Housing Europe Newsletter 20.04.2015
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Following the Easter Break we are happy to share our latest news. While the “State of Housing in the EU 2015” report is about to be printed- there are some place remaining at the launch event-, Housing Europe has established its place among the key decision makers over the next couple of years both in energy and funding related issues.

We have been monitoring policy developments at national level, especially in the UK, in Sweden and in Germany. After browsing through the policy news, we invite you to meet one more key figure within our membership in the fifth edition of our “10’ with” column.  

Get more information on the most important news of the last couple of weeks, access our list of articles and publications

Stay tuned with the latest developments regarding the European Projects and initiatives Housing Europe is taking part in and find out the new calls that are one open.

You can also check out our listing of events you may be interested to attend. Do not forget to check out the agenda for the upcoming Working Committee meetings and to register for the General Assembly!

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 *).

"State of Housing" goes to print! Register now for the launch event on May 5th!

The Housing Europe team has been putting the final touches over the last couple of days to the "State of Housing in the EU 2015" report. The only study on housing in the European Union which offers:
  • an overview of detailed trends and statistics per country
  • cross-country analysis of the housing trends and
  • a compilation of the most significant policy updates and their interlinkages with EU policy developments.
  • Case studies featured will include housing finance post-2008, energy efficiency measures, social integration, innovation in public policy and governance
The Housing Europe Observatory Chair, Laurent Ghekiere introduces the publication
"Housing is a complex good. At the crossroads of economic, social, urban and political dimensions, Housing is both a fundamental right recognized by the Union and a major economic sector its growth and its employment.
This first report on the state of housing in the Union, established by the Housing Europe Observatory, with the support of its members, draws up a first analysis of the situation of European citizens facing the need to satisfy this basic need.
While expenditures on housing of European households are growing, while Housing needs are becoming increasingly complex, changing in time and space, it is now a necessity for European policy makers to take this reality into account and to integrate this first state of housing in the Union to their forward thinking and their legislative output."

Launch Event on May 5th in Brussels, at the EESC  #housingEU
As the countdown towards the launch event of the publication has already started, save yourselves a seat to be informed about the findings first but also to be part of the political debate that the publication will trigger on May 5th in Brussels. Politicians, experts and many housing related stakeholders discuss about the research findings but also about the Housing Europe policy recommendations made based on the evidence that was generated. 

Have a look at the draft agenda of the launch event and register now, only a few seats are still available
Housing Europe, an insider in the decision making process (*)

Housing Europe, thanks to the expertise and the field experience of its members, rises its profile as an insider in the decision making process.

Chair of the Housing Europe Energy and Construction Committee, Johanna Ode (SABO) has received an invitation to be one of the members in the European Commission’s high level steering group for the development of a building assessment framework (core indicators etc). This will be a high level advisory group consisting of stakeholders that have an overview of the sector and can help to steer the project.

At the same time Housing Europe has been invited to join the European Commission DG Regional and Urban Policy's group of experts on European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).

Apart from sharing the field experience and the needs of its members, Housing Europe is conducting an evaluation of the use of the entry points in the current funding period 2014-2020 to produce an overview of those Operational Programmes implemented in each member state of most relevance for our sector.

Find out more on our website
A new start for the real estate sector-
Housing Europe supports the joint letter to the European Commission

Housing Europe along with some of its members, Aedes and USH have decided to be part of an ad-hoc coalition of 41 (inter)national associations asking the European Commission to develop a coordinated approach towards the real estate & built environment sector.
Members of the above mentioned diverse coalition sent on Monday, March 30th a letter to the European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker and First Vice-President, Frans Timmermans. A further 13 European Commissioners were in copy of the letter, covering all relevant remits. In the letter, all signatories stressed the importance of the real estate & built environment sector in terms of economic growth, jobs and sustainability that is not reflected in the political priorities of the EU Institutions.
You may read the letter on our website
The Housing Sector and the EU Digital Agenda

The German member organisation of Housing Europe, GdW along with representatives from its national working group on real estate, have visited Brussels in the beginning of the week to meet with Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society, Günther Oettinger. What conclusions can be drawn both at German and at EU level?

“The digitalization is going to revolutionize every sector and every aspect of our life, including the housing sector.” said Commissioner Oettinger to the delegation that visited Brussels.

This declaration finds the German housing sector prepared, since there is already consensus with the State Secretary, Gunther Adler around the optimal way towards digitalization.

Read more on our website
UK: Tories pledge to extend Right to Buy to housing associations- NHF calls it "plain bad policy"

The long-rumoured policy was confirmed by the party this morning, with the Tories pledging to offer 1.3m housing association tenants the chance to buy their home at the same discounts as those in council homes.

In response, the National Housing Federation (NHF) unveiled a YouGov poll of more than 8,000 saying 60% of people believe the Right to Buy discounts are ‘unfair’ and described the move as the ‘wrong solution to the housing crisis’.

Currently, 800,000 housing association tenants can buy their home through the right to acquire - which offers much lower discounts.

The Tory plan is to offer the discounts of £77,900 in England and £103,700 in London currently available to council tenants to those in housing association properties.

Housing associations have previously vowed to fight the policy in court if it was ever introduced.

The NHF Chief Executive, David Orr highlighted in an opinion piece in the Huffington Post seven reasons "why extending 'Right to Buy' to Housing Associations is plain bad policy".

Read more
Sweden: 436,000 homes needed

The Swedish population is increasing very rapidly and urbanisation is proceeding at a rapid pace. But statistics produced by Statistics Sweden (SCB) on the mandate of SABO, The Swedish Association of Public Housing companies, show that housing construction is not keeping up. The Government’s national objective of 250,000 new homes up to and including 2020 will not solve the housing shortage. 436,000 homes need to be built.
The Swedish Government considers that the market is not capable of keeping up with housing construction on its own and is now appropriating economic funds.

Find out more about SABO's position on our website

Articles & Publications
10 minutes with Ben Forier, Director of VMSW in Belgium
Every month we introduce you to one of the people leading the work of our member organisations. In this edition, we just head to neighbouring Flanders to introduce you to the Director of our member organisation VMSW, Ben Forier.

What are the political priorities for VMSW? What are the challenges for the sector in Belgium and in Flanders in particular? But also how does Ben’s average working day look like?
Read the interview on our blog
European Parliament Study: The impact of the crisis on fundamental rights
The economic crisis and the austerity measures adopted by several EU governments to cut their public spending have had dire consequences for fundamental rights. A study recently published by the European Parliament highlights the deterioration of certain rights in seven countries: Belgium, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

A chapter is dedicated to the impact the crisis has had on the Right to Housing (pp.123-126). Interferences with the right to housing were studied in Belgium, Cyprus, Ireland and Spain. In Cyprus and Spain the right to housing is largely related to the disruptions in the housing market, the inability of homeowners to pay mortgages and the foreclosures that ensue. In Belgium, due to rising rent prices, the number of evictions has almost tripled in seven years. At the same time, in Belgium, Cyprus and Ireland, rental allowances or the availability of social housing are inadequate and insufficient to respond to the needs of people in the wake of the crisis.

You may read the report online
OECD 360 Magazine: how does your country perform?

The new OECD editorial initiative is featuring your country in your language. Get a snapshot of how your country compares to other OECD countries for a variety of themes including the economy, wellbeing, development, society, agriculture, employment, education and regional issues.

You may access OECD 360 online or see how other readers react to the findings using #OECD360
The collapse of the Greek construction sector

The Greek Institute for Economic and Industrial Research presented on Monday, March 30th its latest report concerning the effect of the crisis on the construction sector in the country, indicating a significant fall in turnover from 2006 to 2013.

According to the General Director of Institute, N.Vettas the added value of the wider construction sector has been 8.1 bn Euros in 2013, i.e. around 4% of the GDP, clearly reduced from 22.5 billion or 11% of the GDP back in 2006.

At the same time the study that has been carried out jointly with the Association of Companies for Quality and Development of Construction (SEPAK) also illustrates a 51% decrease in the human resources of the sector. In absolute employment figures, 589.000 people were working in construction in Greece in 2008, while the respective number in 2013 has been 287.000.

More than 30% of this recession in construction from 2008 to 2013 is linked with a radical fall in investments in the sector, both private and public.
Read more on our blog

URBACT III opens calls for proposals

The first Call for Proposals for the creation of up to 20 Action Planning Networks is now open. The main objective of Action Planning Networks is to improve the capacity of European cities to manage sustainable urban policies and more especially to strengthen their ability to design integrated strategies for sustainable urban development.

By taking part in an Action Planning Network, cities exchange and share experiences, problems and possible solutions, generating new ideas to address challenges related to sustainable urban development.
Find out more and apply by June 16

Save the date for the next Working Committee Meetings on June 8-9 

As the next Working Committee Meetings in Brussels are approaching, we invite you to book your flight and accomodation in Brussels. The meetings will take place on June 8, starting in the afternoon, and 9.

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. 
Survey: How is your country progressing in energy efficiency?

The "Energy Efficiency Watch Survey" collects opinions from experts in all 28 EU Member States on how they see the progress in energy efficiency in the last 3 years in their own country.

Your opinion counts! Make it heard by completing the questionnaire that will only take you 10 minutes.

The European Commission and the European Parliament have expressed strong interest in the results of this survey, which is carried out in the framework of the IEE Energy Efficiency Watch project.

Learn more about Energy Efficiency Watch and fill in the survey
CITIES Forum 2015: An Urban Agenda for Europe

The European Commission, DG for Regional and Urban Policy, organises the 2nd European CITIES Forum, which will take place in Brussels on 2 June 2015 at Square - Brussels Meeting Centre, rue Mont des Arts.

The CITIES forum in 2014 revealed a clear demand for an EU urban agenda from stakeholders across the EU. To better understand how this agenda could be set up and work, the European Commission launched a public consultation that confirmed the demand for an EU urban agenda. Housing Europe and its members have contributed to the consultation, the results or which had been presented in the working committee meetings in November 2014.

Urban stakeholders at local, national and European level will have an opportunity to have a political and practical discussion on how to advance the EU urban agenda. The forum will also see the official launch of the Urban Innovative Actions, an EU initiative to support innovative approaches to tackle future urban challenges in cities across Europe.

Find out more and register for the event
Video competition - Build Europe!
The European Commission is organising an on-line video competition to attract young talents to the construction sector. Submit a short video showcasing your innovative project, vision, or idea for the construction sector and take your chance to win a smartphone and gain visibility at European level.

What can you offer to the construction sector? Bricks made from recycled materials? Smart devices that allow you to better control energy consumption at home? A new app to calculate the environmental impact of the buildings on your smartphone? On the spot innovative approaches? You name it!

What are the special skills of your organisation or of your members? What are your talents? Share them visually and gain visibility through this online competition.

Find out more details about the topics, the categories and the terms and conditions for your participation and apply
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