'Useless EU propaganda display!' Fury as taxpayer money wasted on centre celebrating bloc

The so-called Experience Europe centre opened its doors this month in Brussels, but the new “info point” sparked outrage and was branded “EU propaganda” by critics. Bragging about the new building, Pia Ahrenkilde, Director-General of the EU Commission’s DG Communication under President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted: “Great to visit the Commission’s new info point on the Schuman roundabout in Brussels opening today with our team that worked on the project.

“The Experience Europe centre will serve a unique audience in a unique way.

“The Commission already has lots of visitors Monday through Friday through our Visitors Centre, giving tailored sessions and presentations in all EU languages for groups from all over Europe!

“Our new centre is for a different purpose:

“From a unique view point, it gives people a first taste of the Commission’s work, its political priorities and the people who work here!

“Soon, in cooperation with our Representations and European Parliament colleagues, some of this same content will also be used in visitors’ facilities in EU capitals!

“We want to make this a memorable stop for any visitor coming to experience first hand the European quarter in Brussels.”

But the news sparked fury in France where Generation Frexit leader Charles-Henry Gallois blasted the new project over the costs incurred by French and EU taxpayers.

He said: “A completely useless EU propaganda display!

“The EU doesn’t care at all because we are the ones paying!

“France will pay 17.4 percent of this permanent exhibition!”

Others in the EU voiced their criticism on Twitter.

Tiago Cunha Martins wrote: “I guess Brussels is already packed with ‘EU experiences centres’ in any of its form.

“Many other cities around Europe are not and would benefit the EU way more that in places already packed with europhiles or with mant other EU-related things.”

Someone else said: “Translation: ‘We spend millions of your money for nothing else than our propaganda’.”

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Brussels had already come under fire this year after it was revealed the European Parliament could have paid close to double its market price for a new building, wasting at least €10million (£8million) of EU taxpayers money.

The Strasbourg team bought the so-called Sholl building for €74.9million (£61million).

But the building was estimated at a market value between €42million (£35million) and €65million (£54millon), resulting in a loss of taxpayers money between €10million (£8million) and €33million (£27million).

The shocking move infuriated some MEPs who claim to have warned European Parliament chiefs prior to the acquisition that they were signing a bad deal.

Speaking on behalf of the ID group, Italian MEP Marco Zanni and his colleagues, Anna Cinzia Bonfrisco, Paolo Borchia and Valentino Grant, told Express.co.uk: “This is the umpteenth euro waste.

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“While businesses, workers, families are forced to deal with the effects of the crisis and high bills, the institutions, instead of setting a good example in terms of savings and cost containment, are doing the exact opposite.

“Unfortunately, this is the case of the European Parliament, which would have paid almost double the market price for one of its buildings: an expense of 74.9 million euros for the ‘Wiertz’ building – later renamed ‘Scholl’ – in spite of an estimate that realistically evaluates the value of the property between 42 and 65 million euros.

“Unacceptable, a waste of at least 10 million euros which, in the budget committee, only the Lega / Id MEPs opposed.

“This is the money of European citizens, we cannot afford useless waste: we need the utmost clarity on the issue.”

Express.co.uk has contacted the EU Commission for a breakdown of the full costs incurred by the EU for the Experience Europe centre in Brussels.

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