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Interview with Laurent Ghekiere

Housing Europe turns 30

Brussels, 6 June 2018 | Published in Social

Laurent has been involved in Housing Europe since June 1988 when the first executive committee was held in Bordeaux during the French congress of social housing. He is still Director of European Affairs for the Union Sociale pour l’Habitat (USH).


What does Housing Europe mean to you?

Housing Europe represents both the diversity of social housing, its actors and particularities in the EU but also the convergence of issues and developments. A good example of a European network.

What is your most vivid memory from your time at Housing Europe?

A meeting in Berlin with our German colleagues from GdW and the housing association of the city of Berlin on the day the Berlin Wall fell.

What has been the most significant achievement of the organisation during your time?
The recognition of social housing as a Service of General Economic Interest (SGEI), the EU decision on the compatibility of state aid to social housing and its exclusion from the services directive.

What is, in your view, the added value that Housing Europe brings to its members, to policy makers and to the academic world?
A real expertise on housing in the EU and the capacity to produce the biannual report on the state of housing in the EU.

How do you estimate that the role of the organisation will change in the course of the next 30 years?

Housing Europe will continue its necessary development and will become a key player in the EU to tackle the housing crisis in major European cities and advise policy makers both in Brussels and in the Member States.