A commission of experts set up by the Senate has recently been discussing the expropriation of a large housing company. But the activists of the Deutsche Wohnen & Co. initiative do not want to leave the field to politicians and constitutional lawyers alone.
Rand 700 participants from Germany and abroad are expected to attend an expropriation conference in Berlin on Friday. Eight months after the successful referendum to found a large housing company in the capital, they want to discuss how such a project, which has been unique up to now, can be implemented. Panel discussions, workshops and other formats are planned for this until Sunday. The whole thing is being organized by the Deutsche Wohnen & Co. expropriation initiative and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.
One concern of the conference is to “internationalize” the topic, said Jenny Stupka, spokeswoman for the initiative. then ever higher rental costs as a result of the actions of profit-oriented real estate groups are a problem not only in Berlin or Germany, but in many countries. “Rising inflation and energy prices have further aggravated the situation,” says Stupka.
The aim of the meeting is also to answer open questions on the subject of expropriation in cooperation with numerous experts. This includes the amount of compensation, its financing or the exact structure of an institution under public law for the takeover and administration of socialized apartments. “We want to advance the topic in concrete terms,” said Stupka.
In the referendum initiated by the initiative on September 26 last year, a good 59 percent of voters voted for the expropriation of real estate companies with more than 3,000 apartments in Berlin. The hope of the initiative is that the increase in rents can be stopped or at least slowed down by such a socialization in exchange for compensation.
As a consequence of the referendum, the red-green-red Senate set up a commission of experts headed by the classic federal justice minister, Herta Däubler-Gmelin (SPD). They began their work at the end of April and in the coming months are expected to resolve the question of whether an expropriation law would be constitutional and also to examine housing, corporate law and financial policy issues. After one year, the committee is to submit a recommendation to the Senate on how to proceed.
After controversial debates in the past few days and weeks, Kupka again emphasized the expropriation initiative’s demand that the commission should always meet in public. “What’s happening here falls behind all political appointments to the Commission,” she said. Urban development senator Andreas Geisel (SPD) considers it necessary for the commission to meet internally from time to time in order to discuss new paths as impartially as possible, “without being publicly crucified”. The left will be strong like the initiative for public meetings. The panel consists of 13 experts, mainly legal scholars.
Within the red-green-red Senate, the positions on the expropriation question are different anyway. The SPD, with the governing mayor Franziska Giffey, rejects the idea that the links are unreservedly in favor of home expropriations. The Greens also consider such a step as a last resort possible.