Thursday

28th Jul 2016

Nato's new headquarters to cost €1 billion

The price tag on Nato's giant new headquarters currently under construction is expected to hit €1 billion, the organisation's secretary general said on Monday (7 february) as he warned of the dangers of not co-ordinating defence budget cuts in Europe.

"The total estimated cost of the new Nato headquarters is about €1 billion euros," the alliance's spokeswoman, Oana Lungescu, told journalists on the margins of a press briefing by Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

In reply to a question on the cost, Mr Rasmussen said that "the final figure happens to be a bit lower than the original expectation," as a result of construction prices dropping amid the economic crisis.

The initial price tag for the construction itself was at €650 million, but following the bidding procedure, the Belgian state who hosts the facility managed to lower it by 28 percent, to €460 million. On top of that come other expenses, such as demolition costs, site security, cabling, IT and audiovisual facilities, as well as personnel costs, leading to the total estimate of €1 billion.

During a ground-breaking ceremony in December 2010, Mr Rasmussen had said the new mega-headquarters were needed to accommodate all the delegations and staff, currently hosted in a barrack-style compound that was provisionally offered to Nato by the Belgian state in 1967 when the alliance was kicked out of France.

"Our current building simply cannot cope with the demands that we are placing on it. It is too small, it is too inflexible, and it is inefficient," Mr Rasmussen said at the inauguration ceremony in December.

Expected to last five years, the construction works will stretch over 250,000 square metres across the street from the current location on the highway between Brussels and the international airport in Zaventem and house some 4,000 people, as well as conference rooms, sport facilities and shops.

The construction was agreed upon in 2004, with progress moving slowly through project tenders, land appropriations and the demolition of a former Belgian military base.

"In terms of location, Nato is somewhat on the outskirts of Brussels, but I think we are very much at the heart of the European debate when it comes to dealing with the effects of the economic crisis on our security," Mr Rasmussen said in the press conference on Monday.

He again warned against "un-coordinated" budget cuts and urged the 26 members of the alliance to use the Nato forum when deciding which defence programmes to slash. "Over the past two years, European defence spending by Nato's European member nations has shrunk by some 45 billion dollars – that is the equivalent of Germany's entire annual defence budget," Mr Rasmussen noted.

Nato itself is due to decide in June which command bases and local headquarters scattered across Europe to cut in a bid to lower its overall costs.

Opinion

EU political pressure alone cannot save the rule of law

The situation in Poland shows that democracy, the rule of law and human rights do not speak for themselves. If the Union wants to safeguard its fundamental values, it must create support for them among Europeans.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue Platform
  2. GoogleHelping Emergency Services Find You When You Need It Most
  3. Counter BalanceWhat's New in the Investment Plan for Europe: Business as Usual or True Innovation ?
  4. Belgrade Security ForumMigration, Security and Solidarity within Global Disorder: Academic Event 2016
  5. GoogleHow Google Fights Piracy: Creating Value While Fighting Piracy
  6. EJC"My Visit to Israel" - Opinion by MEP Lopez Aguilar, Chair of the EP Working Group on Antisemitism
  7. World VisionChildren Migrating, Out of School and at Work as Hunger Deepens in Southern Africa
  8. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStand-Up (and Exercise) to Prevent Chronic Diseases
  9. Centre Maurits CoppietersLaunches a Real-time News Hub Specialised in EU Stakeholders
  10. GoogleEU-US Privacy Shield: Restoring Faith in Data Flows and Transatlantic Relations
  11. World VisionWorld Leaders & Youth Advocates Launch Partnership to End Violence Vs. Children
  12. Counter BalanceReport: Institutionalised Corruption in Romania's Third Largest Company