A renovation wave for Europe – mobility and accessibility

A renovation wave for Europe – mobility and accessibility

On 13 November 2020, Croatian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Biljana Borzan of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:

“Across the EU, millions of people with reduced mobility such as the elderly or persons with disabilities are having difficulties finding accessible housing. A person with reduced mobility living in a multistorey building without an elevator is practically a prisoner in their own home.

In its communication on a renovation wave for Europe, under one of the key principles for building renovation towards 2030 and 2050 on high health and environmental standards, the Commission emphasises that ‘accessibility should be ensured to achieve equal access for Europe’s population, including persons with disabilities and senior citizens’.

Will projects to improve mobility and access in non-public residential buildings, such as installing elevators, be eligible for co-financing and support under the proposed renovation wave plan?”

On 2 February 2021, Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The Renovation Wave Communication presents a strategy to trigger renovations across Europe and to address a wide range of barriers to renovation investments that can be tackled under different financial instruments in accordance with the needs of Member States.

It calls, inter alia, to protect the right of everyone to have affordable, liveable, accessible and healthy housing while safeguarding cultural heritage. The communication is accompanied by a Staff Working Document that provides a comprehensive overview of the proposed support from the EU budget to unlock investment into building renovation.

Since the negotiations between the co-legislators on the different programmes of the next Multi-annual Financial Framework have not fully finished yet, the details will be established in due time.

The EU and all Member States are parties to the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities and in line with its Article 9 on accessibility they have to eliminate obstacles and barriers to accessibility, inter alia to buildings, including housing.

Accessibility remains a priority for the use of public funds and renovation policy. Under the current framework, some Member States have indeed funded the installation or the alteration of elevators in private buildings through their national funds. This was possible, in some cases, also through existing EU cohesion policy funds.

Member States may decide to make elevators eligible for funding if that serves specific national policies or if this contributes to the specific objectives of various financial instruments (e.g. in the case of EU funds).”

Source: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/P-9-2020-006184_EN.html

Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/stair-lift-elevator-trap-adjustment-1796216/

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