green technologies, as well as a fairer and more harmonious taxation system across the EU.

While referring to key new policy challenges for Europe Piketty also mentioned  the importance of housing and in particular “the access to property for young generations”. The latter has been also identified as part of the so called contemporary “housing trap” in our latest “State of Housing in the EU 2015” report.

Read more on our website
David Orr on Guardian: The crisis is in housing, not who owns it

The Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation (NHF) was interviewed by Britain's leading newspaper, The Guardian just a few days after the General Election held in the UK. David Orr warns that Tory (Conservative Party) plans to extend the right to buy and to lower the benefits cap threaten housing associations’ ability to build affordable homes.

“On 6 May we had a housing crisis. We then had an election. On 8 May we still had a housing crisis. The election didn’t make any difference to the underlying fact that we hadn’t built enough new homes and we had not focused sufficiently on regeneration; unless we start doing both of these things very quickly we will not be able to house our children.”

Read the interview on The Guardian website

Is Europe ready for a nearly Zero future?
The Final Report of the POWER HOUSE nearly Zero Energy Challenge

Public, cooperative and Social Housing Providers pave the way for a fair energy transition and provide solid policy recommendations before it’s too late.

Housing Europe has just published the final report of POWER HOUSE nearly Zero Energy Challenge which is the result of the work carried out by 14 housing association in 10 countries over the last 3 years.

Housing providers took this initiative and created this network to exchange expertise and realistic best practices as well as to generate solid policy recommendations. Through study visits, workshops but also through online monitoring of the energy consumption of 30 buildings that have been selected as case studies.

Is Europe ready for a nearly Zero future as the European legislation (EPBD & EED) suggests? The report provides evidence-based responses.

You may read the report online or download it as PDF

2-page summaries of the key findings and of the policy recommendations are also available as separate documents

Register now for the General Assembly 2015! (*)

As you already know the next Housing Europe General Assembly will take place in Lisbon on 1-2 July 2015. To ensure the smooth running of the biggest event of the year we invite you to register as soon as possible following the detailed guidelines contained in this e-mail.
France: The National Week of Social Housing 2015
13-21 June 2015

The Housing Europe French member organisation, USH representing the actors of the social housing sector and their partners, reaffirms its engagement to promote social housing. The national week of HLMs (Semaine Nationale des HLM) is a strong proof of that.

The week has 2 main objectives:
  • share the interest of the sector to respond to the big challenges of societal transformation
  • highlight the proliferation of associative initiatives which support the social landlords to transform neighborhoods in a sustainable way and contribute to strengthening social cohesion
USH represents 755 organizations and their initiatives and innovations in the field of jobs and living together. Furthermore, on the occasion of the week of HLMs, a new recruitment website is opening, which will offer 3000 jobs annually in the housing sector. The site allows a rapid access to the job openings of USH members.

“The key message of the event is to remind people that supporting affordable housing means promoting the access to jobs and the associative work” Jean-Louis Dumont, president of USH.

Find out more about Semaine Nationale des HLM in French and stay tuned with the event on Twitter @semainehlm
BUILD UP at EU Sustainable Energy Week 2015
June 15-19 in Brussels

With its own stand and numerous events organised by its Partners, BUILD UP, the European Portal for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (Housing Europe is among the contributors)  will be omnipresent at the upcoming EU Sustainable Energy Week 2015 (EUSEW 2015)

EUSEW 2015 provides a platform to discuss energy policy and to present best practices that help achieve the EU’s energy and climate targets. The 10th edition will take place in Brussels and across Europe from 15 to 19 June. Multiple BUILD UP Partners will be present in Brussels with a Policy Conference session or a side-event.

Find out more about the EUSEW 2015 and check out the BUILD UP participation
FEANTSA Policy Conference
Paris, 18-20 June 2015

FEANTSA, the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless is organizing its annual policy conference in Paris with a focus on the key steps that need to be made to connect communities to Europe.

Objectives of the 2015 conference include:

1. Support policy and practice in the field of homelessness, with a focus on social service/policy innovation, helping practitioners to learn from other EU countries.

2. Link local realities to different European policy/legal frameworks, demonstrating where synergies exist already and reflect on potential synergies.

3. Provide space for the emergence of new transnational dynamics through organised networking hotspots.

Housing Europe will attend the second and third day of the conference and will report on its outcome.

Find out more information online and follow the discussion on Twitter, using #feantsa2015
I-Stay@home: Intelligence through technology
Brussels, 24 June 2015, 18.00-22.30

The I-stay@home (ICT solutions for an ageing society) in partnership with the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union organise the final conference of the project. The event will present the outcomes and findings with respect to providing independence through technology to elderly people.

The I-stay@home project sought to investigate how information communication technology can support elderly and disabled people against challenges such as isolation, security, disability, health, financial hardship and independent living.

Check out the event agenda and register online

At the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the EU, Rue Wiertz 77, 1000, Brussels
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