Thursday

29th Sep 2022

Ashton chooses €12-million-a-year EU headquarters

  • The Axa building (c) will be the face of the EEAS for visiting VIPs (Photo: Wikipedia)

The EU's new diplomatic service is to be housed in the so-called Axa or Triangle building on the Rond Point Schuman in the heart of the EU quarter in Brussels.

"After consultations with member states, the European Parliament and the European Commission, the high representative/vice-president Catherine Ashton has decided that the European External Action Service should be housed in the so-called Axa/Triangle building as this proves to be the most cost-efficient and effective solution," her spokesman, Darren Ennis told this website on Wednesday (27 October).

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

EUobserver understands that Ms Ashton aims to sign the contract in the coming weeks and to start moving in staff in early 2011 with a view to being fully installed by April.

The European External Action Service [EEAS] is to be formally launched on 1 December at a ceremony in the lobby of the Axa building, which is already home to the EU institutions' recruitment service, EPSO, and a handful of coffee and sandwich shops.

EEAS secretary general, Pierre Vimont, will start work on the same day. Its budget and personnel chief, David O'Sullivan, will start on 15 November, but the pair will initially sit next to Ms Ashton's existing office on the 12th floor of the commission's headquarters, the Berlaymont building, across the road from the Axa bloc.

Ms Ashton had asked the European Council to make way for her people in its so-called Lex building, across a busy road from the commission, but received a No in response. A second option, the commission's Charlemagne building, one side lane away from the EU executive headquarters, could have taken over a year to kit out properly.

The EEAS will pay €12 million a year in rent for 50,000 square metres of space. EU officials are keen to point out that the cost of existing arrangements, under which EEAS-to-be staff are housed in eight separate buildings in the EU capital, is €25 million a year and that Axa, a Belgian insurance and real estate firm, gave Ms Ashton one year's worth of free tenancy to seal the agreement.

The Triangle building is divided into six chunks, each one named after the capital of one of the six founding EU countries.

The swankiest office space is on the seventh floor of the Hague wing, overlooking the EU Council and the commission on the Schuman roundabout, and in the Luxembourg wing, overlooking the leafy Parc du Cinquantenaire.

"This side is much more beautiful. But the other side is better if she likes to oversee where everyone is going," an Axa spokeswoman told EUobserver during a tour of the bloc in August.

Letter

Unsubstantiated tittle-tattle from anonymous 'sources'

Your article "Staff leaving EU diplomatic service amid bad working conditions" is riddled with inaccuracies and appears to be based entirely on unsubstantiated tittle-tattle from anonymous 'sources'.

Europe's far-right celebrates Meloni victory

In Warsaw and Budapest, the prime ministers were quick to congratulate the new Italian leader, who — they hope — will back them in their battles with the EU over civil rights, rule of law and democratic backsliding.

EU seeks crisis powers to take control over supply chains

The Single Market Emergency Instrument (SMEI) introduces a staged, step-by-step, approach — providing emergency powers to the EU Commission to tackle any potential threat which could trigger disruptions or shortages of key products within the EU.

Column

EU should admonish less, and listen more, to the Global South

Whether on Russia, or gas, or climate change, or food security, the EU's constant finger-wagging and moralising is becoming unbearably repetitive and self-defeating. Most countries in the Global South view it as eurocentric and neo-colonial.

Podcast

How Europe helped normalise Georgia Meloni

Should Georgia Meloni be considered neofascist? She insists she's a patriotic conservative. And indeed, if she's prime minister, she's expected to respect Italy's democracy — if only to keep money flowing from the EU.

News in Brief

  1. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  2. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  3. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  4. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  5. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  6. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap
  7. EU: Nord Stream explosions 'result of a deliberate act'
  8. EU okays €21bn Covid-recovery funding for Italy amid concern

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Netherlands tops EU social safety net for the poor
  2. New EU rules to make companies liable for their AI failures
  3. Can King Charles III reset the broken Brexit relationship?
  4. Meloni's navy-blockade plan to stop Libya migrants 'unlikely'
  5. Underwater explosions were detected near Nord Stream leaks
  6. EU countries stall new pesticide rules, blame Ukraine war
  7. The UN's Uyghur report must push EU into China sanctions
  8. Russian diamonds ban 'would cost 10,000 jobs', Antwerp claims

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us