The European Parliament's parliamentary chamber will be out of action until at least April next year, according to Parliament officials, who have been negotiating with Belgian authorities about how to conduct repairs to the cracked ceiling.
A decision on how to proceed will be based on a report being drafted by engineering consultants, Belgium's federal public-buildings agency, and the Parliament's own building service. Completion of the report is expected within two to three weeks, according to officials.
The earliest date for the resumption of plenary business in the Brussels hemicyle is 27-28 March next year, but officials do not believe that this will be possible. The administration has already announced that the A section of the Paul-Henri Spaak building, which contains the plenary chamber and press rooms, will remain closed for at least six more months.
Next week's plenary session in Brussels (7-8 November) has already been cancelled. Officials said that the next mini-plenary, scheduled for the end of February, will not go ahead and that the earliest date for the resumption of plenary business – the end of March 2013 – is ambitious.
Until the repairs are completed, the Parliament's leadership is scheduling additional evening sessions during plenaries in Strasbourg.