EU converts €470 million European parliament to accommodation for the homeless amid coronavirus crisis
London, April 11, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Officially, the European Parliament Building is the legislative home and the seat of the European Council and Council of the European Union, located on Wetstraat/Rue de la Loi in the European Quarter of Brussels, the capital city of Belgium
The enormous building housing about 250 offices is made up of 3750 restored window frames and contains a glass lantern that, at night, is beautifully lit up by 374 LED tubes. This ‘House of the European Member States’, with its multicoloured interior, is the main seat of the European Council and of the Council of the EU, and is where meetings between EU ministers and heads of government held.
But now that EU politics has largely gone online, leaving empty buildings in Brussels, the EU has decided to make good use of the magnificent building for the common good of its host, Brussels . It means European Parliament facilities can be used in the battle against coronavirus.
“We have decided to make one of our buildings available for homeless people and for the most vulnerable in society during this serious health emergency,” said European Parliament President David Sassoli in a video message.
In the case of Brussels, two spaces will be created inside one of its buildings. One for the homeless, and another for those who leave the hospital but still cannot return home.
The kitchens will also work at full capacity.
“Every day, our kitchens will make more than 1,000 meals to be distributed to those in need and also for health workers, to help them in their jobs. We are close to those who suffer, to those who work tirelessly in our hospitals,” Sassoli added.
In the French city of Strasbourg, another European Parliament building will accept patients, but thoughts are already turning to exit strategies.
“In the coming weeks, there will be a detection centre,” explains parliament’s spokesperson Jaume Duch, “because everybody has understood that the exit phase of this pandemic will mainly about the ability test to a lot of people and deciding to isolate those that have the illness even without any symptoms.”
Since mid-March, MEPs and European Parliament officials have been working from home – holding meetings and even votes on ways to deal with the crisis.