Wednesday

23rd May 2018

'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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

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.

Poland, Hungary push back at EU budget 'conditionality'

EU affairs ministers held their first discussion on the Commission's long-term post-Brexit budget plans - with cohesion and agriculture cuts, phasing put rebates, and the overall size emerging as major divisions.

Opinion

EU budget must not fortify Europe at expense of peace

Given the European Commission new budget's heavy focus on migration, border management and security, many are asking whether the proposal will fortify Europe at the expense of its peace commitments.

Opinion

Europe's budget stasis

The EU's budgetary muddling through might not be enough when the next crisis hits.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. 'Killer robot' projects eligible for EU defence fund
  2. Funding for European values needs radical changes
  3. Feeble EU format deflates Zuckerberg 'hearing'
  4. Are EU data watchdogs staffed for GDPR?
  5. EU pessimistic on permanent US trade exemption
  6. US asks EU to go after Russian and African villains
  7. Facebook threatened with removal from EU-US data pact
  8. Defence firms 'reap benefits' of advice to EU