European solutions for social housing must cater for future societal, demographic and environmental changes, argues Patrick Declerck
CECODHAS “Affordable housing is key ‘social stabiliser’ for EU”
CECODHAS appeared in the Parliament Magazine with an article titled Affordable housing is key “social stabiliser for EU”. CECODHAS’s President, Kurt Eliasson expressed its views about the lack of EU level “decisiveness and a lack of political will” to find solutions to the housing crises in Europe. He called for imminent solutions and engagement, and urgent reform of the banking union.
Greece took over the Presidency of the Council if EU
From 1sts rotating presidency and presented its work programme for the next six months. This can be divided into four categories as follows:
·Growth, jobs and cohesion
·Further integration of EU and eurozone
·Migrations, borders and mobility
The main goal of the presidency is to maintain and increase economic growth and stability while preserving and strengthening the European social and economic model. Safeguard the stability of the common currency by advancing the deepening of the EMU, by promoting policies and actions to remedy and restore initial deficiencies in the Euro area architecture.
During the Greek Presidency, several environmental issues will be tackled by the European Union. On 22 January, the European Commission issued a 2030 Climate and Energy package which will modify the goals of EU’s climate and energy policy.
Also, the DG Environment is expected to issue a Circular economy package which will revise the current waste and resource efficiency targets.
Furthermore, an alternative fuel strategy will be discussed in trialogue negotiations between the Council, European Parliament and Commission.
As for migration policies, the Presidency will focus its efforts to stress the positive aspects of a migration, such as the benefit of boosting growth. Additionally, it envisages further actions to tackle the problems arising from illegal migration in economy, social cohesion and political stability.
Fire Safety First campaign launched
Fire Safe Europe launched its online campaign “FireSafeFirst” on 28 January 2014, in the European Parliament, in the framework of a Roundtable discussion hosted by Fiona Hall MEP. Bill Duncan, Managing Director of Fire Safe Europe gave an introduction. He stressed the importance of fire safety and asked policy makers to work on a Fire Safe Europe during the next parliamentary term 2014-2019.
Live from the European Union
EU calls for immediate action on« European Industrial Renaissance »
On 22 January, the European Commission adopted a Communication on “For a European Industrial Renaissance”. The Communication urges Member States to recognise the central importance of industry for creating jobs and growth and to mainstream industry-related competitiveness concerns across all policy areas.
The communication aims at promoting a more business friendly Europe through actions to simplify the legislative framework. In this regard, key topics are:
·Facilitate the access to third country markets through harmonisation of international standards,
·Flexible, simpler public procurement rules,
The following actions are foreseen to support the competitiveness of the European industry:
- Developing the necessary infrastructures, offering a stable, simplified and predictable regulatory framework favourable for entrepreneurship and innovation
- Secure access to energy and raw materials at affordable prices
- European Financing instruments (COSME, Horizon 2020, Structural Funds)
- Facilitating the progressive integration of EU firms and of SMEs in particular, in global value chains
- Support innovation and industrial projects by creating alternative sources of financing
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and IndustriAll Europe believes that the proposal lacks social dimension and actions which could “deliver education, training, social security and workers’ participation”- said industriAll Europe General Secretary Ulrich Eckelmann.
EU launches new 2030 climate and energy policy
On Wednesday 22 January, the Commission launched the 2030 framework for EU climate change and energy policies. The new package sets new climate and energy objectives for 2030. The new pillars of the 2030 policy framework are :
·reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% below the 1990 level, (EU2020 target was 20% reduction)
·an EU-wide binding target for renewable energy of at least 27%,
·renewed ambitions for energy efficiency policies,
·a new governance system and a set of new indicators to ensure a competitive and secure energy system
The new 2030 framework aims at ensuring regulatory certainty for investors and a coordinated approach among Member States, leading to the development of new technologies.
Next to the Communication, another legislative proposal was also published for a market stability reserve for the EU emissions trading system (EU ETS) starting in 2021. Additionally, a report on energy prices and costs in Europe was issued as well, suggesting that the rising energy prices can be partly mitigated by ensuring cost effective energy and climate policies, competitive energy markets and improved energy efficiency.
According to EurActiv, industry groups, such as Business Europe described the initiative as positive for being simple and cost-effective. However environmentalist weren’t satisfied with proposal and claim that stricter, more serious in order to achieve the global warming 2°C targets.
As for energy efficiency, “the Commission’s analysis shows that a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 40% would require an increased level of energy savings of approximately 25% in 2030,” however no such a target was proposed.
Regarding the problem of carbon leakage, Tony Robson, the CEO of Knauf Insulation sadly noted that the “Commission has proposed a way forward that will drive costs up while ignoring energy efficiency – the only guaranteed, cost neutral way to drive competitiveness through reduced energy costs.” (EurActiv)
European Parliament approves new criteria for EU Procurement rules
On 15 January the European Parliament approved new EU rules on public procurement and concession contracts.New rules will ensure “better quality and value for money”.Furthermore, it introduces new award criteria that place more emphasis on environmental considerations, social aspects and innovation.
Another important aspect of the new rules is to lessen administrative burden for small and medium business. The bidding procedure for companies will be simpler, with a standard “European Single Procurement Document” based on self-declarations.
The European Parliament also agreed to recommend the use of electronic tools such as Building Information Modelling 3D software tools (BIM) for public works contracts to encourage more efficient construction procedure in Europe. BIM is part of the e-procurement rules, which will be generalised after two years the new directives are introduced.
The directives will enter into force 20 days after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. After this date, member states will have two years to implement the new rules into their national law.
News in brief
National award winner projects
Precast in building award- Belgium
The Precast in building award has been won by AZ Groeninge. The building has white precast concrete façade. Indeed, this façade resumes well the full potential of precast concrete. It contains an integrated water flow system in the form of gutter which prevents the water from flowing along the facade.
For further information please click here.
3 February 2014
ECP TF Health, Environment and Hygiene
3 February 2014
ECP TF Sustainable Concrete
11 February 2014
Masonry Alliance – Europe
13 February 2014
ECP Board meeting
17 February 2014
18-20 February 2014
20 February 2014
DG ENVI Resource Efficiency Final Workshop
20 February 2014
CEN/TC 104/TG 20/Editorial Panel
24 February 2014
CPE – CPR WG
25 February 2014
ECP Thermal Mass
26 February 2014
Environmental Commission (TBC)
4 March 2014
5-7 March 2014
CEN/TC 104/SC 1 and CEN/TC 104
11 March 2014
ECP TF Fire and Eurocodes
25 March 2014
BIBM Board meeting
27 March 2014
Concrete Initiative- Roundtable
4 April 2014
BIBM Technical Commission
14-15 April 2014
17 April 2014
CEN/TC 229/WG 1 and WG4
Brussels, Belgium (tbc)
25 April 2014
CEN/TC 104/TG 20
21-23 May 2014
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