No session in Brussels in 2013, uncertainty about 2014
By Ophélie Spanneut | Monday 03 December 2012
After cancelling the mini plenary session in Brussels in November 2012, the European Parliament has been forced to cancel the February, March and May 2013 sessions. MEPs cannot meet in the Brussels HQ as cracks have been discovered in the beams supporting the ceiling. Part of the Paul Henri Spaak building had to be closed to the public. According to an EP source, chances are slim that the 6-7 November 2013 session will go ahead. On 19 November, members of the EP’s Bureau were given potential solutions to fix the roof: completely redoing the roof, changing the cracked beams or consolidating the structure with metal parts.
The last option was selected and it will involve work being carried out until November 2013 at the very least. The duration of the work could in fact be even longer. According to an EP source, Parliament is having trouble finding a company to carry out the work. It seems companies are concerned about the ten-year guarantee on the building. The dossiers that were to be addressed in mini sessions will have to be voted in plenary sessions. They will have to be reworked to absorb the extra workload.
“If need be, sessions will be extended into the night,” an EP source said. The cancelled mini sessions will be replaced by open meetings between parliamentary committees and EP political group leaders. Indeed, such a format allows for debates with heads of state or institution presidents, as was recenetly the case with Angela Merkel and Herman Van Rompuy.