There is something vicariously thrilling about finding out how much your neighbour’s house cost or how high the rent is. So imagine the thrill of an (admittedly long) report from the European Union’s financial watchdog on how the 27-member club could spend its annual €345m on offices in Euroland for its 36,000 staff.
The EU, which includes the Commission, the Parliament, the Council, representing member state governments, as well as the Court of Justice and various committees, occupied 2m sq metres of offices in Brussels, Luxembourg City and Strasbourg in 2005. Other agencies and offices elsewhere were outside the remit of the Court of Auditors’ June 26 survey.
It found that the EU had similar problems to the rest of us with Belgian landlords, often being overcharged, saddled with maintenance costs and locked into long leases. However, it also said a lot of the tens of millions of euros of losses could be avoided.