NewsRoberta Metsola wants to turn a building of the...

Roberta Metsola wants to turn a building of the European Parliament in Strasbourg into a hotel

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Roberta Metsola, the president of the European Parliament, is considering turning an institution-owned building in Strasbourg into a hotel, in a move that is seen as an endorsement of its status as an EU capital, according to Politico.

In a letter seen by Politico, dated Feb. 8 and sent to then-French Prime Minister Jean Castex, Metsola welcomed the idea of ​​”establishing a hotel in the Salvador de Madariaga building” that is part of the real estate portfolio. The move “could help ease the burden on the hotel sector,” Metsola wrote.

MEPs, their staff, lobbyists and others travel to Strasbourg, where the legal seat of the European Parliament is as set out in the EU treaties, for several days a month for plenary sessions, thus almost entirely occupying the city’s hotels. Critics of the expensive monthly commute say it is unnecessarily expensive, stretches the capacity of parliamentary infrastructure and harms the environment, given the emissions involved.

The French government, however, is firmly opposed to any move to abandon the headquarters in Strasbourg.

France pressured Metsola to buy another real estate property in Strasbourg to strengthen the city’s position as an EU capital: the recently built Osmose building, which was contracted by France’s Banque des Territoires in cooperation with local and regional authorities.

The plan to turn the Salvador de Madariaga building into a hotel would strengthen support for Parliament to buy Osmose, thus reducing the office space available in Strasbourg for MEPs.

The Osmose acquisition, Castex wrote in a January 27 letter to Metsola, would “strengthen Parliament’s presence and, in general, enhance the role of the city of Strasbourg.”

This is precisely what critics of the travel boom fear.

“The European Parliament should save money/energy,” tweeted Daniel Freund, German MEP from the Greens, who are part of a cross-party initiative to suspend Strasbourg sessions due to the current energy crisis. “Not spending more money on more buildings.”

Correspondence seen by Politico Playbook and talks with several officials suggest that Metsola is willing to allow the French’s request to buy Osmose.

“As far as I know,” a spokesperson for Roberta Metsola told Politico, the hotel plan was an option that “has not gone forward” and would in any case be decided “based on the needs of the institution” and on “a process fair”.

Parliament’s budget committee was due to discuss the potential deal to buy the Osmose building during a meeting on Wednesday morning. MEPs already had the chance to block the purchase last week. In a vote on Parliament’s 2023 budget, 274 MEPs voted in favor of an amendment to “oppose the acquisition of the Osmose building in Strasbourg”, while 275 voted against.

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