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EU capitals want greater control over short term rentals, despite drop in tourism

Some of the EU’s major cities want more control over the continents short-term rental market, despit..

Some of the EU’s major cities want more control over the continents short-term rental market, despite a fall in tourism.

The industry has witnessed a dramatic fall in business because of the coronavirus pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped local leaders from wanting to keep these numbers low, in order to improve the lives of local residents.

Mayors from Paris and Berlin are among some of these capitals that want to see change, which is aimed largely at online short-term rental platforms, such as Airbnb.

Prague’s mayor, Zdeněk Hřib, said earlier this year that property owners in the city centre would be banned from leasing out their flats, apart from when they officially lived there and were vacating it temporarily. Any tourist who wished to use Airbnb, for example, would be restricted to renting a single room from somebody still living in the property.

Femke Halsema, the Mayor of Amsterdam, has warned that the city will be “extremely cautious” when the time comes for tourism to be properly revived.

And a great deal of this is to try to mitigate the negative effects of tourism.


Housing Programme Manager for the City of Amsterdam



“People are complaining a lot about the fact that it disturbs the neighborhood and their lives, and it is also a great danger for the shortage of housing we have in Amsterdam. We dont want apartments – residential apartments – turned into hotel apartments. An apartment is to live in, not to have hotel guests in. Thats what we have hotels for,” Albert Eefting, Housing Programme Manager for the City of Amsterdam told Euronews.

“I think every city in Europe has a restriction on the number of nights…it differs from city to city how many nights, but it’s important that there is a restriction on the number of nights that can be rented out. But they [Airbnb] should know how many nights are rented out and, all that information, the platform knows very well because they control the booking system – we dont,” Eefting added.

In December last year, the European Court of Justice declared Airbnb an online platform, rather than a real estate company, which essentially meant it didn’t have to abide by housing laws.

But the EU Commission will publish new proposals later this year, named the Digital Services Act, aimed at better relegation by “strengthening the Single Market for digital services and foster innovation and competitiveness of the European online environment”.

Many locals in Amsterdam do want to see change too, describing the housing market as difficult and expensive because they have to compete with large companies that buy up the apartments for Airbnb or other short-term rental organisations.

Airbnb, however, claims it is working with cities across Europe, but many people feel it has not gone far enough and officials in Amsterdam, and elsewhere, are determined to change that.

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Covid: Thousands protest in France against proposed new vaccine pass

A new draft law would in effect ban unvaccinated people from public life.

Demonstrators in the capital, Paris, held placards emblazoned with phrases like “no to vaccine passes”.

Interior Ministry officials said 34 people were arrested and some 10 police officers were injured after the protests turned violent in some places.

The bill, which passed its first reading in the lower house of France’s parliament on Thursday, would remove the option of showing a negative Covid-19 test to gain access to a host of public venues.

Instead, people would have to be fully vaccinated to visit a range of spaces, including bars and restaurants.

The government says it expects the new rules to come into force on 15 January, although the opposition-dominated Senate could delay the process.

But demonstrators on Saturday accused the government of trampling on their freedoms and treating citizens unequally.

Others targeted their anger at the president, Emmanuel Macron, over comments he made earlier this week in relation to unvaccinated citizens, telling Le Parisian newspaper that he wanted to “piss them off”.

One protester, hospital administrator Virginie Houget, told the Reuters news agency that Mr Macron’s remarks were “the last straw”.

And in Paris, where some 18,000 people marched against the new law, demonstrators responded to his coarse language by chanting: “We’ll piss you off”.

TV images showed altercations between protesters and police turning violent in some places. In Montpellier officers used teargas during clashes with the demonstrators.

Turnout for the protests was estimated to be about four times higher than the last major demonstrations on 18 December, when some 25,500 people marched across the country.

But despite the vocal protests, opposition to the new measures is not widespread and recent polling suggests the vast majority of people back the vaccine pass.

France is one of the most highly vaccinated countries in Europe, with more than 90% of over-12s eligible for the shot fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, new coronavirus infections are rising rapidly across France as the new Omicron variant takes hold.

The country recorded more than 300,000 new cases for the second time in a week on Friday and admissions to intensive care wards are rising steadily, putting healthcare systems under strain.

Some hospitals have reported that some 85% of ICU patients are not vaccinated against Covid-19.

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Covid-19: ‘There is no choice between lives and livelihoods,’ OECD chief Gurría says

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:26

As European countries move into their second Covid-19 lockdowns of t..

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:26

As European countries move into their second Covid-19 lockdowns of the year, the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development backs measures seen by many as tough. Ángel Gurría tells FRANCE 24: "If you win the battle against the virus first, you will have less economic consequences." He adds that "there is no choice between lives and livelihoods; it's a false dilemma".

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Mexican economist Ángel Gurría has been Secretary-General of the OECD since 2006 – throughout the global financial crash and subsequent recovery.

With hopes now high for viable vaccines against Covid-19, he's telling world leaders that the solutions to health and economic crises must carry the elements of our solutions to the environmental crisis too: "The single most important inter-generational responsibility is with the planet. That means the recovery, where we are going to make investments that have an impact for the next 30, 40 years, must absolutely have the sustainability of the planet in mind".

On the recently announced Pfizer vaccine, Gurría says: "It is a game changer […] The possibility of a vaccine being close is of enormous consequence. We still have to wait for it to be finalised, approved and distributed in sufficient amounts that it can get everywhere, so we are calculating that we are going to spend most of 2021 still living with the virus. But it changes expectations; the whole mood has improved considerably since the announcement."

On the refusal of Donald Trump, leader of the OECD's biggest single funder, to concede defeat in the US presidential election, Gurría sounds an upbeat note: "I believe that we will have an orderly transition of power in the United States come 20th January 2021. I believe in the institutions in the United States, I believe that the political forces in the United States will eventually align."

Finally, as talks drag on over a new Brexit deal on the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom, Gurría says he still expects a deal to be struck: "I believe that the common interest will lead to a deal […] The impact in Europe is going to be limited to the trade with the UK. The impact in the UK is going to be very serious, not only because of the flows of trade and flows of investment, but also because the overall business mood will be affected. So I am still counting on a deal."

Produced by Mathilde Bénézet

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Attacks in France and Austria: Europe’s response to extremism

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:40Modified: 13/11/2020 – 17:42

TALKING EUROPE © FRANCE 24
This Friday..

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:40Modified: 13/11/2020 – 17:42

TALKING EUROPE
TALKING EUROPE © FRANCE 24

This Friday marks the fifth anniversary of the Paris terror attacks, in which 130 people were killed. The last few weeks have seen more bloodshed, with attacks in the Paris region, in Nice and in the Austrian capital Vienna. European leaders are looking for solutions: ways to stop hate being preached, broadcast and acted upon, while defending individual freedoms of speech and of conscience. In our debate we ask two leading members of the European Parliament, from France and from Austria, what they believe should be done.

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Produced by Yi Song and Perrine Desplats

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  • Andreas SCHIEDER, Austrian MEP, Socialists & Democrats
  • Nathalie LOISEAU, French MEP, Renew Europe

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