Social housing in the EU - decent, sustainable and affordable

Practical information:

Composition of the Study Group

Ágota BAZSIK (administrator), Virginie ANDRÉ (assistant)

TEN Section: 14 November 2024

EESC Plenary: 4 - 5 December 2024



Access to affordable, decent, sustainable, inclusive and resilient housing is both a social need and a social right: it is one of the 20 essential principles of the EU Pillar of Social Rights, it is in accordance with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (development goal 11) and it is in line with the Geneva UN Charter on Sustainable Housing and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. However, it is constantly being called into question by the various crises the EU has faced in recent years.

Today, housing is a major cause of the gradual erosion of the European Union's economic, social and territorial cohesion. The availability, accessibility and sustainability of social and affordable housing are increasingly important concerns for EU citizens, especially for the most vulnerable groups. Many EU citizens and households are faced with excessive housing costs, with housing being their main consumer expenditure item and an excessive burden, to the detriment of other basic needs.

Although housing policy remains the competence of the Member States, the shortage of decent and affordable housing in the European Union requires a European action plan on housing that includes a comprehensive set of measures to help Member States, regions and cities in Europe to sustainably boost the supply of social housing and effectively combat homelessness.

Low-income households, young people, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees are all population groups that can easily become vulnerable in the current crisis. Energy poverty rates are growing and rapidly reaching even middle-income families. Social housing policy and building renovation should therefore be treated as a priority for these groups to alleviate energy poverty and to achieve neighbourhood systems integration. Improving the energy efficiency of buildings should be a structural means of combating energy poverty.

The New European Bauhaus expresses the EU's ambition of creating beautiful, sustainable and inclusive places, products and ways of living. It highlights a new way of living where sustainability matches lifestyle, thus accelerating the green transition. The New European Bauhaus should help to bring the EU closer to citizens and local urban and rural areas through appropriate communication, local initiatives and actions to be implemented, and through experiments in daily living and work places.