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Nicolas Schmit: European citizens have seen their living conditions deteriorating

Nicolas Schmit:European citizens have seen their living conditions deteriorating

At a prestigious conference convened by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), which serves as the EU’s hub for organized civil society, a stark warning was sounded: the shortage of suitable and affordable housing has become an escalating concern, particularly for vulnerable demographics and young individuals, demanding urgent action from the European Union.

Growing numbers of Europeans are grappling with the anxiety of securing adequate and reasonably priced housing. This predicament poses risks of substandard living conditions, financial strain, housing instability, and even homelessness. Unattainable housing options can detrimentally impact individuals’ health and well-being, exacerbate social disparities, and lead to increased healthcare expenses, reduced productivity, and environmental harm.

The conference, held in Brussels on February 20, 2024, by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), delivered a resounding message: Europe’s housing crisis is worsening, unleashing a cascade of adverse consequences.

Presently, housing stands as a primary driver of the gradual erosion of economic, social, and territorial cohesion within the EU. Access to affordable and suitable housing is not only a social necessity but also a fundamental social entitlement, yet it faces persistent challenges amid the various crises confronting the EU in recent years.

The availability, accessibility, and sustainability of suitable housing have become increasingly pressing concerns for EU citizens, particularly for the most marginalized groups. Many households grapple with exorbitant housing expenses, with housing costs consuming a disproportionate share of their financial resources, thereby compromising other essential needs.

According to a recent study by Eurofound, the housing crisis disproportionately impacts young people, hindering their ability to transition from their family homes. The average age at which at least 50% of EU residents move out of their parental households increased from 26 to 28 between 2007 and 2019. During the period from 2010 to 2019, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Cyprus, Belgium, Greece, and Ireland experienced the most significant increases in the number of individuals aged 25-34 residing with their parents.

Nicolas Schmit: European citizens have seen their living conditions deteriorating

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