Corporate actors lobbying at the EU to 'prevent' member states from having 'too much' social housing

  • The most comprehensive report we found by April 2020 detailing how corporate actors have used EU regulations to prevent member states from having 'too much' social housing is one by the European Parliament from February 2013, so quite old:, PDF file, 1.1MB).

    • The basic idea is that in the EU social housing is considered a Service of General Economic Interest (SGEI), which allows state aid under some conditions.

    • Since 2005, the EU legislation on state aid for SGEI was called the "Monti-Kroes package", which defined social housing quite narrowly as "housing for disadvantaged citizens or socially less advantaged groups, which due to solvability constraints are unable to obtain housing at market conditions".

    • In December 2011, the "Monti-Kroes package" was reformed by the launch of the "Almunia package", and the Decision by the EC kept the narrow definition of "social housing":

Then, the report we found documents several instances of organisations representing the interests of housing construction companies and big landlords using those regulations on social housing to restrict the support of state members to social housing, which leaves more housing for big landlords to rent at free market prices.

Some highlights about such instances of construction companies and big landlords lobbying to apparently prevent member states from having 'too much' social housing:

  • In 2002 and 2005, the European Property Federation ( presented two complaints to the European Commission (EC) against Sweden, which ended liberalising the social housing sector in 2007, which according to analysts leads to an increase in rents, especially in urban areas with great demand.

  • In 2005, in response to a state aid notification by the Dutch government, the EC considered the Netherlands was supporting social housing 'too much'. In 2007, the Association of Institutional Property Investors in the Netherlands ( presented a complain to the EC against the Netherlands claiming that state aid to social housing caused a distortion of competition. The EC accepted the complaint and after a negotiation the Dutch government restricted its social housing model, which benefited big landlords.

  • In 2011, "(f)ollowing a complaint by private real estate developers, the Belgian Constitutional Court raised 12 questions to the EU Court of Justice in April 2011 to ascertain the legitimacy of a measure implemented by the Flemish government in the field of social housing".

  • In July 2012, the Union Nationale de la Propriété Immobilière in France complained to the EC against social housing subsidies given by the French state.

  • Those two last cases from 2011 and 2012 were ongoing when the report by the European Parliament mentioned at the beginning was published.

  • Source of the information about those cases: pages 40-41of the 2013 European Parliament report mentioned at the beginning,

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