22nd Oct 2016

EU parliament fails to sell unused body scanners

  • Airport: The six body scanners are still in the EU parliament basement and are now outdated (Photo: Flickr/Mr. Wright)

The European Parliament seems to have found no buyers for its six unused body scanners, which have been lying around in its basement since 2005.

The final step in the public tender for the six scanners should have taken place on Friday morning (12 March), when, according to the EU official journal, offers were supposed to be "opened in public."

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Parliament officials confirmed that there were no meetings in the assigned room, the door to which was locked shut all day.

A formal announcement on the failed auction is expected early next week.

A second tender may be organised if the leaders of the political groups and the president of the legislature agree to do so.

The six devices were acquired in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, on the recommendation of an external consultant.

They cost €725,730, but were never put in use, since the security threat level at the EU building in Brussels was never deemed high enough to justify their installation.

The machines are already out of date in airport security terms, with similar models today used only for "military purposes" in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Last year, they became something of an embarrassment when MEPs found out about the purchase.

Only a few months earlier, they had opposed a bill allowing an EU-wide roll out of body scanners at airports, arguing that they amount to a "virtual strip search," even as the machines sat in the basement.

"It was absolutely ridiculous to buy them and a total waste of taxpayers' money," an independent Austrian MEP, Martin Ehrenhauser, told this website.

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