Claude Meisch (Minister of Housing & Spatial Planning, Minister of Education) – Education and Housing: Luxembourg’s Building Blocks for a Better Future

Claude Meisch is the minister responsible for two of the government’s priorities: Education and Housing and Spatial planning. He plans to diversify school programs to adapt them to the needs of Luxembourg’s diverse population. He also proposes bringing together all the involved stakeholders to accelerate the authorization of housing to make it more responsive to market demand.

What are your priorities as a minister in these two ministries?

Both education and housing are crucial for the future of our country. We must prepare young people for their future and develop our society and economy. We also need housing, particularly affordable housing. I have been working on diversifying the educational programs to adapt our school system to the diversity and growth of our population. Housing availability has stalled because of demographic growth and the slow authorization processes. It’s a priority not only for the Ministry of Housing and Spatial planning but for the entire government to build more, to build faster. Historically we have always had the ability to react, to be responsive to problems, and we need to regain that ability, especially for housing creation.

Can international education also promote Luxembourgish?

The Luxembourgish language is part of our identity. It is important for families moving to Luxembourg that their children learn our country’s language. But there is a very international, multicultural third of the population represented by more than a hundred different languages or nationalities. We met this challenge by starting the launch of public international schools. In these, the teachers are civil servants or state employees, just like in all other schools. To diversify our school courses and adapt them to the needs of the population, we based this on the European school system. European schools were created to ensure the education of children from different backgrounds, and different mother tongues, in a single school and educate them together.

“It’s a priority not only for the Ministry of Housing and Spatial planning but for the entire government to build more, to build faster”

What conditions are required for the stress in the housing market to be addressed?

Because housing is a priority, it requires the support of all ministries. It also demands partnerships with municipalities. The ambition to build more and much faster requires accelerating authorization procedures to be more responsive to market demand. The idea is to bring together all the stakeholders to find out why things are blocked and how to speed up the processes. Those impacted by the lack of affordable housing need to be protected by state intervention. We support public developers, municipalities, volunteer sector agencies, and charitable sectors to build and manage affordable housing. But we should increase the involvement of the private sector and private developers.