Activists demonstrate in front of the European Parliament in Brussels: “Help people heat homes”
Brussels, Belgium, 11 January 2023 – Activists and partners of the Unlock campaign – a diverse coalition of civil society organisations, including among others Positive Money Europe, Renovate Europe and WWF – demonstrated in front of the European Parliament, holding a banner displaying the slogan “Help People Heat Homes”.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Pierre Larrouturou (S&D), Radan Kanev (EPP), Sean Kelly (EPP) and Martin Hojsík (Renew Europe), met the activists, who are calling to support the inclusion in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) of so-called Mortgage Portfolio Standards, namely a tool that would require banks to increase the energy performance of buildings covered by their mortgages.
The demonstration comes ahead of the vote by the EU Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy on the reviewed text of the directive, happening on January 23rd.
Serena Di Luccio, Campaigner at Positive Money Europe and Coordinator of the Unlock campaign, said: “The EU Parliament has the opportunity to put on paper the commitment that banks must take on to help people renovate their homes. There is an annual financial gap of 275 billion euros to meet the EU’s building renovation targets – banks must do their part to cover this gap. We urge MEPs to make this happen in the next phases of the negotiation”.
Peter Sweatman, Chief Executive of Climate Strategy & Partners, said: “European homes are all in net-zero emissions committed economies. Mortgage portfolio standards just help banks help owners see this and be able to act on time and when it makes good economic sense”.
“As the energy and environmental crises are raging, most people in Europe live in leaky houses, powered by fossil energy. This is no longer acceptable – Mathilde Nonnon, Sustainable Finance Policy Officer at WWF European Policy Office, commented – The EU has pledged to renovate 35 million buildings by 2030 in order to meet its climate objectives, yet it is currently falling behind schedule. EU institutions must help people renovate their homes. We can only achieve that with a very ambitious combination of both public and private funding”.
“Mortgage portfolio standards (MPS) have the potential to increase funding for energy renovations and make it more accessible to millions of Europeans – Adrian Joyce, Campaign Director of Renovate Europe, added – By leveraging private financing through banks, MPS can lead to important energy savings in terms of energy security, lower energy bills, and our energy and climate goals”.
To reaffirm their commitment, Unlock activists handed to MEPs an open letter, signed in December by 36 experts and NGOs, urging EU institutions to make the proposal of Mortgage Portfolio Standards mandatory.
“Having EU financing mechanisms to renovate buildings is a concrete way to fight climate change, but it is also an effective way to fight energy poverty and inequalities while getting out of our imported fuels dependency and creating green jobs” – MEP Pierre Larrouturou commented receiving the letter from activists.
“The transformation of the EU building stock will only succeed if EU citizens are supported with the right financial instruments. – MEP Radan Kanev added – To make renovations more attractive through affordable lending tools is a priority to achieve the EU renovation challenge”.