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<EUROPEAN SEMESTER: 2018 Real Estate Results

Full report under epf18-51 of 27.08.2018

2018 is an exceptional harvest:

  • The Council Recommendation for the Netherlands reads as if it had been copy-pasted from the Stichting Fair Huur / EPF complaint about state aid to Dutch social housing companies.
  • Concerning Polish state aid to retail that discriminates against non-Polish European investors, the European Commission will surely end up building on the precedent set in the Council Recommendation for Hungary for very similar state aid.
  • Sweden becomes the first member state ever to have a Council Recommendation devoted exclusively to reform of their housing market and planning law / building permits (Annex IV).

Background

Born of the financial crisis, the European Semester, or 'EU Economic Governance', is the annual process by which, on the basis of European Commission analysis, EU member states agree in 'Council Recommendations' on the specific reforms that each state must carry out to contribute to the financial stability and economic health of the Union.

EPF follows the European Semester because of its potential to trigger or support country reforms. That's why EPF and some of its members and allies have developed guidance for the Commission on rent regulation in Denmark and France, on obstacles to large retail establishment in Denmark and on planning reform in Romania. All of these got traction.

Estate agency issues: EPF now follows these but we have found only one issue for one country. The Council Recommendation for Croatia seeks enhanced competition in regulated professions. The Country Report shows that according to an indicator developed by the Commission, the level of restrictiveness in Croatia remains higher than the weighted EU average for six of the seven analysed professions, one of which is real estate agents.