Cost of NATO's New Brussels HQ – A Paltry $1.4 Bn
That's three times the budget originally approved for the project
NATO's new-found solution: keep cost overruns from now on secret
This is an excerpt from an article that originally appeared at CounterPunch
In October 2005 I wrote that “NATO is to increase its troop numbers in Afghanistan to 15,000 and its secretary-general states that instead of acting as a peacekeeping force it will assume the combat role of U.S. troops, which is insane . . . The insurgency in Afghanistan will continue until foreign troops leave, whenever that might be. After a while, the government in Kabul will collapse and there will be anarchy until a brutal, ruthless, drug-rich warlord achieves power. He will rule the country as it has always been ruled by Afghans: by threats, religious ferocity, deceit, bribery, and outright savagery when the latter can be practiced without retribution. And the latest foreign occupation will become just another memory.”
The number of US-NATO troops in Afghanistan has been reduced from a high of 130,000 to 13,000, of which some 10,000 are U.S., but NATO’s new headquarters building in Brussels is expanding in both size and cost. The budget for the immense complex was approved at 460 million Euros (500 million US dollars) in 2010 but has now surged to over 1.25 billion Euros, about 1.4 billion dollars.
Germany’s Der Spiegel reported in January that the scandal of the cost overrun was being kept secret by all governments contributing to this redundant organization. A leaked cable from Germany’s ambassador explained that at a meeting of NATO representatives last December they “pointed to the disastrous effect on the image of the alliance if construction were to stop and if NATO appeared to be incapable of punctually completing a construction project that was decided at the NATO summit of government leaders in April 1999 in Washington. The risk of a further cost increase is already palpable.”
The solution to NATO’s self-imposed image problem was simple: the people responsible for managing the affairs of a military alliance involving 28 countries, 3.5 million combatants and 5,000 nuclear weapons decided, as asked by the staff of its Secretary General, to deal with the matter “confidentially.” In other words, the cost overruns and delays in construction are being deliberately concealed from the public in the hope that NATO’s executives will not appear incompetent.