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Andrews calls for new European Commissioner on Housing

Dublin MEP outlines need for EU Strategy on Housing

Dublin MEP Barry Andrews has called for the establishment of a new European Commissioner on Housing.Speaking at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the Fianna Fáil MEP outlined the need for an EU Strategy on Housing.  He has also formally written to the European Commission requesting the establishment of a new Housing Commissioner and a special Committee on Housing when the Parliament begins its next term.“Housing is now recognised as a EU-wide problem,” explained MEP Andrews.“Since 2016 property prices across Europe have soared by 40%.  People are legitimately asking what concrete steps the EU is taking to tackle this?“In Ireland, despite record-breaking investment, the housing crisis remains acute. Far from improving the situation in Ireland, outdated EU laws are actually inhibiting our progress. Strict EU debt rules mean that, at a certain point, the Government has to choose between fiscal prudence and investment in public services.“Ireland’s Short Term Lets bill, which aimed at predatory practices by platforms like AirBnB, was delayed unnecessarily by the European Commission on technical grounds.“For other Member States the crisis is deepening. The latest report from Euroconstruct shows that construction output in Ireland is forecast to grow at the strongest rate among 19 European countries this year, expanding by 4.4%. In every other country surveyed it is declining.“Last year I commissioned a report on housing which showed that the European Union can and should be doing much more.“That is why we now need an EU Strategy on Housing. We need state aid flexibility in times of crisis to enable housing investment. We need to massively ramp up funding for social housing. We need to support the construction sector. We need a special committee on housing here in the European Parliament working on this issue day in, day out.

“And we need a new European Commissioner for Housing to be the driving force behind these reforms. This would be a new direction for Europe.  But housing is an acute problem facing citizens in every single EU Member State. At a time when many people struggle to see the link between the EU and the issues they face in their daily lives, it is imperative that we move to take real action to solve Europe’s housing crisis.”

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