Appeal for Housing Rights in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights


To the Presidency of the European Union
To the Governments of the European Union countries
To the European Parliament

We represent European associations and institutions as well as individual citizens from different strata of life committed to the promotion of housing rights.

We are closely following the formulation of the draft Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. We are convinced that the most important rights, including the right to housing, must be an integral part of this Charter as an important step towards the construction of a Europe of and for all the people.

We are therefore seriously concerned by the present absence of this right from the Charter. Our fears are that the adoption of a Charter that fails to recognize the right to housing will send negative signals to the European citizens, as well as to the governments of member-states and the candidate countries of the Union. It would sound like a negation of citizens rights to the estimated 3 million homeless and 18 million ill-housed in Europe.

We strongly believe that our civil and democratic societies are collectively obliged to guarantee that all citizens and residents have access to a dignified housing. We refer to the paragraphs dealing with housing rights in the European Social Charter, in the constitutions and laws of many member-states of the European Union, in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as numerous other documents among which three resolutions of the European Parliament. Last but not least we wish to stress that recognition of the right to housing in the Charter would honour the commitments undertaken by the governments and the European
Union when they adopted the Habitat Agenda and that it would also be a concrete contribution to the campaign started by UNCHS on Security of Tenure in preparation for the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on

For these reasons we propose that you adopt the following amendment to Article 33 of the Draft Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union:

In clause 3 delete the words ”… and housing assistance.” and add clause 4:

“The Union recognizes, respects and agrees to protect the right of everyone to have access to safe, affordable and adequate housing. Member-States of the Union agree to take all reasonable measures to ensure in good time the full realization of this right for all residents of the Union”.

We thank you very much for the kind consideration you will give to our proposal. We would very much appreciate being allowed to discuss it with you in a constructive dialogue.

Appeal fist appeared in: November 2000