Housing. Brussels to analyze Portuguese government letter

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The European Commission will analyze the government’s letter, but says there are several examples of European affordable housing initiatives.

Brussels acknowledged on Monday that access to low-cost housing is “a very important issue” for the Commission, assuring that it “stands ready” to provide the necessary support to states.

“The European Commission is ready to support Member States in their efforts to provide affordable housing,” said spokeswoman Veerle Nuyts, assuring that this support will be put into practice “in the form of various initiatives and financing instruments”.

To exemplify “the importance of affordable housing for the Commission”, the spokeswoman pointed to “some recent initiatives and also some funding instruments”, in particular “the Affordable Housing Initiative, which is part of the Renovation Wave, (…) to help renovate social and affordable housing in an integrated and intelligent approach”.

In terms of financing, Veerle Nuyts says that various European measures are already planned to facilitate access to housing, including in Portugal.

“There are [measures planned for] affordable student housing, for example in the Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan, with an estimated total cost of 1.15 billion euros. There is a reform in Ireland, (…) which will increase the supply of social and affordable housing,” she said, giving “another example, in Spain, [where] there is a program for the construction of social rented housing in energy efficient buildings, with an estimated cost of one billion euros.”

On Friday, the Portuguese government sent a letter to the European Commission specifying its priorities for 2024, advocating a “European affordable housing initiative”. The reason is “the lack of housing supply”.

The government claims that this “is a problem in many cities”, with “housing costs rising and already occupying a very significant space in the monthly income of European families”.

“In this context, the European Commission must be attentive to the problem of the scarcity and high cost of housing, in line with the objectives of protecting the urban environment and social cohesion, areas in which, respecting the principle of subsidiarity, it is up to the EU to intervene,” appeals António Costa’s executive, as it is a “problem that cuts across the entire Union”.

For this reason, Brussels should create “instruments capable of ensuring that everyone has access to decent, affordable housing”. The government defends the “need” for state intervention.

The Competition spokesman declined to comment directly on the “letter” in which the Portuguese government warns the European Commission and calls on it to pay attention to the problem of housing shortages and high housing costs. However, in a response “in general terms”, Daniel Ferrie states that “it is up to the Member States to assess whether a specific measure involves state aid”.

“If a measure constitutes state aid in the assessment of Community law, it must be notified by the Member State concerned to the Commission for assessment before any aid is granted to the beneficiaries, unless it is covered by block exemptions,” he said, refusing to “speculate” on the subject.

Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert is a 55-year-old writer and journalist based in Porto, Portugal. Born in France, he brings a unique blend of French and Portuguese perspectives to his work. Education Hervé studied Journalism and Literature at the University of Lyon in France. After completing his studies, he gained valuable experience working with various French media outlets (Portugal France also). Career He worked for several years as a journalist in France before making the move to Portugal. In Porto, he joined the Portugal Pulse team as a staff writer. Skills Hervé specializes in storytelling, investigative journalism, and cultural commentary. He has a flair for capturing complex issues in a relatable way. Personal Life He currently resides in Porto and enjoys the city's rich culture, from Fado music to Francesinha cuisine. Hervé continues to maintain strong ties to his French heritage, often traveling back to France for family visits and cultural exploration. With his unique background and diverse skill set, Hervé Hubert adds a layered, multicultural lens to every story he covers.

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