This week, the European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee voted on a report on social housing. According to demands of MEPs, affordable housing had to be available and investments in social housing were necessary. Unfortunately, however, the text does not reflect the fact that social housing does not only serve to fight poverty, but also pursues socio-political objectives.
Even though the report is only a non-legislative own-initiative report, it attracted the interest of many MEPs in the issue, as demonstrated by over 300 submitted amendments. The representative of the Greens, Karima Delli, who is in charge of this dossier, tried to raise the support of all factions for this report by introducing a number of compromise proposals. In the end, the European People’s Party obviously felt that the report went too far, as it abstained from voting on the overall text. Nevertheless, the report was adopted by 24 votes for and 3 votes against and 16 abstentions.

The parliamentary report addresses a number of important key points: the requirement for living space was constantly rising; apart from that, 18 percent of the population would live in overcrowded or below-standard flats. Further 6 % would have no living space at all. According to MEPs, in order to boost social housing, funds by the European Investment Bank could be used. It has also been considered to apply a reduced rate of VAT for social housing. Appropriated social policies shall avoid the creation of ghettos. Also important with regard to social housing was the consideration of energy efficient construction methods. Apart from that, a suitable housing policy for the older population shall be developed within the scope of the European Innovation Partnership, i.e. the provision of housing, which is affordable and takes the requirements of this part of the population into account.

The report must still be confirmed in the plenum of the European Parliament. Voting will probably take place at the end of May.