A little ‘constructive’ criticism for NATO

The price tag for NATO’s new building climbed $371 million, and taxpayers may have to foot the bill

Sankei/Getty Images

Sankei/Getty Images

At a time when Canada is backing out of key NATO surveillance programs to focus on internal defence spending, it seems taxpayers may have to pony up much more than expected toward the construction of a new home for the alliance. Much to the chagrin of NATO’s 28 member countries, the construction consortium responsible for the new $1.6-billion headquarters in Brussels has requested an additional $371 million, and 10 more months, to complete the project.

Oana Lungescu, a spokesperson for NATO, calls the consortium’s request for additional funds part of “a hard commercial negotiation” that is currently under review. But it’s already proven to be an embarrassment for the alliance and, especially, for NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who championed the steel and glass structure as a symbol of a new, modern NATO. According to Der Spiegel magazine, Germany’s ambassador to NATO, Martin Erdmann, said in a con?dential cable that the effect on NATO’s image would be disastrous if “NATO appeared to be incapable of punctually completing a construction project.”

NATO members already had doubts about the project when the Royal BAM Group, based in the Netherlands, successfully bid $300 million less than what NATO had estimated for the project. The request for more money comes from “unforeseen circumstances (including significantly higher security requirements),” says Arno Pronk, a BAM spokesperson, adding there is no backup plan for the project if the funds don’t come through. With the building 80 per cent finished, member states, including Canada, may have no choice but to pay up.

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A little ‘constructive’ criticism for NATO

  1. Who could have foreseen the building would also need doors and windows? Sounds like a standard ploy, bid low and make up the difference in “cost-overruns”. Although if NATO were truly embarrassed by these overruns, they wouldn’t have equipment for their forces without a red face.

  2. somehow, i don’t know how, this is harper’s fault….some will argue

    • And some will adopt his persecution complex and litter the Internet with whining and excuses whenever he fails to perform, not understanding that our system of responsible government requires vigorous debate and open criticism as the principal means for accountability.

      • So, you do think it’s Harper’s fault, in other words?

        • No I think that the Conservatives should act like a government instead of winding up their supporters to constantly complain they are being persecuted by the media, judges, Elections Canada, the PBO, the Auditor General, unions, the Council of Canadians, environmental groups, veterans …

          • They are. The left wing biased media is too busy looking for any sort of fault to jump on, though, and ignoring any flaws of the left wing parties.

            Mac Harb, et al, no relevant and meaningful platform or idea, pandering to terrorist groups, election fraud convictions, etc…

          • Ridiculous. Thanks for making my point.

          • Pointless post.

            Typical leftist example of vacuousness.