In January 2018, the European Committee of Social Rights of the Council of Europe published conclusions which warned that the state of poverty in most EU Member States is far too high and that the measures taken to remedy this issue have been insufficient. These conclusions came just two months after the declaration of the European Pillar of Social Rights which included Principle 19 on the right to “housing and assistance for the homeless.” FEANTSA believes that Principle 19 should be used by the European Commission to form concrete measures to put an end to homelessness and secure the right to housing for all.
FEANTSA also believes that it is time to enforce social rights at EU level. Social rights and hence housing rights have to be fully addressed by EU law and policy and there is a unique instrument that can help us do that: the obligations contained in European case-law which set positive obligations on States to fulfil the right to housing.
For many years, not only the European Court of Human Rights and the European Committee of Social Rights of the Council of Europe, but also the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Court of Justice of the European Union, have issued decisions on the exact meaning of social rights, particularly in relation to housing. These decisions can and should be used as a resource to uphold and promote social rights in Europe.