Sunday

17th Feb 2019

EU parliament holds off on makeover of its building

  • A large-scale renovation or even the reconstruction of the parliament's building in Brussels would probably not sit well with voters (Photo: European Parliament)

The European Parliament will not order any grand-scale renovation or a rebuilding of its Brussels-based Paul Henri Spaak (PHS) building in the near future.

The so-called Bureau met on Monday evening (12 June) to discuss an assessment of the building's state.

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The Bureau consists of parliament's president, Antonio Tajani, alongside 19 other MEPs, and is responsible for the parliament's organisational matters.

According to a press release issued on Tuesday, the Bureau decided to ask the parliament's secretary-general, Klaus Welle, to come with “detailed proposals on possible solutions for the refurbishment” of the PHS building, but “at a later stage”.

These proposals should look at “all potential options”, including “no action, renovation, and reconstruction”.

Brussels-based news website Politico reported on Monday, before the meeting, that the building does not meet the European building standards.

UK tabloid newspapers said on Monday that the UK could be forced to pay between £53 million (€60 million) and £58 million (€65 million) for the refurbishment.

However, these concerns now seem premature.

The PHS building was constructed in the 1990s and named after Paul Henri Spaak, one of Belgium's founding fathers of European integration.

'Crumbling' building

At a press conference about the EU's Erasmus+ education programme, when asked, Tajani only announced there would be “an official communique” on the refurbishment subject - which was published less than two hours later - but he would not comment further.

Bureau member Catherine Bearder, a British MEP from the Liberal Democrat party, told EUobserver on Tuesday that she had not attended Monday's meeting.

However, she did suggest some refurbishment would be reasonable, since the current building was “crumbling”.

But the Bureau members, who decided to hold off on any decision, will have considered that any costly project involving the EU parliament's premises might not sit well with voters.

The next EU elections are less than two years away - a preliminary date is set for 6 to 9 June 2019.

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