Around 700 participants from Germany and abroad are expected to attend a “conference on expropriation” in Berlin on Friday.
Eight months after the successful referendum on the expropriation of large housing companies in the capital, they want to discuss how such a unique project 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 und Co. expropriate” initiative and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.
One concern of the conference is to “internationalize” the topic, said Jenny Stupka, spokeswoman for the initiative. After all, 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.
These included 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 terms of content,” said Stupka.
In a 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.
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As a consequence of the referendum, the red-green-red Senate set up a commission of experts headed by the former federal justice minister, Herta Däubler-Gmelin (SPD).
It began its work at the end of April and is to deal with the question of whether an expropriation law would be constitutional in the coming months, as well as also shed light on 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 over the past few days and weeks, Kupka once again emphasized the demand of the expropriation initiative that the commission should always meet in public. “What is happening here falls behind all political commitments to the Commission,” she said.
Urban Development Senator Andreas Geisel (SPD) believes it is necessary for the commission to meet internally from time to time in order to be able to discuss new paths as impartially as possible, “without being publicly crucified”. The left, in turn, like the initiative for public meetings, is strong. The panel consists of 13 experts, mostly legal scholars.