Belgium ‘paying dearly’ for Berlaymont fiasco
20 October 2004
BRUSSELS – The Belgian state must shoulder the bulk of the financial burden for delays in the renovation of the European Commission’s Berlaymont building, according to an independent report.
The findings, published Wednesday by Belgian press agency Belga, come from a report this past July by three independent experts.
In light of the situation, the Belgian government plans to order an inquiry by the court of auditors, the country’s national audit office, into the reasons behind the delays and why costs exceeded original estimates, a spokesman for Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders said.
According to Belga’s own calculations, the total cost for the project – notoriously dubbed Berlyamonster –amount to EUR 1.282 billion.
Meanwhile, a number of legal challenges concerning the project remain pending.
The news comes a day before the new and improved 13-storey Berlaymont is due to be inaugurated by European Commission President Romano Prodi and Vice-President Neil Kinnock.
The 13-storey building in the heart of the EU district was shut down in 1991 for asbestos removal and then for a renovation that has been plagued with delay after delay.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject : Belgian news