The $487 million post-Brexit reconstruction of Brussel’s European parliament buildings may add up millions to the UK's multibillion divorce bill for leaving the European Union. According to the Times, the revamp of the EU building, finished only in 1993 at a total cost $1.2 million, is designed to separate the MEPs from visitors, press and other public they accidentally mix with due to the current structure. This is what is described as “far from ideal by the cited officials. Besides, the members can also count on a new more luxurious restaurant and kitchen, according to the cited internal documents."
There are security reasons for the upgrade, as the building was found unsafe after ceiling in the debating chamber collapsed; five years ago and structural problems were detected.
The preliminary plan suggests two options. According to the Times, which cited internal documents, the preferred one is demolishing the block and building it from the scratch, which will cost $46 million more than refurbishment. The confidential papers state that the final decision is to be taken in “the second semester of 2019,”after the European elections next May over fears of public criticism and being exploited by the euro-sceptics.
The burden the UK will have to cover will depend on the timing. If tenders are signed and published before the transition period expires at the end of 2020, London will have to send $63 million across the Channel to Brussels. According to the agreement, struck in December 2017 about Brexit's financial settlement, the country will likely end up paying between $46.5 billion and $52 billion to the EU.
The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a referendum in 2016, but the vote left the country divided almost equally into "Remainers" and "Brexiters." The UK-EU Brexit negotiations officially kicked off in June 2017 and are expected to be completed by the end of March 2019.