Not only Olaf Scholz is building a home for hundreds of millions

Olaf Scholz’s “Protz-Bau” has been criticized. But the expansion of the Chancellery is just one of many major federal projects. It’s going to be really expensive for taxpayers.

These were clear words from the Minister of Finance, addressed to his boss: “The expensive extension to the Chancellery is “dispensable”, said Christian Lindner in mid-March, in times of more home office and “flexible work”. The chancellor will be “displeased” that he says that. “But that’s my job!”

Since then, the Chancellery and the Ministry of Finance have been fighting each other. And some people ask themselves: Do government office buildings really have to be that big and expensive?

Because the expansion of the Chancellery is just one of many construction projects that the federal government is currently planning in Berlin and the second seat of government in Bonn. Others are already under construction. Sometimes to replace old buildings, but often simply to accommodate the additional staff the federal government is hiring in its ministries and offices.

imago images 0238834645
Christian Lindner and Olaf Scholz: Both have major construction projects in the pipeline. (Source: IMAGO/Chris Emil Janssen)

Because there are more and more: In the last term of office of Angela Merkel alone, 2,500 positions were added in the Chancellery and the federal ministries, so that more than 25,000 employees worked directly for the government. And as if that wasn’t long enough, the traffic light coalition is continuing right there: in its first year in government, it approved more than 700 additional civil service positions.

For the authorities in Berlin and Bonn, more people still means more offices. Even if space is tight. Even after the corona pandemic has drastically changed work. And even if it is always said that savings have to be made.

The list of construction projects is therefore long – and expensive: According to research by t-online, at least 2.1 billion euros are currently planned. In addition, there are other planned large-scale buildings, the costs of which have not yet been openly communicated.

Nevertheless, all houses that want to build new ones are sticking to their projects, as t-online has learned. Although in many cases it is not even entirely clear who is supposed to work in the offices. In any case, the heated discussions about the expansion of the Chancellery have not changed anything in the plans.

Scholz wants to build, Lindner doubts

The already spacious official residence of Chancellor Olaf Scholz is to be expanded further. A semicircular, six-storey office building and other buildings are planned on the opposite side of the Spree, as Angela Merkel had already decided.

Among other things, 400 offices, a canteen, a day care center, nine conservatories, a 250 square meter new apartment for the chancellor and a helipad at a height of 23 meters are to be built here. An additional pedestrian bridge is to connect the extension with the actual office. And all this for around 800 million euros.

Extension of the Chancellery: A new pedestrian bridge leads over the Spree.Extension of the Chancellery: A new pedestrian bridge leads over the Spree.
Extension of the Chancellery: A new pedestrian bridge leads over the Spree. (Source: Axel Schultes Charlotte Frank/BBR)

“Bild” recently called the project a “swank building,” and even the finance minister doubted the sense and purpose. Not Scholz, he wants the expansion. The new buildings are expected to be completed by 2028.

But an extension is also planned for Christian Lindner’s Federal Ministry of Finance. He would also devour enormous sums: For 600 to 800 million euros, he is to bring together employees from six different buildings at the ministry’s headquarters on Wilhelmstrasse. Is the expansion really coming? Lindner at least questioned that.

But are the plans really off the table? We shall see, according to the Ministry of Finance. “In the course of the current budget negotiations, all of the federal government’s projects are being checked for their ability to be presented in the federal budget,” said a spokesman for t-online. “This also includes examining the plans of the Federal Ministry of Finance.”

However, the exams are still ongoing. At the same time, the Ministry of Finance is appealing to the other departments of the Federal Government: All plans “from the time before the pandemic” should be “sensibly checked”.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.