Move mooted for French Foreign Affairs Ministry

5th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 5 (AFP) - The Quai d'Orsay in central Paris, the building that has become synonymous with French foreign policy over 150 years, may close its doors if plans go ahead for a new purpose-built ministry elsewhere in the capital, diplomats said Thursday.

PARIS, Aug 5 (AFP) - The Quai d'Orsay in central Paris, the building that has become synonymous with French foreign policy over 150 years, may close its doors if plans go ahead for a new purpose-built ministry elsewhere in the capital, diplomats said Thursday.

A report has been ordered by Foreign Minister Michel Barnier into possible sites for the new ministry, which would house more than 3,500 staff-members currently spread round 10 separate buildings in addition to the prestigious headquarters on the river Seine.

According to insiders, the front-runners are an area of the 13th arrondissement, or district, behind the eight-year-old National Library building, and the Ile de Seguin to the west of the city - the site of a former Renault car factory currently undergoing redevelopment.

The move, which Barnier has insisted must be self-financing, would mean the sell-off of the extensive office complex behind the river-front "hotel", though the main building would be retained for ceremonial purposes.

The other buildings in the capital would also be disposed of.

The Quai D'Orsay - more properly number 37, Quai d'Orsay - was completed in 1853 next to the National Assembly, and has witnessed many historic events such as the negotiations for the Treaty of Versailles after World War I.

However, it has been unable to contain the burgeoning workforce, and the dispersal of ministry tasks across the capital causes growing administrative difficulties. Last November diplomats staged their first-ever strike to draw attention to their lack of proper resources.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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