For a long time, Europe’s cities had expressed their wish to be more closely involved in decision-making at the EU level. For this reason, the Council of EU Ministers responsible for urban matters adopted the Pact of Amsterdam in June 2016 with the objective of creating an Urban Agenda for the European Union.
Accordingly, this led to the establishment of 12 thematic partnerships in 2016. As a result of the European housing crisis of 2015, the focus of one partnership was on affordable housing as a priority area to be tackled. Specifically, the goal lay in promoting better legislation, better funding instruments and a reorientation of EU state aid as well as intensified knowledge exchange between EU institutions, states, cities and regions in Europe. The main objective lay in supplying a large majority of the population with affordable housing of good quality.
In this respect, the City of Vienna was entrusted, together with Slovakia, with the co-ordination of the players involved (cities and city networks, Member States, stakeholders as well as EU institutions).
The experts of the Housing Partnership analysed the multifaceted housing markets in the individual Member States and drafted an Action Plan outlining recommendations for actions relating to EU legislation; moreover, the Partnership made sure to also integrate key priority areas, such as the protection of vulnerable groups, the fight against speculation or secure tenancy and usage conditions, into the Action Plan. After only three years of intensive work, the Action Plan was presented in December 2018 on the occasion of an international conference held in Vienna.
More specifically, the catalogue of actions comprises the following recommendations:
Action 1: Guidance on EU regulation and public support for housing
Action 2: Capacity building – workshop on state aid rules and investment in affordable housing
Action 3: Revision of the SGEI decision with regard to the narrow target group of social housing
Action 4: Database of good practices for the supply with affordable housing
Action 5: Policy guidance for the supply of affordable housing in Europe
Action 6: Exchange programme for urban housing professionals
Action 7: Monitoring system for affordable housing in the European Union
Action 8: Knowledge exchange on affordable housing at Member State level
Action 9: Recommendations on the improvement of EU housing market data
Action 10: Gender dimension with respect to affordable housing and energy poverty
Action 11: Recommendations on EU funding for affordable housing
Action 12: Recommendations on the European Semester and affordable housing
Moreover, the European Commission has set up a monitoring system to allow for the ongoing evaluation of Action Plan implementation.
For further information
Executive summary in English: https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/en/system/files/ged/background20paper20euua20housing20partnership2012-2018.pdf
Executive summary in German: https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/en/system/files/ged/hintergrundinformation20zur20eu-stc3a4dtepartnerschaft20wohnen2012-2018.pdf