Progressive leaders gather in Portimão to discuss solutions to the housing crisis ahead of EU elections

3 April 2024
Progressive leaders gather in Portimão to discuss solutions to the housing crisis ahead of EU elections

How can we tackle the current housing crisis and make sure everyone in Europe has access to affordable and sustainable housing? What needs to change to make housing policies serve the common good?

With a focus on “Housing for all: Progressive cities and regions building the future of housing policy”, the Party of European Socialists Group (PES Group) in the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) will hold its annual external meeting on Friday, 5 April 2024, in Portimão (Portugal), at the invitation of PES Group member Isilda Gomes, Mayor of Portimão. 

The event aims at discussing a comprehensive European plan for affordable housing, which should be the top priority of the future European Commission. 

Key speakers include Nicolas Schmit, common candidate of the Party of European Socialists (PES) for the 2024 European elections, Klara Geywitz, Deputy Leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and Federal Minister of Housing, and Pedro Nuno Santos, Leader of the Portuguese Socialist Party (PS). 

Media are invited to register to attend the event in person.

PES Group President Christophe Rouillon said: “Today, tens of millions of Europeans are overburdened by housing costs. This is symptomatic of the current combination of aggravating factors, that is, the serious investment gap, social downgrading and the environmental emergency. The EU needs to find new resources to make the right to affordable housing a reality. In Portimão, socialist local and regional leaders will come up with concrete proposals for the EU to respond to this major challenge that Europeans are confronted with.”

Isilda Gomes, Mayor of Portimão, stressed: “It is an honour to host this meeting of the PES Group in the CoR here in Portimão. In Portugal, the right to housing was one of the achievements of the 25 April, known as the Carnation Revolution. Holding this event on housing this month, while we are celebrating this year the 50th anniversary of the Revolution, carries a resounding symbolism and it gives a strong impetus for a debate on a European scale that highlights the importance and relevance of housing for all European cities and regions. The clear definition of a housing strategy at European level is of paramount importance for cities and regions to be able to strengthen equal opportunities and give more hope to our young people, who are struggling to afford accommodation. I believe that a transversal solution, respecting the diversity of countries, will be a fundamental element for the success of any future housing policies.”

Nicolas Schmit, common candidate of the Party of European Socialists (PES) for the 2024 European elections, underlined: “Tens of millions of Europeans spend almost half of their income on housing and many more cannot afford to keep their homes adequately warm. This particularly concerns the young, the elderly, single parents and vulnerable people. It is crucial that we invest more into Europe’s affordable and social housing. As lead candidate of our political family, I look particularly forward to the citizens’ dialogue in Portimão where we will be discussing pressing European challenges for young people, such as the housing crisis. From tackling excessive short-term rentals, to programmes that financially support vulnerable citizens to renovate their homes, we Social-Democrats will make sure that everyone can afford decent housing. This is the Europe we want!”

Pedro Nuno Santos, Leader of the Portuguese Socialist Party, added: “In the heart of Portimão, the PES Group in the CoR has convened a pivotal assembly of Socialists and Social Democrats coming from all over Europe. This gathering is not merely a conference; it is a clear call to action for all of us in the progressive family ahead of the European elections. Progressive local and regional leaders – mayors, councillors and regional presidents – have a key role in mobilising communities and shaping policies that reflect our shared values of solidarity, equity and sustainability. As we are heading towards the European elections, the insights and commitments we forge here in Portimão will lay the cornerstone of our vision for a more social and progressive Europe. This is the Europe we are fighting for, and it is local and regional progressives who are leading the change.”