PositionBrief Article

The dossier has been blocked since March (see European Report 2665 for further details), a situation that has finally led the Commission to act. The executive is not prepared to pay above the odds for the renovation of the Berlaymont building, and notably to cover management errors by the contractor Berlaymont 2000. The principle of the unacceptability of costs stemming from management errors was accepted unreservedly by Rick Daems and Finance Minister Didier Reynders in the context of previous discussions with Neil Kinnock. Two working parties were established, one comparing the approaches of experts in assessing the value of the building, the other analysing renovation surcharges. The Commission argues that contrary to the evaluation by experts selected by the College, the estimate of the value of the building by Belgian Government experts is wholly unfounded on the basis either of internationally recognised standards or apparently, on the basis of conventional Belgian standards. The parties failed to conclude an agreement on the existence of management errors by Berlaymont 2000, and therefore the financial implications of these alleged errors. There is however clear proof that Berlaymont 2000 did indeed commit management errors, highlighted notably in the conclusions of a Belgian Senate Committee enquiry.Taking these elements into account, the Commission is of the opinion that the final justifiable price for the...

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