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EU rejects government's 'market rents' claim

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EU rejects government's 'market rents' claim
Photo: Sven Lindner
11:30 CEST+02:00
When controversial plans to remove the rent ceiling in favour of market rates in Sweden's housing sector were revealed two weeks ago, the Minister for Local Government, Mats Odell , said the government was simply responding to EU demands.

Nonsense, says the EU.

Odell claimed that EU regulations on state subsidies and competition were behind a change of direction in the inquiry into the future of public housing. But an EU official who spoke to newspaper Dagens Nyheter said that there was no such demand from Brussels.

"What I can say is that the only thing the Commission would object to is if the earnings from public housing companies were used to subsidise purely commercial operations," said the head of the EU Commission unit handling the issue, Joaquin Fernandez Martin.

For the EU to get involved, the housing companies, many of which are owned by local authorities, would have to be involved in pure sales, for example of telephones or household fixtures and fittings. As long as the residents benefit from any profits, Fernandez Martin told DN, the EU does not consider the operation to be illegal subsidisation.

Mats Odell said that he would contact the EU Commission himself before he commented further.

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