21st Sep 2019

EU parliament ceiling falls down again

  • The Pflimlin building is shown on the left of the picture, with the heart shaped roof (Photo: wikipedia)

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

The cave-in saw three concrete slabs, each measuring 25 square metres, in the Pierre Pflimlin office block give way on Saturday (12 December) following heavy rain, a parliament source said.

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The offices, which normally house communications staff, were empty. But the collapse took place just 48 hours before MEPs and civil servants are due to arrive on Monday for the last plenary session of the year.

The building, named after a former parliament president from the 1980s, was inaugurated in 1991 at a cost of €38 million.

The latest incident comes after a 10-tonne chunk of the ceiling in the Strasbourg plenary chamber fell down in August 2008.

The 2008 cave-in saw parliament conduct an inspection of the entire complex, which exposed flaws in the construction of glass walkways, but which missed the Pflimlin problem.

The Strasbourg seat has been a source of embarrassment for MEPs in recent years.

In 2007 officials found alarming levels of asbestos. In 2006 it emerged that Strasbourg authorities had been overcharging the EU by millions of euros a year in rent for 25 years. In 2002 Legionnaires disease was found in the plumbing.

It has also become a symbol of bureaucratic waste.

Thousands of EU staff are forced to decamp from Brussels to Strasbourg 12 times a year due to a 1992 political deal between the UK and France naming it as the legislature's official residence.

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