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Sarah speaking about the European Parliament building in Strasbourg

September 25, 2008 12:30 PM
By Sarah Ludford in European Parliament

Mr President, this is about the building in Strasbourg and the decision to go back.

The Secretary-General sent an e-mail on Tuesday morning saying we would go back in October. I understand there was no vote or decision by the Bureau, which is strange.

Mr Rømer made no mention of the availability of the expert report. I had to rely on information from the Vice-President for Transparency to know that the Secretary-General had told the Bureau he would make it available to Members on request in the French and German versions in which it exists, although he would not translate it.

I have now sent a total of three e-mails over the last two days asking for the report in French, with no response. I find this unacceptable and I am now raising the matter under Rule 28 of the Rules of Procedure on accountability and Rule 96 on transparency.

I want to know the basis on which we are going back to Strasbourg. I have read the note which went to the Bureau on Monday, but it seems to me that the works only relate to the false ceilings. So, firstly, what do we know about the reasons for the collapse? Is it the design, the materials, the quality of construction or the building inspection? It has got to be one of those four.

Secondly, what does it tell us about the rest of the building? We do not know whether the whole building has been checked. Are there faulty materials? One rumor is that the steel used in the building is the same as in the Charles de Gaulle airport roof which collapsed. Is that true or not?

(Protests)

Well, if you do not give us the truth, rumors will proliferate.

This is all without prejudice to Mr Matsakis' concerns about asbestos in the building which he is pursuing with vigor, also with no response I think.

I want to know, first of all, why I have not been given the report, what is the basis for the decision to go back to Strasbourg, is the building truly safe, and who has decided it is?

(Applause)

For my part, this is not, and should not be - and I hope it is not being - dealt with as a political issue. People could have died if they had been there in August, and they could die if anything goes wrong. Please could I have some answers?

(The President cut off the speaker.)