Red card for Brussels interference with social housing

3 September 2005

Red card for Brussels interference with social housing

There should be no question of Brussels interfering with the Netherlands' social housing policy, says SP Member of Parliament Krista van Velzen. Ms van Velzen was reacting to the announcement that the EU authorities are putting pressure on the Netherlands government to sell a large proportion of the publicly-owned accommodation currently offered to let. “The government must exercise its right of veto in relation to other measures if this is what is needed to prevent the EU from putting our social housing in jeopardy,” she said.

The SP has been trying since April, when competition policy Commissioner Neelie Kroes expressed concern over what she saw as the preferential treatment of a housing association in Amersfoort-Vathorst, to have the situation regarding Brussels' interference in these matters clarified.

The minister responsible, Sybilla Dekker, has to date failed to explain the basis of Brussels' argument, because, she says “the European Commission's standpoint must first of all be ascertained before the documents can be made public.”

Krista van VelzenMs van Velzen disagrees, arguing that “our entire social housing policy is now under attack. Fortunately we are now being supported by the (centre-right) CDA and the (centre-left) PvdA, who share our view that these plans are objectionable.”
The support of these parties is remarkable, however, given that during the debate around the referendum on the European Constitution they expressed the opinion that the EU posed no threat to social housing, constitution or no constitution.

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