Press Releases Endorsement of the Liège Declaration at the Housing Ministers Summit in Liège: towards affordable, decent, and sustainable housing for all

Endorsement of the Liège Declaration at the Housing Ministers Summit in Liège: towards affordable, decent, and sustainable housing for all

Endorsement of the Liège Declaration at the Housing Ministers Summit in Liège: towards affordable, decent, and sustainable housing for all
Under the framework of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, at the invitation of Wallonia and its Minister in charge of Housing, Christophe Collignon, a European conference took place on Tuesday, March 5th, 2024, at the Palais des Congrès in Liège, with the presence of all housing ministers.

The Ministers exchanged views on two key themes:

• Best practices in resilient renovation and construction programs aligned with climate change;
• Diversification of funding sources: European recovery programs “Next GENERATION EU,” zero-interest loans from the European Investment Bank, inclusion of private and alternative financing in programs for creating and renovating affordable and social housing.

Following these discussions, the ministers endorsed the Liège Declaration, a first act in Europe!

This declaration calls for a European New Deal for affordable and social housing with a dual objective:
• Proposing solutions to improve access to affordable and decent housing for all within the European Union through an EU housing platform;
• Promoting access of social housing organizations to long-term European financing from the EIB and the EU Commission.
Indeed, housing accessibility is a growing challenge in the European Union. While there is no single set of commonly used indicators to measure housing accessibility, several trends, shared by the European Commission, indicate a strong tendency towards significant increases in housing prices and rents, combined with a lack of supply of social and affordable housing.

Some examples
• 19%: Housing accessibility is a growing challenge in the Union. If we consider housing markets, over the last decade (from 2010 to the fourth quarter of 2022), average rents have increased by 19% in the EU and housing prices by 47%, with housing price growth consistently outpacing income growth.
• 1/10: In 2022, nearly one in ten people in the EU faced excessive housing costs, meaning they lived in households where total housing costs accounted for more than 40% of total available income, with a significant increase recorded since 2020. Among people at risk of poverty, the proportion is much higher, with three out of ten.
• 900,000: Approximately 900,000 people are homeless in Europe.

Minister Christophe Collignon
“I am particularly proud to have obtained the signature of all the European ministers present for the Liège Declaration. This is a major step! Access to affordable and decent housing is a crucial element of the economic development and integration of the European Union. Even within the framework of national competence, which must be exercised as closely as possible to the needs, the European Union occupies an essential place in the lives of its citizens! We must continue to promote knowledge sharing by collaborating with European institutions, national governments, businesses, and civil society, we can ensure an inclusive approach and ensure that our policies closely match the needs of access to housing for all in the Union!”

President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Oliver Ropke
“Europe is in a housing crisis. We need to act now and we need to act bold. The EESC is ready to do its part and I am glad to see that a dedicated EU Summit, which the EESC will support, was included in the Declaration signed by the Ministers. Europe’s response to this crisis must be accompanied by appropriate funding – in short and long term, to pave the way towards a more sustainable, affordable and decent housing for all.”

Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit
“The message today was clear: we need more action on affordable housing. The EU has presented a toolkit which sets out what EU funds and resources are available to invest in housing, as well as showcasing some good examples of EU-funded projects. Now we need to scale this up! The right to housing is a principle of the European Pillar of Social Rights, but more and more people are struggling to afford decent housing. We have to take a holistic approach and urgently find new solutions to tackle this rising social issue.”

Press Contacts

Press Officer of the walloon Minister Christophe Collignon:

Olivier Rubay – +32 473/946.314 –

Spokeperson of the President of the European Economic and Social Committee:

Novak Katarzyna – 32 475/ 999.581

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