August 5, 2020

Barcelona asks the EU to "not look the other way" in the face of the housing crisis

The Mayor of Barcelona, ​​Ada Colau, today raised in Brussels her claim for a battery of measures at European level to deal with the housing crisis in the continent and called on the European Union to "face this" reality "and" not to look towards other side".

In a press conference to present the manifesto of the network of European cities Eurocities for the future of the EU, Colau focused specifically on the housing crisis and recalled that the European city model is "one of the best contributions of Europe to humanity. "

Nowadays there is the phenomenon of speculation and gentrification, a process by means of which the original population of a neighborhood, generally centric and popular, is progressively displaced by another of a higher purchasing power.

"The housing crisis is threatening our cities and our economy, the human right to housing is not being respected, Europe should be concerned about the impact of this crisis on the labor market and on Europe's economic productivity," he said. .

Given this situation, Colau was in favor of measures such as a European tax on housing speculation or the prohibition of "golden visas", residence permits automatically obtained by foreigners who acquire properties superior in price to 500,000 euros .

"Instead of putting a tax on speculators, citizenship rights are given to wealthy people who can afford a home of more than half a million euros, and instead they are condemned to drowned thousands of people in the Mediterranean because they are poor, "Colau told reporters after the presentation.

He also proposed that a minimum of 1.5% of public spending on housing be guaranteed in all EU states or that rescue plans be launched "for people and cities" that support neighborhood renovation projects.

"The EU can not look the other way and needs to face this reality," said the mayor of Barcelona.

Along with the mayors of Glasgow, Nantes, Stockholm and Warsaw, Colau presented in Brussels the Eurocities manifesto, a document that lays the foundations of the position of this movement to the future of Europe and in which they call for greater involvement of cities and its inhabitants in the community decision-making process.

"The spirit that moves us must be profoundly pro-European: in times of growing uncertainty over the 'brexit', extreme right-wing populisms and a crisis of legitimacy in the Union, we want to reinforce the common European project," explained Colau.

The mayor stressed the importance of doing it "from a municipalist conviction", a position shared by the president of Eurocities and mayor of Stockholm, Anna König Jerlmyr.

"We are in a unique position to close the gap between decision-makers and citizens," said Swedish policy, which warned that European cities could be facing "their last chance to claim the narrative of the European project."

The manifesto includes proposals such as the appointment of a vice-president of the European Commission in charge of urban affairs for the next legislature or the holding of annual urban summits that bring together European, national and local leaders to define an agenda and common actions.

The Eurocities summit will be held on Thursday at the same time as the spring meeting of European leaders and will be attended by the President of the European Committee of the Regions, Karl-Heinz Lambertz, and the Vice President of the Community Executive, Jyrki Katainen.

Colau, meanwhile, will participate this afternoon in a colloquium called "The city: a place for women" with the European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, and will intervene tomorrow at the opening of the summit.


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