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European Parliament goes on a buildings spending spree

Wednesday, 14th December 2011

Despite the eurozone crisis and austerity budgets in countries across the continent, a European Parliament committee has approved a massive spending spree on property - to create more office space for MEPs and staff.

The parliament's Budget Committee voted through a spending package of more than 140 million, to cover the building of one brand new office block close to the Parliament chamber in Brussels and the purchase of another.

A further 16 million will be spent to buy and renovate a building near the Strasbourg Parliament which currently belongs to the Council of Europe.

Conservative MEPs, such as East Midlands representatives Emma McClarkin and Roger Helmer, who voted against the plans, condemned them as wasteful and inappropriate.

Mr Helmer said:

"I am continually amazed the extent to which MEPs from some parties will think of themselves ahead of the people they should be serving.

"The euro is on a life support machine, the whole of the continent is in crisis, and some MEPs are getting on with what they do best - making their own lives more comfortable."

The biggest project approved by the Budget Committee involves the so called Trebel building, close to the existing Parliament buildings in the European Quarter of Brussels. An existing office block would be bought and then demolished to make way for a purpose-built complex with 30,000 square metres of office space at a total cost of 125 million.

The Trebel project would involve an initial outlay of 15 million, but other payments would be staggered and the parliament will not finish paying until 2027.

Miss McClarkin added:

"In times like these, this is the last thing we should be doing. Only in Brussels would you find such a wasteful and inappropriate farce."