Letter: High cost of the EU's new white elephant

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The Independent Online
Sir: You report ('Euro-home', 1 April) that the President of the European Parliament, Egon Klepsch, has signed the contract for a new chamber in Strasbourg. This has been done without the approval of the Budgets Committee, the Buildings Working Group or the Financial Controller. It has been done under threat from the French government not to ratify the extra seats for the European Parliament, of which Germany will gain 18.

Some of us in the European Parliament have opposed this unnecessary building, none more so than my colleague John Tomlinson, who in his role on the Buildings Working Group left the President in no doubt as to what the implication of agreeing the contract would be.

To finance this new pounds 330m white elephant will need a 'revision of the Financial Perspective', which the member states have to agree to. The reason for the contract was that John Major's Edinburgh Summit agreed to the European Parliament continuing to meet in Strasbourg. Will he now agree to pay for the cost of that summit deal?

Yours faithfully,


MEP for Merseyside East (Lab)

St Helens, Merseyside

1 April

The writer is Budget Rapporteur of the European Parliament for 1994 and 1995.