The Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind (FPH) is a Swiss foundation that makes grants to civil society movements and organisations to support their actions in favour of a social and ecological transition.
The EAC (European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and the City), created in 2014, is the fruit of regular meetings between various groups of city dwellers concerned by the effects of financial speculation in real estate. Initial meetings (Naples 2012, Paris 2013, Nice 2014 and London 2014) were devoted to federating movements around definitions and campaigns pertinent on the scale of their shared geographic and sociopolitical space, i.e., Europe.
Today, after 4 years of organisation and action, the EAC includes 29 movement from 20 countries, and it continues to grow. Its active members constitute a panel of organised inhabitants with diverse profiles: renters’ groups, former owners whose property has been taken away, groups of people who have been evicted, who are without housing or who have taken over abandoned buildings in urban, peri-urban or rural zones.
The EAC is particularly interested in developing forms of organisation that enable democratic and inclusive coordination at the European level for grassroots movements set up in extremely divers linguistic, cultural and political contexts: Mediterranean and Atlantic countries, former Soviet block countries, Scandinavian countries, French-speaking countries, etc. This diversity is the main strength of the EAC, but also its main challenge. With this in mind, the network—still under construction—is being organised horizontally and transparently around a common denominator: the need to provide decent housing for all in cities conceived of as shared spaces.
The coalition’s governance is based on a monthly meeting of all members (via internet). Each member of the coalition has a vote and a right to veto texts diffused in the name of the Coalition. All members of the coalition are consulted and a majority must approve the annual budget and any budget adjustments that may be made later.
In 2018, leadership of the coalition was shared between three persons from the following movements: Habita! (Lisbon, Portugal), Common Front for the Right to Housing (Bucharest, Romania) and Stop Auctions (Athens, Greece), which handle administrative aspects of the network. Administrative and financial management of the coalition is provided by the secretariat with support from the French association Les Amis de No-Vox, which signed the Agreement with FPH. This association provides a mailing address and manages the network’s bank account.
Four working groups (Research - Communication - Toolbox - Logistics) function independently. They put their theoretical and practical work at the disposal of all members.
The European Action Coalition for the Right to Housing and the City strives for the recognition, defence and actual application of these rights, which are today threatened or weakened in many countries by the enactment of austerity policies. All the groups and movements are involved in a day-to-day fight against expulsions and for decent and affordable lodging for all, to provide migrants and refugees with decent lodgings while respecting their mobile or ephemeral settlement patterns.
Together we share a vision of cities where transformations, public services and spaces, transportation, the supply of water and energy, and food distribution systems are all managed in a way that respects shared resources that are produced, transformed and managed for and by all. We want a kind of development that meets the real social and environmental needs of people who live in cities, on their outskirts or in rural areas.