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How not to construct a story

EP buildings and how much they cost

For you it may be the long, warm evenings but for us a clear sign of summer coming is the papers’ interest in EU infrastructure. Summer must be here if articles popping up are as full of inaccuracies as you might want your pitcher to be with Pimm’s.

A number of papers today report that a “confidential document” recommending a demolition of one of the European Parliament buildings was presented last night to the President Tajani. The building which, according to the papers going to be demolished, is reported to have cost “just over 1bn EUR”

First, no decision has been taken on the renovation, demolition or construction of any buildings. The MEPs, sitting in the so called Bureau, have only requested that the Parliament’s administration looks into the situation and presents various proposals on the future of the building in question.

And as we’re at it - the building in question - the Paul-Henri Spaak building (or PHS to friends and colleagues) cost 300m EUR – less than a third of the reported figure.

You would expect an experienced, diligent correspondent not to take what they read on the internet on face-value, so you might be interested to know that all the articles today are a rehashing of a story from a Brussels-based news website. Not a single one of the authors bothered to give us a call to run through the numbers.

In the future we recommend that the reporters give us a call to find out the facts before believing everything they read online.


Further information:

Five ways to spot fake news
European Parliament budget
European Parliament press room