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New ECB HQ - overbudget, undersize

Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013 - 02:09

Nov. 19 - The European Central bank is planning to move into a new landmark headquarters next year - but before it's even finished, the building is causing controversy. The cost has soared from the initial estimate, and its new home won't be big enough to house all the central bank's staff. Joanna Partridge reports

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A symbol recognised around the world - marking the home of the European Central Bank. But the ECB will move out of the Eurotower next year - into a new landmark headquarters. Before staff even begin to pack their boxes - the construction has caused controversy. Originally the building was expected to cost between 500 and 800 million euros. But last year that estimate increased to between €1.15 and €1.2 billion. That's annoyed some in Frankfurt. SOUNDBITE: Michael Menzel, Passer-by, saying (German): "We're paying for it, aren't we? We're paying for it, no one else is." SOUNDBITE: Johannes Fueller, Passer-by, saying (German): "When you plan something it has to be completeld. If I build anything at home, it ends up being twice as expensive." The costs will be shared around the euro zone. Raoul Ruparel, Head of Economic Research at Open Europe, believes they could go even higher SOUNDBITE: Raoul Ruparel, Head of Economic Research, Open Europe, saying (English): "It's hard to critique the numbers because they control the flow of information and they're the only ones who really know the true cost. But for the most part I think it will be in the ballpark of 1.2, 1.3 billion. But I think that is a huge increase on what was expected and at a time when there's a lot of austerity going on, does the ECB really need a new building?" The cost isn't the only problem. The ECB has already outgrown the new building. Since construction began, it's been given a new role - supervising euro zone banks. As a result - it's recruiting around 1000 staff. With extra employees - the ECB is renting office space just down the road from the Eurotower. And the banking supervision workers will have to remain in the current building when the rest of the staff move. SOUNDBITE: Raoul Ruparel, Head of Economic Research, Open Europe, saying (English): "I do have some sympathy for the ECB. However the rising cost isn't really related to that, it's more related just to simple construction costs and unforeseen circumstances as they say, so I think they do have to take some criticism for that." The European Union has a history of grand projects - a new Council building is also opening next year. The ECB won't be the first to be over budget but coming in undersize as well has raised a few eyebrows

New ECB HQ - overbudget, undersize

Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013 - 02:09

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