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Deal sealed for new NATO headquarters

Published on 09/12/2004

9 December 2004

BRUSSELS – Belgium is to manage the building of a new EUR 400 million-plus NATO headquarters, it emerged on Thursday.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s current base at Boulevard Leopold III was supposed to be temporary, but it has been there since 1967.

NATO moved to Brussels from France after Charles de Gaulle withdrew his country from NATO’s military section.

On Wednesday, NATO’s 26 members agreed Belgium’s defence ministry should supervise the building of a new site across the road from the current base in Haren.

NATO’s secretary general, Dutchman Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Belgium’s Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht and Defence Minister Andre Flahaut had signed a protocol for the work, which was backed by NATO members.

Under the plans, building work will start next year, but probably won’t be finished before 2012. Members had hoped the building would be finished by 2009, but American delayed the plans last year over irritation at Belgium’s anti-war stance and the ‘Universal Competence Law’ which saw George Bush charged with war crimes.

The new headquarters will be built on the site of the Roi Albert 1er Belgian army barracks.

The land has already been signed over to NATO for the project.

Architects firm Skidmore, Owings and Merill and the Belgian architect Assar won an international competition to design the building which must house 3,150 full-time workers, including 1,000 from the delegations and military organisations of the 26 member countries. 
[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news