housing, rights, charter of fundamental rights, EU law
This chapter considers how the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights could be used by housing rights advocates across the EU. It adds to the limited base of EU
generated housing rights by its specific reference to the right to social and
housing assistance. However, the enforceability of Charter rights requires an understanding of the place of the Charter within EU law and how it applies to Member States applying their own laws or EU law. Indeed, the Charter only
applies where States are implementing EU law – a corpus of law which is broad
and growing. Thus, Charter rights can only be engaged in a local court when
some other EU measure is involved, but many EU measures impact on housing. European housing rights development must now take place in the context of interactions between the EU Charter, EU law, and national laws and policies. Some recent
cases highlight this connection between EU and national laws.
Among the housing rights provisions across European States some new models stand out. Scotland, Finland and Catalonia, among others, are widely acclaimed as having recently developed clear, measurable and enforceable sets of rights, albeit through different methods Of course, at international level all European States have ratified the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural, European Social
Charter or Revised Charter and European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), - containing elements of a right to housing. All this at a time when
globalization and particularly global financial non-regulation is playing havoc
upon States efforts to ensure coherent, equitable and sustainable housing
systems. In this chapter, I
focus on the European Union (EU) and particularly the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (the Charter). A growing range of rights provisions are developing in the EU through Treaties, Directives, Regulations and case law which highlight the shared competencies between States and theUnion. Indeed, many housing rights and right to housing cases are being decided by the EU Court – the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU formerly the European Court of Justice ECJ) arising from links between housing and other EU law provisions. Of course, the legally binding adoption of the Charter has raised the status of rights to housing and social assistance in EU law. The Charter is now a legally binding component of EU Treaty law. Its constituent rights must be respected by EU institutions and also Member States, but only when “they are implementing EU law.” A key question is how can housing rights advocates use the Charter to advance housing rights at local level.