No more evictions! EU governments must listen people’s demands for the right to housing
The economic crisis had huge consequences on the right to housing of European citizens. High unemployment, cuts in salaries and precariousness put families under enormous financial pressures. Many families struggled to pay their rents and mortgage and to make a basic living.
The same banking sector that was at the origin of the crisis with its predatory behaviour – and that was later bailed out by tax-payers money – saw the crisis as an opportunity to exploit vulnerable families for more profit. The wave of evictions that followed lead to families losing their homes, their savings and a future with dignity.
European governments, under guidance of the Troika, removed social protection guarantees from citizens. Their austerity policies put a strain on social services and the legislative changes that followed aimed at further deregulating the housing market and feeding a housing bubble that benefits only the rich.
Residents associations and social movements across Europe are fighting back. They are defying eviction notices through direct action, challenging the financial groups in court and pushing for housing reform.
We support these grassroots initiatives and their demands for an immediate moratorium on evictions in Europe. We call also for concrete steps to reform housing law at national and EU levels to protect the right to housing and stop new evictions.
To this end we stand behind the activism of the “Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca” in the Spanish state, where daily on average 532 families are evicted from their homes. We echo their demand for a legal recognition for the right to housing, as part of a package of reforms currently being debated in the Spanish parliament.
The ruling government and other right-wing forces are doing all they can to undermine these legitimate demands of citizens in the Spanish state. We denounce their war against the people.
GUE/NGL MEPs see the struggle for housing rights in the Spanish state as a struggle for all Europeans. Evictions must end now.
Miguel Urbán (Spain):
“In Spain the Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH) have proposed a Housing Law that has been accepted for discussion in the Spanish Parliament.”
“The bill proposes retroactive payment, affordable and stable rent, an end to evictions, social housing and guarantee that light, water and gas supplies cannot be cut off. It is a guarantee law, which seeks to protect citizens instead of banks and large investment funds, as the PP government is doing.”
“We believe that this law anticipates coming difficulties with rents. We are returning to a bubble that has led us to a disaster and this is accompanied by renewed attacks from elements that were not seen before.”
“With this proposal PAH is showing that with work and social organisation you can go very far and do a lot. We hope that initiatives like this will not take place only in Spain and can be replicated throughout the EU to combat cuts and austerity policies.”
“PAH has called for a rally in support of the Housing Law in Madrid tomorrow, 3 March, to which we give our full support.”
Paloma López (Spain):
“The Spanish government has to tackle the housing problems. We therefore support and push for a debate in the parliament about the proposals submitted by Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca.”
“We do not want an EU where empty buildings and homeless people live in parallel with no redress. Houses cannot be treated as businesses as housing is not only a market issue but a right that governments have responsibility over. Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy has been avoiding this duty and therefore it is about time to have this debate to solve this ongoing tragedy.”
Neoklis Sylikiotis (Cyprus):
“The tragic reality of Spain starts happening in other countries as well since the same neoliberal policies are being applied. For example in Cyprus many foreclosures are planned in the coming months.”
“Thousands of people who were consistent with loan payments until the outbreak of the economic crisis are now unprotected. We call on the EU governments to stop the evictions and protect family homes. We will continue the fight until the fundamental right to housing and the right to a life with dignity is protected. No to homelessness!”