Every month we introduce you to one of the people leading the work of our member organisations. In this edition, we fly to the Baltic to visit Talinn, in Estonia. Housing Europe Board member, Andres Jaadla is the CEO of EKÜL and introduces the organisation, gives us information about the perception of housing in the country and shares some thoughts about the current challenges at national and regional level. Plus, as usual, he presents his own way to strike a good life-work balance.
- I would describe EKÜL in 10 words as the biggest cooperative housing organisation in Estonia, an independent union of 1.400 apartment associations participating actively in the housing-related policy developments in the country.
- Our key objective is satisfying our residents in well managed apartment associations (housing cooperatives). We have the aim to be among the forerunners of democratic civil society and recognized representative of interests of our members in partnership with Estonian state institutions, municipalities, service providers as well as with partners abroad.
- Apart from housing provision, our mission is to support the sustainable development of apartment associations in Estonia, through the implementation of knowledge-based activities such as training, consulting and advisory services, research, national and international cooperation projects and high-level representation both at national and international level.
- We joined Housing Europe because it is the strongest network of housing organisations in Europe today, a dynamic voice in housing debates and umbrella-organization with high capacity for raising housing policy issues at European level.
- Housing is considered to be in Estonia a sector that must be ensured by efficient legislative drafting, standardisation and support programmes. The task of the state is to ensure the conditions in the housing market that will allow owners of residential premises to solve their housing problems as independently as possible. The state also aims at co-operation with housing sector umbrella organisations like EKÜL for the purposes of the development of the housing sector.
- Our key partners in the country are our members – apartment associations all over Estonia; state institutions: ministries, parliament Riigikogu; universities. We have close cooperation with Fund KredEx and local municipalities as well as with private sector: banks, construction companies and other service providers.
- Our main housing policy priorities at the moment are the availability of housing to the Estonian population, quality and sustainability of the housing stock, diversity and balanced sustainable development of residential areas.
- The major challenge for the country today is maintenance and extension of the life span of the existing housing stock which is largely inherited from the Soviet period at a sustainable level all over Estonia: refurbishment of blocks of flats from 1960-90s, rising level of energy efficiency and renewable energy in residential buildings while ensuring healthy indoor climate and improving living environment with modern and smart solutions at affordable costs.
- I start my working day in my car, making necessary calls while driving from Rakvere to Tallinn. After reaching the office, I like to start my day with a little chat with each person of our small and great team of EKÜL.
- After leaving the office I make the summary of the day while driving back to Rakvere.
- Currently I am reading “Smart Cities” by Anthony Townsend in Estonian language, while listening to Estonian music, for example one of my favourites classics like Arvo Pärt or something in hard rock style, based on the interest from earlier times of my life when I was playing in a punk band myself. My latest favourite this Summer is the Irish rock band Cruachan.
- I move around by bike in Rakvere and for longer distances I use either car or public transport. I also enjoy nordic walking and swimming, especially in summer mornings.
- I prefer having on my table... Well, I prefer having an empty and clean working table in end of my working day.