Eviction Across Europe


This text has been
written by members of the European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing
and the City, through consultation with member groups on the different forms
of eviction, the legislation that both
governs and prevents them, and the initiatives organising against them. The
European Coalition
is composed of tenants’ movements, those in inadequate
housing, victimsof eviction, trade unionists, those affected by debt,
slum andself-built neighborhood dwellers, squatters, campaigners
andresearchers. T
he European Coalition emerged
in 2013
in order to adopt common positions on European
housing policies,organise collective action againstprocesses of
privatisation and exclusion, and to create solidarity bonds between movements,
which would enable each to strengthen its own struggles. The Coalition is a
grass-roots convergence of movements in a European space increasingly at the
service of finance, securitisation, and deregulatory policies which affect our
fundamental rights, and drive us towards poverty and precariousness in all
dimensions of our lives.

This text however, is not an analysis of the European
housing market, nor a collection of organisers’ viewpoints on their action. It
focuses on the forms that eviction takes, in essence who is affected,
and demonstrates the flimsiness of the barriers between tenures as people fall
through them towards ever-greater precarity. We start with a brief statistical
section to hold some of the information gathered, we allow for future additions
to this body of work, both through greater detail and a longer time span. We
then come to the legislative mechanisms on
national frameworks, and despite the grim picture painted, we hope that
this cross-pollinates between struggles and becomes genuinely useful to
activists demanding a variety of state concessions. We end with some snapshots
of these demands and the campaigns that have made them.

What this paper does not do is analyse the organising
tactics used to prevent evictions, or the strategies used by movements that won
legislative protections in the past. Though we hope groups will contribute
papers on strategy to www.housingnotprofit.org, we feel that the primary space
for this work is in our regular face-to-face meetings. This paper does not
analyse the lack of security of tenure in chronological terms, but in spatial
ones across the continent. Neither is it focussed on the mechanics of
dispossession by landlords and the state, nor the geography of displacement.
Many activist-researchers are doing this important work, but we saw a need for
analysis of the differences in forms of eviction across Europe in relation to
the housing stock, the legislative framework, and the shape of the movement. We
hope that this text contributes towards that goal.

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