European Parliament approves controversial lease of new building in Strasbourg

After a vote by the Budget Committee, the European Parliament gave the green light in favour of renting the Osmose building in Strasbourg from the French government on Wednesday. It will be leased to Parliament for 700,000 euros annually on a 99-year contract. France will pay 53.5 million euros to buy the Osmose building.

The proposal was passed by 26 to 11 with three abstentions. The decision no longer requires a vote in a plenary session and is, therefore, final. The annual cost of the transaction, which should anchor the institution even more firmly in France, is estimated at 2 million euros.

The 15,000 sqm building has been empty since its completion in 2021. It was originally agreed that Parliament would buy the building, but the deal fell through. The acquisition will create additional office space for the parliament's administration and services of the permanent representations and the Commission.

Opposition to deal

The deal has met with opposition from the Social Democratic group S&D, which disputes the need for the building and denounces the costs in times of budgetary tightness. "Before the parliament moves into the building, the EU must already spend an additional 10.3 million euros minimum on furniture, security and IT equipment," Latvian Nils Usakovs said.

Belgian liberal Olivier Chastel (MR, Renew), who made the report on the file in the committee, confirms a "global cost" of 1.9 million euros per year. He also warns of a rent explosion if parliament continues to solely lease the building and advocates for quick actions towards its purchase.

While the EU treatise denotes Strasbourg as the Parliament's official seat, most EU officials, MEPs and parliamentary assistants spend the majority of their time in Brussels.



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