Shares

The EU tax money tap is once again wide open. Last year they finished their €300 million European Council HQ, plans are in the works for building a new  European Parliament HQ at the cost of €500 million, they opened a €56 million EU museum in Brussels this year, and now their new project came to light. The EU plans to pay €6 million a year in rent on their new “House of Europe” building in central Paris and spend almost €12 million doing the place up. According to French MEP Elisabeth Morin-Chartier “It will be a communication space for all citizens because [Parliament President Antonio] Tajani’s goal is to bring Europeans closer to the EU”, which is planned to open in 2020.

All paid for by taxpayer money, of course.

According to a note sent on June 26 by Klaus Welle, the secretary-general of the Parliament (the same Klaus who is behind the half a billion EP HQ), to the assembly’s Bureau, several locations were scouted as potential venues for a building that would be shared with the European Commission. Their preferred choice is 51 Boulevard Haussmann which is “an exceptional location with 18,000 passers-by per hour.” Which, by the way, also happened to be the HQ of the James Bond antagonist organisations SPECTRE.

The deal hasn’t closed yet, but “technical, legal and economic negotiations” are to take place with the owner, “with the aim of preparing all the preliminary steps necessary for the signature of a lease contract”. Welle continued that the project would include an “Experience Europe” information centre “comparable” to the one it already has in Berlin. The Boulevard Haussmann site, he added, “has very heavy pedestrian traffic and makes it very attractive for information purposes (…) it will be a communication space for all citizens because [Parliament President Antonio] Tajani’s goal is to bring Europeans closer to the EU.”

Due to this spending spree, EU officials are receiving stirring criticisms in the European Parliament. “Building a Parlamentarium in Paris won’t solve the issue of how we get citizens closer to the EU,” said Jean Arthuis for instance, a French liberal MEP and chair of the parliament’s powerful Budget Committee, referring to the assembly’s visitor centre in Brussels. “To get citizens closer to Europe, Europe must relate to citizens and deal with their needs,” Arthuis said, adding that people who walk by 51 Boulevard Haussmann are mainly tourists “who don’t give a damn about Europe.”

Yeah, he might be on to something there.