Berlaymont to miss build deadline

10th December 2003, Comments 0 comments

10 December 2003, BRUSSELS – Renovation of the European Commission Berlaymont building will not meet its 1 January deadline, it was announced Wednesday.

10 December 2003

BRUSSELS – Renovation of the European Commission Berlaymont building will not meet its 1 January deadline, it was announced Wednesday.

For each month of delay, the Belgian state will be asking the EU to pay a fine of EUR 220,000. In return however, the Belgian state will have to pay for alternative office accommodation for Commission employees, a figure which could reach EUR 1 million per month.

The star-shaped former home of the European Commission is a EU landmark, forced to close due to asbestos concerns in 1991. Belgian authorities sold the building to the EU last year for over half a billion euros.

A number of conditions were linked to the sale however, such as the state taking responsibility for EU office accommodation while the Berlaymont was under renovation, and that all renovation would have to be completed by June 2004, some of it by January 2004.

Experts are examining who is responsible for the delays in an effort to allow the Belgian state to recuperate the extra costs.

Flemish MEP Bart Staes said the Belgian government signed a bad contract with the EU, and accused former minister Rik Daems of failing to listen to experts and contractors. 

Daems has denied he is responsible for the delays despite the fact that experts suggested at the time of the deal that deadlines would not be reached.

Subject: Belgian news

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