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Row flares over planned new EU building

, The Socialists and Democrats say they “regret” the decision taken by the European Parliament’s committee on budgets allowing the acquisition of a new building in Strasbourg. 

According to them, the newly built Osmose building is “not fit for purpose.”

The Socialists and Democrats are “convinced the Osmose building undoubtedly has hidden costs, which were not properly presented by the French authorities.”The group, in a statement, said, “These costs were not seriously taken into consideration by the other political groups who lobbied in favor of the project and voted today in its favor. The EP rules of procedure stipulate the acquisition of the new building in Strasbourg does not have to go through a vote in plenary, and so the adoption in the committee on budgets today is the definitive one.

Nils Ušakovs, the S&D negotiator on the building policy in the EP committee on budgets, added, “The Osmose project has too many hidden costs and the European Parliament will acquire the building on leasing for a period of 99 years. For example, leasing, cleaning, and security would cost the EU 1, 919, 000 euros per year, according to our estimations. The sum for the period of 99 years amounts to 189, 981, 000 euros.

“Before the European Parliament occupies the Osmose building, the EU will have to spend at least an additional 10.3 million euros for furnishing, security, and IT equipment. This sum does not include the cost of construction to connect the Osmose building to the already existing EP premises. It is obvious this is not the dream deal the European People’s Party, Renew Europe, and the ECR groups are promising us.

“We are also worried from a legal point of view – the French authorities have proposed us to take on leasing from them on a building they don’t own. This is outrageous! Our group asked for the vote today to be withdrawn from the agenda until we get an official opinion from the EP Legal Service confirming if this leasing is legally possible. Unfortunately, the other groups denied this request by the S&D Group, and the project was put to vote and adopted. Now we have to wait for a legal opinion. If this opinion says there is something wrong with the leasing contract for the Osmose building, then the contract with the French authorities cannot be signed.

“In times when European citizens are struggling to pay their bills and one year before the European elections, the committee on budgets made a bad decision on this extremely controversial issue.”

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