Monday

16th May 2022

'Important' crack shuts MEPs' chamber for months

  • Scaffolding in the chamber is to stay for at least six months (Photo: europalr.europa.eu)

The EU parliament's plenary chamber in Brussels is to stay closed for "at least" six months due to a crack in the roof.

The parliament said in a statement on Tuesday (9 October) that one of the curved, horizontal beams which supports the 750-seat chamber's cavernous ceiling, had a "weak spot" when it was put in.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The spot became "fragile" with "ageing," causing an "important crack." The fissure increased weight on two other beams "which made them crack too."

It noted that repair work is "expected to take at least six months."

The chamber is largely unused anyway because most plenary sessions take place in the parliament's second home in Strasbourg.

But MEPs already had to cancel one Brussels "mini-plenary" in November and to evacuate 200 staff from part of the building because of the problem. The six-month lag means another mini-plenary, due in February, is also unlikely to take place.

Marjory van den Broeke, a parliament spokeswoman, said some November business was put on the shelf, while other items, such as a debate on the EU's next seven-year budget, were moved to the October session in Strasbourg.

"It took quite a lot of juggling to get it right for Strasbourg in October," she noted.

She added that the six-month timeline could change because officials have not yet decided how to fix the damage or hired a company to do the work.

Meanwhile, chat in the corridors of the assembly says building inspectors found other, more serious problems with the 20-year-old so-called Paul Henri Spaak builidng.

But parliament's top spokesman Jaume Duch told EUobserver it is not true.

"I'm sorry, but these are just rumours ... Depending on the kind of work we will have to do in the hemicycle [the plenary chamber], we might have to stop people from working in parts of the building around it. But this would only be one section of the building," he said.

For her part, Van den Broeke noted that the hemicycle ceiling is currently being held up by a "shoring structure."

Another contact noted: "The parliament is still standing. I am still working in the building and I haven't made my will yet."

The latest problem recalls events in 2008, when a large chunk of the ceiling in the Strasbourg plenary chamber fell onto MEPs' seats during the summer break.

A much smaller chunk of the ceiling also fell down in a parliament office in Strasbourg in 2009.

European Parliament ceiling collapses

Although languishing in the middle of summer holidays, there was some activity in the European Parliament in Strasbourg last week when part of the ceiling of the main plenary room collapsed.

EU parliament ceiling falls down again

Part of the ceiling in the EU parliament complex in Strasbourg fell down over the weekend, in the second such incident in 18 months.

EU lobbies Hungary to break oil sanctions deadlock

After the EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen's Budapest trip, Hungary suggested it wants EU funds to offset the extra costs from receiving different oil sources, and the increased energy prices the planned Russian oil embargo entails.

Opinion

The EU Parliament Covid inquiry: the questions MEPs must ask

A basic lack of transparency around the EU's vaccines procurement negotiations has prevented effective public and parliamentary scrutiny. It has also made it impossible to answer some of the key questions we put forward here.

News in Brief

  1. McDonald's to sell up and exit Russia
  2. Nordic nations to help Sweden and Finland if attacked
  3. Germany to reject EU green label for nuclear
  4. Afghans and Syrians using Western Balkans to enter EU
  5. Putin: Russia will respond if Nato bolsters Sweden and Finland
  6. British PM urges Northern Irish parties to work together
  7. EU-US pledge to counter Russian propaganda in Ukraine
  8. EU greenhouse-gas emissions rebound to pre-pandemic levels 

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  3. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  4. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersHuge support for Ukraine
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBWorkers want EC to limit subcontracting chains in construction

Latest News

  1. EU countries rush to expand gas import capacity
  2. MEPs call to speed up curbs on toxic 'forever chemicals'
  3. Russia's war stifles EU pandemic recovery
  4. Sweden and Finland Nato decision is right for Baltic
  5. Sweden to join Finland in applying for Nato
  6. Russia sanctions and energy dominate Next WEEK
  7. Will 'Putin's Nato' follow Warsaw Pact into obscurity?
  8. EU reaches deal on flagship cybersecurity law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us