The current $1 billion (!) European Parliament HQ is scarcely 24 years young, which, on planet EU means it’s right about time to take the whole thing down and build a new one. On your expense, of course.
Reason? The old one does not meet the safety requirements. But why not renovate it you might ask? No, the administration favours starting anew over renovation. Costs? Nearly half a billion euros of EU taxpayer money. And yes, this is another building than the €300 million European Council HQ, also known as the ‘space egg’), which turned out twice as expensive as originally budgeted.
The Parliament’s administration, under Secretary-General Klaus Welle, is supposedly weighing options that include refurbishing the building or a total rebuild. The Bureau, comprising Parliament’s President Antonio Tajani and 14 MEPs, will meet in Strasbourg on Monday to discuss the “renovation of the Paul-Henri Spaak (PHS) building”.
Politico.eu obtained a leaked copy of a “strictly confidential” note dated May 11, which stated:
“The Administration recommends that the structure should be rebuilt rather than reinforced.”
This, of course, increases the likelihood of a new building exponentially.
The note says the “life cycle” of the European Parliament’s Spaak building is coming to an end, pointing out that rather than being purpose-built, it was “developed and constructed as an international conference centre by a Belgium real estate promoter in the late ’80s” before being taken over by the European Parliament.” Also in the note, it says Welle is still very worried about the “partial collapse of the roof of the Plenary Chamber,” caused by cracks detected in the roof of the building. Welle concludes that the building, in its current state, does not meet European standards (known to some as “Eurocode”) in terms of how the structure would respond to partial damage.
Now, there are some studies done on the ‘renovation-option’, and according to Welle’s note, that “overall reinforcement” would be “extremely costly, extremely complex and would take a long time to complete.”
Politico concludes that:
The Parliament has been looking at the problem for years: In 2010, the Spaak building was included in a list of sites needing major works; and in 2015, the Parliament’s in-house directorate general for property presented a confidential cost estimate for three options, from renovation to rebuilding.Rebuilding, said that in-house document, “reflects the real institutional ambitions of the Institution” and “answers the serious security matters relating to the structural stability of the building,” as well as being the only option that allows for “full implementation of the Restaurant strategy.”The cost? According to that in-house estimate, rebuilding would require an investment of €430 million at 2015 prices, plus or minus 10 percent. The risks involved in this option, the document says, “are definitely manageable.”