The EU is planning on spending nearly €3 million to transform its office in Estonia into a high-tech visitors center to showcase the importance and relevance of the European Parliament and the EU, international political magazine Politico said on Friday.
According to an internal document issued by the European Parliament's communications department, the EU plans to rent extra space at its building located at 2 Rävala Street, which would become a "Europa Experience" information center similar to the ones the union has in Berlin and Strasbourg.
The base investment is estimated at €2.8 million euros, the document said, while annual operation costs — 60 percent of which would come from the European Commission and 40 percent from the European Parliament — are estimated to total €580,000 euros per year.
According to the document, the new space would include a role-playing game to let schoolchildren become MEPs for a day, an upgraded multifunctional conference space, interactive MEP profiles and a 360-degree cinema "with an immersive and emotional film presenting the European Parliament as a powerful, young, and transparent institution that responds to the needs and questions of its citizens."
The lavish visitors center is planned to able to accommodate 28,000 visitors a year.
The establishment of similar centers — especially the one planned in Paris' city center — have received a lot of criticism from Euroskeptics, who find that these kinds of expenses are not sensible. For example, the House of European History, which cost €56 million and was the subject of much criticism, was opened in Brussels recently.
Nonetheless, the European Parliament and European Commission have also agreed to rent a space in Central Helsinki at an estimated cost of almost €600,000 euros per year.
Editor: Aili Vahtla