21 and 22 November in Marseilles, Reclaiming Housing Rights in Europe !

Wednesday 24 September 2008

Against speculation in Europe, rising rents, privatization of social housing and urban segregation. Reclaiming housing rights in Europe and the freedom to choose your kind of housing, the right to the city, the right to a healthy environment and an accessible and renewable energy. Reclaiming an Europe of solidarity and of struggles for housing.

The European Minister of Housing and Urbanism will meet Monday November 24 in Marseilles (France).

Since they meet, the prices of rents, real estate and land have never been higher, rents and speculative profits have been madly on the rise, lack of housing and precarity in housing have been knocking at each door. The rights of tenants suffer direct attacks, home ownership is at the price of unsustainable loans, the so-called "revitalization" is evicting the urban working classes not only from inner cities but also from suburbs, forced and urgency evictions are increasing, social housing is threatened through privatization and funding tools being actively dismantled, repression is hitting peoples suffering precarity in housing.

Ministers are only worried with profits of speculators and banks threatened by a real estate crash. As for the European Central Bank, supposed to curb inflation, it does not seem to have noticed that housing costs!

Choosing Marseilles, the ministers could not have found a better place of example about the dramatic consequences of the financial globalization of real estate, 20 years of bad policies in the fields of planning and housing and the concurrence between cities organized by Europe in the context of the Lisbon strategy. Thus the working class center of Marseille is under high speculation encouraged by local authorities. For example, at rue de la Republique hundreds of families were displaced, and dozens of buildings were "devitalized", to sell lofts at retail price of 4 000 EUR/m2. The current owner, a subsidiary of Lehman Brothers, is now bankrupted in the wake of the subprimes crisis : These hundreds of homes are likely to remain uninhabitable for years unless local authorities decide a requisition for social housing. And the fact that Europe has appointed Marseilles as European cultural capital in 2013 is a bad news for housing. Every international event, ever cultural or sporting, has unleashed speculation and attacks against residents of working class neighborhoods all over the world.

Stop pushing an increasing proportion of the population in the streets, insecurity, debt, and encouraging the urban segregation with violent consequences - present and future- ! We reclaim the end of evictions, of policies of gentrification, of urban and social cleansing of the working class neighborhoods and the restoration or enforcement of policies regulating rents and protecting tenants’rights.

To finance an effective right to housing for all, we reclaim a taxation of real estate profits at European level, and the European Central Bank watchdogging the inflation of housing prices and rents.

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