In this edition of our talk show Brussels, my love?, we dive into the complex housing crisis touching most EU countries today and hear about a new media law to protect journalists against interference.
This week we were joined by Dorthe Nielsen, the executive director of Eurocities, Petros Fassoulas, Secretary General of the campaign group European Movement, and Kait Bolongaro, Managing editor at regulatory news outlet Mlex.
The panel discussed the critical problem of housing across Europe from Portugal to Ireland. Thousands took to the streets of Lisbon last week to call for the right to housing after a summer of record tourism and in a context of growing gentrification. This week, an EU Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg debated the critical issue with many MEPs agreeing that the EU could no longer call this a local problem, but rather a European crisis that needed European solutions.
Petros Fassoulas told the panel his son dreamt of studying in Dublin this year but had to opt for Toulouse instead due to the lack of housing in Ireland. According to Eurostat, house prices went up by 49% and rents by 18% in 2022 in Europe. This year, house prices have been dropping slightly but banks are not lending or loans are getting too expensive due to high-interest rates.
Panelists also touched on the European Media Freedom Act. MEPs in Strasbourg adopted their position this week with a vote in Strasbourg ahead of negotiations with member states. They want stronger rules to protect press freedom and journalists and enforce transparency of media funding to protect outlets from political pressure and to defend journalists from spying software, like Pegasus.
"I think it's a really exciting law. I believe journalism is one of the key pillars of democracy. The goal of journalism is to bring truth to the public. Shed light in dark places. And, you know, nowadays we're seeing a more tense relationship with politicians in the press, and that antagonism is just really making it harder and harder for journalists to do their job, especially in countries that have less and less media freedom and less press plurality," said Kait Bolangaro.
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