Housing Europe Newsletter 07.09.2015
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This has been the summer that proved Umberto Eco to be wrong when he was claiming that there are no news in August. Since the last edition of our bulletin, Brussels has been continuously on the European frontpages: the Greek (financial) drama and the escalating and absolutely alarming refugee crisis gave EU leaders their busiest summer ever.

Along with the news recorded by the media, Housing Europe comes back after the summer break with an enhanced edition and the ambition to help you catch up with all the important developments you may have missed during your holidays.

Get more information on the most important news of the last month, 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.

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 *).

Soul searching moment for the European Union
Between the refugee crisis and the deepening of the EMU

While the summer has triggered a lot of frustration regarding the ability of the European Union to propose meaningful solutions to the Greek debt problem as well as the challenges posed by the coming of refugees and migrants from war zones, EU decision makers are preparing proposals to make the Member States economic and fiscal policies more integrated.

In its report on the deepening of the EMU, the President of the European Commission outlines its medium term view on what to do to make the EU a complete fiscal, economic and financial union. The report contains already some interesting aspects regarding the democratization and decentralization of the European process but many elements remains to be clarified and some could potentially have negative impact on the social housing sector if it impedes the Member States freedom to invest in social housing. Check out an assessment by the Brussels based think tank, Bruegel.

Housing Europe will continue to monitor this initiative and will be ready to voice the concerns of our members. On top of that, we will be continue to show the unique contribution of social housing providers in making sustainable communities, promoting integration (including of migrants) and fighting ghettoization of society. More publications on those topics will come out before the end of the year. 

Regarding the alarming situation with refugees during his visit to Athens along with the Commissioner for Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, the Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans said that "Refugee crisis is here to stay".
European Challenges for Housing
Housing Europe was present in Vienna

The social democrat district mayors of Vienna organised on 28 and 29 August 2015 a conference on European challenges of Housing in Vienna. Participants at the panel were Dr. Micheal Ludwig, Housing Minister of Vienna, Dr. Dorothee Stapelfeldt, Housing Minister of the German Land Hamburg and Klaus Mindrup, Member of the German Bundestag and its Housing Committee.

Housing Europe was represented by Dr. Özgür Öner, chair of the Urban Affairs committee of Housing Europe and head of the GdW Brussels representation. Addressing the issue of social housing policy in European municipalities Öner stated: affordable housing in Europe for a broad spectrum of the population has to become a core element of European policy.

You may read Özgür's written contribution (in German)
* Photo Copyright: Walter Schaub-Walz/Soak2015
Vienna Declaration by the Mayors of the EU Capital Cities
"A strong voice in Europe"

On 21 April 2015, the Mayors of the EU Capital Cities met with the EU Commissioner for Regional and Urban Policy, Ms Corina Creţu. It was already the fourth meeting between the cities and the EC, following the meetings held in Brussels in 2013 and 2014, and the meeting in Rome in October 2014.

The meeting’s purpose was to continue the joint dialogue with the EC, which is urgently necessary because cities are affected by almost all EU policies – on competition, energy, climate or the environment. A European Urban Agenda, a long-standing initiative by the cities that has been taken up by the EC, is therefore meant to provide a stable basis for close and direct cooperation between the EC and cities, and for the implementation of tangible measures to bring the Urban Agenda to life. Despite the differences between the cities’ individual situations, and regardless of political orientations, there was unanimous agreement on the following measures as demanded in the Vienna Declaration.

The full text of the Declaration is now available in PDF format

* Photo Copyright: MD-Präsidialabteilung des Bürgermeisters und Landeshauptmannes von Wien
Parliamentary question about energy efficiency in public buildings

Two Spanish MEPs, Gabriel Mato (EPP) and Carlos Iturgaiz (EPP) had posed in March a parliamentary question for a written answer to the European Commission regarding the application of the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) in public buildings in the various member states.

In the answer issued by the Commission in July, Commissioner for Climate Action & Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete said that: "The European Commission is currently checking Member States' general transposition into national legislation of the Energy Efficiency Directive.", adding that "The European Commission is implementing Article 5 of the Energy Efficiency Directive in its own buildings, and in this regard prepared a plan in 2014 which covers 15 buildings in Brussels and entails carrying out alternative energy saving measures and launching a major renovation program later."

Read the full question and the detailed European Commission response
DG GROW/DG CONNECT Silver Economy workshop on Age-Friendly Homes (*)
Housing Europe took part

The European Commission DG GROW/DG CONNECT co-organised a workshop with the objective to discuss and mobilise support from public authorities and stakeholders on a set of complementary actions that can be pursued at EU, national and regional level, by public authorities and stakeholders (industry, R&I, investment community) and which can lead to an increase in the number of age-friendly homes in Europe.

Our Deputy Secretary General, Julien Dijol represented Housing Europe.
Check out Julien’s presentation as well as a summary of the workshop
Be Loan Shark Aware!
My Home Finance & NHF campaign to raise awareness in the UK

With 94% of people introduced to a loan shark by friends or family, national ‘Be Shark Aware’ campaign launches in the UK.

My Home Finance, with the support of the National Housing Federation, leading housing associations, and other supporting organisations, is today launching an anti-loan shark campaign – Be Shark Aware.

In recent years more people have turned to illegal lenders to access quick cash, but are often unprepared for the extortionate amounts they have to repay. Loan sharks have been known to charge 719,000% interest.

Read the full story on our blog
"Energy Efficiency in residential buildings in France" project, pre-financed by EIB, gets EFSI backing

On 22 July 2015, the College of Commissioners put the final building blocks in place to kick-start investment in the real economy. The package of measures agreed ensure that the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is up and running by early autumn 2015, keeping the ambitious timetable set by President Jean-Claude Juncker to implement the Investment Plan for Europe.

Among this measures is the confirmation of the projects pre-financed or ”warehoused” by the European Investment Bank (EIB), which will receive the backing of the EFSI guarantee. In line with the European Council conclusions of December 2014, which invited the EIB to "start activities by using its own funds as of January 2015", the latter announced several projects to be pre-financed in the context of the Investment Plan for Europe while the adoption of the EFSI Regulation was pending. One of the projects receiving the EFSI green light concerns investments in energy efficiency renovation in private homes in France, aiming at reducing energy consumption.

Project description
The programme aims to promote energy efficiency in the French housing stock through the funding of certain regional / local initiatives supporting energy renovation of private residential buildings.

Read more on BUILD UP
Energy audits for public SMEs
How are German housing associations affected?

Our German member association, GdW intervenes and suggests a way to prevent a heavy burden caused by a legal loophole in the Energy Efficiency Directive.

The unclear definition of ‘Non-SME’ may force 700 communal and public Housing Associations to undergo an energy audit, despite the fact that almost all of them fulfil the criteria set by the SME definition above regarding the size, the turnover and the balance sheet. 

What would this practically mean for German housing associations? What could be done to prevent such a heavy burden?

Read more on our blog
CIH Cymru's annual photo challenge
Challenging the social housing stigma

Chartered Institute for Housing has launched a photo challenge, a competition for all the amateur snappers. They are looking for the most beautiful images of, or featuring, social housing each year.

This year's theme is 'beautiful buildings' as they want to challenge the perception that social housing can't be photogenic.

The deadline is October 1st.

Find out more about the rules, the procedure and the prize
2015 EU-China Urbanisation Partnership Forum
Housing Europe was there

Housing Europe was invited to participate and present the state of play of housing in Europe on the 2015 EU-China Urbanisation Partnership Forum on 29 June in Brussels.

With the theme of Cooperation, Innovation and Practice, the Forum served as a platform for international collaboration by bringing together European technology and China’s market potential due to its new-type urbanisation.

We had informed you in the last edition of our newsletter that on behalf of Housing Europe, Dr. Özgür Öner, Chair of Urban Affairs Committee had held a presentation about the current situation on the housing market in Europe, highlighting the key facts and figures and presenting the role of the organisation.

You may now download the report of the Forum

Articles & Publications
10 minutes with Jiri Barta, Newly Elected President of SCMBD, Czech Republic

Every month we introduce you to one of the people leading the work of our member organisations.

In this edition, we have the pleasure to introduce you to the newly elected president of our Czech member organisation, SCMBD, Jiri Barta who succeeds one devoted partner and former Housing Europe President, Vít Vaníček.

Read the interview on our blog
Energy Efficiency in Public, Cooperative and Social Housing within the context of the Energy Union
The Housing Europe Overview Article on BUILD UP

Housing Europe is among the expert contributors to BUILD UP, the European Portal for Energy Efficiency in Buildings. In our latest article we attempted to provide with an overview of all energy efficiency related issues for public, cooperative and social housing providers.
  • Housing and the EU Energy Union
  • The obstacles for Public, Cooperative and Social Housing providers
  • The relevant opportunities from the Energy Union initiative
  • Keys to unlock future perspectives
The "State of Housing in the EU" report in Aedes magazine

The national federation of the Dutch social housing associations, Aedes, presents in the latest issue of their magazine a briefing about the key findings of the "State of Housing in the EU" report of Housing Europe. 

Housing trends, statistics, policies, research & case studies... Check again this unique Pan-european overview of the housing sector and feel free to spread the word among your Dutch-speaking colleagues.

Check out the relevant article here
Increasing segregation in European cities due to income inequality
A comparative study from Routledge publishing house

The widening gap between rich and poor is leading to segregation in more and more European cities. The rich and the poor are living at increasing distance from each other, and this can be disastrous for the social stability and competitive power of cities. These conclusions are based on the comparative study entitled ‘Socio-Economic Segregation in European Capital Cities’.

Edited by Tiit Tammaru, Szymon Marcińczak, Maarten van Ham & Sako Musterd, and based on research receiving EU funding, this study compares the situation in 2001 to that in 2011 for thirteen European cities.

Find out more about the book and read the introduction and the conclusions online for free

E2B calls for experts (*)
Submissions are invited to become a member of the EeB-CA2 expert group

EeB-CA2 is a Coordination and Support Action (CSA) which aims at providing the right set of instruments, supporting technology-clustering and geo-clustering upon the whole set of EeB PPP EC-funded projects. Its primary ambition consists in enhancing and rationalising coordinated and broader dissemination, technology transfer and future exploitation activities of clustered projects, so as to help them better promoting and marketing their achievements and deliverables.

Find out more on our website
Linking field experience with policy work
Stay up-to-date with the European projects Housing Europe is involved in

Housing Europe is leading and is taking part in a number of European initiatives and projects that promote exchange on tackling energy poverty with new refurbishment solutions and local solar energy production in social housing, innovative approaches to combining housing and social support and housing centred ways to address youth poverty.

Visit the “Projects” section of our website to find out more about the latest developments
Housing and Support: successful ways to help people with complex housing needs - The ELOSH final conference
  • What are the benefits of an integrated approach in housing?
  • How can housing associations along with care and support service providers co-produce the best living experience for the tenants?
  • Which is the best way to serve the people's needs for independent living?
Get the answers to all questions above and more and hear project partners interact with policy makers in a co-productive manner, paving the way for the actual implementation of the learning outcomes and of the universal training pack produced within ELOSH in the future.

Check out the agenda and the profiles of all speakers and register now online 

Working Committee Meetings October 2015
12-13 October in Brussels

The Housing Europe Working Committees will meet again after summer in the third week of October in Brussels. The detailed agenda will be available by mid-September. Until then, please find below the schedule for both days:
Monday 12th October
14:00 – 16:00 Energy, Construction & Standardization
16:30 – 18:00 Urban affairs
Tuesday 13th October
09:00 – 11:00 Economic, Finance & Internal Market
11:30 – 13:00 Social Affairs
14:00 – 15:30 Housing Europe Observatory
Be part of the Housing Europe Expert Group on CSR
Housing Europe establishes an Expert Group on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and invites you to join its first meeting in Brussels.

The aim of this expert group will be:
  • to collect and evaluate existing CSR reporting models for housing companies in the member states
  • to propose an approach for a European reporting system based on already existing models in the sector.
We would like to ask you to inform us who will be representing your organisation in the expert group and to provide us with CSR models or equivalent reporting systems of your country. This will help us to prepare the first meeting of the expert group, which will be on September 22nd in Brussels.
The Annual Conference of the National Housing Federation
23-25 September in Birmingham, UK

Our British member organisation, NHF, is hosting its annual housing conference and exhibition in Birmingham. With the new government now in place, housing associations will need to take charge of their own destinies.

Attend to find out how housing fits in with other policy priorities.
WELFARE: learn what implications the rent reduction will have on tenants and business
ECONOMY: Examine how housing fits with the Government's other spending priorities
Find out more information about one of the biggest annual housing events at EU level 
Towards a modern & energy efficient future for cooperative housing
The National Federation of Housing Cooperatives Hungary (LOSZ), the Hungarian member organisation of Housing Europe organises an international conference on energy efficiency for cooperative housing with a focus on the best practices that could stimulate energy efficient modernization in Hungary.

Participants are invited to discuss the question of refurbishments resulting energy efficiency in condominium residences and in buildings owned by housing cooperatives.

15 October 2015, Park Inn by Radisson Budapest B-Solar Cell, Szekszárdi u. 16-18, 1138 Budapest

More information 
Our suggestion: A workshop for all housing providers

The OPEN DAYS – European Week of Regions and Cities is an annual four-day event during which cities and regions showcase their capacity to create growth and jobs, implement European Union cohesion policy, and prove the importance of the local and regional level for good European governance.

With the headline of 'Europe's regions and cities: partners for investment and growth' 2015 will be structured around three thematic priorities:
  1. 'Modernising Europe': The regions in the energy Union and the single digital market
  2. 'Regions open for business': SME development, innovation and job creation
  3. 'Places and spaces': Urban and rural development; urban-rural integration
Find out more about OPEN DAYS and register online
Housing Europe invites you to attend the workshop organised by EASME in partnership with DG REGIO and DG ENER on "Financing Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Heating & Cooling" on October 14th from 14:30 to 17:00.

The event supports the 'Modernising Europe’ priority: The regions in the Energy Union and the Single Digital Market.
Can the Semester deliver on Poverty & Participation?
EAPN will present its Assessment of the 2015 NRPs and European Semester, and debate together with 80 national members, decision-makers and other stakeholders. The event follows up the actions taken by the Semester Alliance, of which Housing Europe is a member.

Conference organised by EAPN, with support from the EESC, SOC Committee

Friday, 9th October 2015 - Brussels, 9.00-1.00 pm

More information
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