Housing for All: Time for Europe to Deliver

Monday 25 January 2021

Housing for All: Time for Europe to Deliver

(All day) - (All day)
Online #ProgressiveHousingWeek

The lack of affordable housing is affecting more than 80 million people in Europe. The COVID-19 pandemic made the situation even worse, with an increasing number of people struggling to pay their rent or energy bill. But what comes just at the surface has longer structural reasons, rooted in more profound housing inequalities and which risk jeopardise the very essence of our society. 

Housing is a human right that must be guaranteed to everybody.

For a socially just and sustainable recovery, we need to make sure that every citizen benefits from decent, affordable and sustainable housing.

Progressive cities and regions have already put in place innovative solutions that can inspire further action on the ground. At the same time, we need a proper European framework. Leaving no one behind means first of all leaving no one without a roof over their head.

In cooperation with the Socialist and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS),  the Party of European Socialists (PES) and the City of Vienna, the PES Group is organising a week of online debates and a movie projection dedicated to this important topic, with a bunch of speakers who will share their experiences from different angles, feed in with their views and come up with progressive ideas on the way forward.

Be part of it! Together let’s make sure that everyone has a place to call home.


17.00 - 20.00

Monday, 25 January 2021

Opening of the week “Housing for all: progressive ideas for the future”

17.00 | Online screening of the documentary “PUSH” 

@ Let’s Get Digital By registration only


The documentary from award-winning director Fredrik Gertten, investigates why we can’t afford to live in our own cities anymore. Housing is a fundamental human right, a precondition to a safe and healthy life. But in cities all around the world, having a place to live is becoming more and more difficult. Who are the players and what are the factors that make housing one of today’s most pressing world issues?




18.30 | Debate “Housing for all: progressive ideas for the future”

@ Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and Let’s Get Digital


Moderator: Beatriz Ríos, Journalist at Luxembourg Times, ElMundo, EuranetPlus


Setting the scene for the right to housing in Europe


  • Leilani Farha, Former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing, protagonist of the documentary “PUSH”, Global Director, The Shift
  • Fredrik Gertten, Award-winning director of the documentary “PUSH”
  • Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and former Chair, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University


Making the right to housing a reality in Europe 


  • Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission


With reactions by Leilani Farha, Fredrik Gertten, and Saskia Sassen



Progressive cities and regions and the right to housing: where are we?


  • Nawal Ben Hamou, Regional minister of Brussels, Belgium 
  • Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona, Spain 
  • Sorcha Edwards, Secretary-General of Housing Europe
  • Michael Ludwig, Mayor of Vienna, Austria, and PES Group member 
  • Fernando Medina, Mayor of Lisbon, Portugal, and PES Group member
  • Erik Pelling, Mayor of Uppsala, Sweden
  • Elly Schlein, Vice-President of the Emilia-Romagna Region, Italy

With reactions by Leilani Farha, Fredrik Gertten, and Saskia Sassen


Time for progressive solutions


  • Iratxe García Pérez, President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament
  • Christophe Rouillon, Mayor of Coulaines, France, and President of the PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions
15.30 – 17.30

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Concrete Actions for Social and Affordable Housing in the EU

Workshop hosted by the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS)

@ Let’s Get Digital By registration only


Despite the consistent inequalities in access to housing across the EU and the striking consequences that all kind of housing-pathologies have in everyday lives of its citizens, the EU has no direct competence to legislate in housing matters. However, there are areas in which the EU can legislate such as state aid law, fiscal and investment policy, consumers and competition law but also other areas with impact into housing are energy, employment, social exclusion and the regulation of online platforms.

Building on the publication “Concrete actions for Social and Affordable Housing in the EU”, by Sergio Nasarre, Milan Ftacnik, Nuria Lambea Llop and Liga Rasnaca; experts and policymakers will discuss actionable points for local, regional and European actions to enhance access to a decent, inclusive and sustainable place to live.


Common Challenges for Housing Policy

  • Tom Copley, Deputy Mayor of Housing for London
  • Michaela Kauer, Co-coordinator of the EU Urban Agenda Housing Partnership and director of the Brussels Liaison Office of the City of Vienna
  • Chair: Ainara Bascuñana, Head of Communication, FEPS


Overview of Better Practices and Lesson Learned 

Presentation of the Study on “Concrete actions for Social and Affordable Housing in the EU”

  • Sergio Nasarre Aznar, Full Professor of Civil Law and Director of the UNESCO Housing Chair at the University Rovira i Virgili
  • Nuria Lambea Llop, Postdoctoral researcher at the UNESCO Housing Chair of the University Rovira i Virgili


Delivering on affordability: strategies and actions

  • Bálint Misetics, Senior Policy Advisor at The Municipality of Budapest
  • Milan Ftáčnik, Chairman of the Smart Solutions and Innovation Council, Former mayor of Bratislava and Professor at the Department of Applied Informatics, Comenius University in Bratislav
  • Laura Colini, senior policy expert at EU Urban Innovative Actions and URBACT, researcher co-founder of TSR urban social research
  • Sónia Alves, Research fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon
  • Chair: David Rinaldi, Director for Studies and Policy, FEPS

Followed by Q&A

10.30 - 12.00

Wednesday 27 January 2021

The EU Affordable Housing Initiative: how can we bring it to the ground?

Workshop hosted by the City of Vienna 

@ Let’s Get Digital By registration only


The Affordable Housing Initiative aims at revitalising 100 neighbourhoods across the EU. Cities and regions all over Europe can contribute to this initiative with a wealth of experiences from the ground. They have proven since many years and in a great diversity of governance contexts that working with communities in participatory approaches can create more inclusive and sustainable neighbourhoods while avoiding further gentrification and other speculative tendencies in local housing markets. Little is known yet about the Affordable Housing Initiative yet; to bring it to life, cities and regions will need clarity about funding and financing instruments from the EU. And they are willing to mutually share their expertise in urban development projects. The event aims at clarifying the next steps in this important project.


Introduction: The EU Affordable Housing Initiative

  • Slawomir Tokarski, Director, European Commission's Directorate-General for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs 

Vienna: Smarter Together - Social and technical innovations for a liveable district

  • Julia Girardi-Hoog, Project Manager 


Bratislava: Urban Development in Bratislava

  • Marek Dinka, Urban Planning Director of Bratislava (tbc)


  • Barbara Steenbergen, Head of liaison office to the EU, International Union of Tenants
  • Sorcha Edwards, Secretary-General of Housing Europe 


Followed by a discussion with the audience


Closing remarks

  • Dr. Elena Szolgayová, Housing 2030 Co-Chair, UNECE HLM Committee Chair 2013 - 2019
9.30 - 11.00

Friday, 29 January 2021

Decent Housing For All 

Workshop hosted by the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament

@ Let’s Get Digital By registration only


General introduction and moderation

  • Agnes Jongerius, MEP, S&D Coordinator for the  European Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

Homeless people and the right to decent housing

  • Manuel Pizarro, MEP, S&D Group
  • Freek Spinnewijn, Director of FEANTSA


No to harmful competition, promoting decent housing for all

  • Estrella Dura Ferrandis, MEP, S&D Group
  • Barbara Steenbergen, Head of liaison office to the EU, International Union of Tenants


  • Agnes Jongerius
11.00 - 11.10

Conclusions of the Progressive Housing Week

  • Iratxe García Pérez, President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament

Opening event live streaming