Like the EU itself the plenary chamber in Brussels is built on a bad foundation
MEPs have reacted with fury to news that parliament will be forced to scrap all mini plenary meetings in Brussels for almost all of next year because of repairs.
The institution has been forced to cancel all plenary meetings in Brussels until next November because repair works on the ceiling of the main meeting chamber will take longer than originally thought.
A section of the Paul-Henri Spaak building, which houses the plenary chamber and press room as well as committee rooms and staff offices, has been shut since the cracks were discovered earlier this year.
It is also believed the cost of repairing the plenary could rise to as much as €5m.
On Thursday, a well-placed parliament source told this website, "The three cracked beams holding up the ceiling of the plenary chamber will have to be reinforced with big metal works to reinforce the beams."
He added, "The news that parliament's chamber is set to be out of action probably for all of next year has been met with dismay by many people working in the assembly.
"The €3.5m is what they have said it will cost to repair but this is Europe so there is probably no chance that it will come in on budget."
Reaction from MEPs was swift, with UK ECR member Vicky Ford saying, "We must not let the temporary situation of the damage to the roof of the chamber derail the move towards having a single seat for the parliament.
"At this difficult time the European people will not forgive us if we continue to pour money into the wasteful two-seat system."
Elsewhere, UKIP's Marta Andreasen said, "There are countless jokes to be made about the roof caving in or other similar metaphors for the current state of the eurozone and EU institutions. But all jokes aside this is a serious matter.
"A better metaphor is one of waste: The €4m of taxpayer's money that it will cost to fix this problem is a perfect mirror of the waste that typifies the EU, on projects, on mismanaged funds and on having two seats."
Her party colleague William Dartmouth said, "Like the EU itself the plenary chamber in Brussels is built on a bad foundation and is poorly constructed.
"The taxpayers of European countries have already paid for its building and now must fork out another €4m for its repair.
"It would be better for national democracy and peoples' pockets if the chamber, like the EU, was closed permanently."
He added, "The European parliament is just a facade hiding commission control."
No-one from parliament's press service was immediately available for comment.