On 24 March 2010, EAPN and CECODHAS-Housing Europe held a joint Conference on “Getting to grips with energy poverty From EU to Cities to Homes” in the framework of the EU sustainable energy week and the 2010 European Year for combating poverty and social exclusion.
In the context of the implementation of the 3rd Energy Package and the EU 2O2O Strategy, this conference gave the opportunity to give a more concrete idea of what energy poverty means and to urge the EU institutions and Member States to move forward on an integrated approach embracing its three main factors (low household income, high and rising costs of fuel and lack of energy efficiency in housing). Energy Poverty represents a growing challenge for the EU social cohesion (guaranteed by the new Lisbon Treaty). That implies to develop at EU level:
– the mainstreaming of EU energy policies in social inclusion policies especially
– a more targeted use of cohesion instruments for the poorest living in the most energy consuming buildings and innovative and massive investments on energy efficiency programmes as stressed by MEPs Karima Delli and Claude Turmes.
As highlighted by Ludo Horemans, President of EAPN “Successful approaches to tackle energy poverty need to put people at the heart. This means coordinating financial resources and all the key actors on the ground- local authorities, social housing organizations, and energy suppliers, but also people who are suffering from Energy Poverty themselves and the NGOs that support them. Policies should be aiming to ensure a social right to affordable energy and the empowerment of the people that use it”
Paul Magnette, Belgian Minister in charge of Energy and Environment, concluded the Conference by announcing that access to energy for all will be a key priority for the upcoming Belgian EU Presidency. He highlighted the fact that “Energy poverty should not be tackled only by social measures but should be put in the wider context of income redistribution and financial speculation”.
The Belgian presidency will work on the recognition of the problem at the EU level by progressing on how to define this problem, on the setting up common indicators and by elaborating a cross analysis of good practices at national level.
For more information:
Vincent Caron, EAPN, firstname.lastname@example.org
Julien Dijol, CECODHAS-Housing Europe, email@example.com