EU presidency does not come cheap

Organizing the EU presidency in the old Tallinn power station called Kultuurikatel has required the investment of much effort and a lot of money. Numerous enterprises are cooperating in order to make everything run smoothly and pleasantly for the European political elite and spend the months of presidency without troubles. The Estonian state expends nearly four million euros on holding the EU presidency in the former boiler house.

Spending the four million allows one feel comfortable in the old power house, admire LED screens, organize efficient conferences in numerous rooms, enjoy modern design and refreshments by Estonia's best cooks – all for 3,299.525 euros and 20 cents.

The figure is likely to increase and the total cost can be summed up only once the presidency is over. “Precise cost of several services will depend on the volume of using them. For example, the tender for additional cleaning services besides the main one is still being prepared and we cannot announce its cost as yet”, said Greete Kempel, media adviser of the Government Office.

Attracted by the amount of space

The four most expensive services during the presidency are the creative solution of interior design of Kultuurikatel, which cost 905,772 euros and is carried out by Vaikla Stuudio OÜ; the rent of the facility, initially 810,000 euros, but the need for extra space called for leasing the D-block for further 63,500 euros – altogether 873,500 euros.

Catering provided by Carmen Caterings, a part of Argmar Grupp OÜ, which has previously organized catering for the presidential reception, costs 700,000 euros. The rent and technical support of conference equipment is provided by Eventech OÜ for 639,374 euros. The price includes the interpreters' booths, video equipment and lighting.

Other services are less costly: security provided by Meeskond Security OÜ costs 39,999 euros, emergency power supply or reserve generators by Baltic Marine Group AS cost 79,982 euros, the rent of digital screens from OÜ Digiekraanid is 35,000 euros. The tents set up by the building by AS Telinekataja cost 34,898 euros. All these figures do not include VAT.

Kultuurikatel was chosen to host the presidency primarily thanks to the amount of rooms. Toomas Tirs, logistics manager of the presidency, says that the tender receives five bids. Two of them included the buildings, which did not exist at that moment and are yet to materialize. These were the Ülemiste City factory building and the Porto Franco shopping center.

The other two candidates were the Song Festival Ground building and the National Library. Tirs explains that the ministers' meetings require more than 40 rooms, a main hall and a number of various spaces for smaller units like cloakrooms, media booths, buffets etc.

“Kultuurikatel was effectively the only suitable building and there was not much to choose from”, Tirs said.

The tender was a victory for Kultuurikatel. Ivar Veerus, the building's financial and sales manager, said that the city of Tallinn in turn invested 1.01 million euros after the winning of the tender in order to complete 750 square meters of office space, clearing up the so-called wild garden, the historical Stuart Redoubt and some 1,700 square meters of stone pavement for the courtyard.

All construction work was completed by June 16 and the rooms were handed over to the Government Office on June 20. Kultuurikatel, which usually earns some 500,000 euros in a regular half-year, will make a profit worth approximately 300,000 euros, Veerus said.

Expensive Estonian design

The firm responsible for interior design was Vaikla Stuudio OÜ. The determining factors in choosing the company were the most interesting and fascinating ideas as well as the acceptable cost. The procurement includes the rent, purchase and relocation of furniture.

The Government Office gave the firm considerable freedom regarding interior design. “The only limits were the ones concerning security and the requirements of presidency”, said Urmo Vaikla, head of Vaikla Stuudio. A number of different parties had to be considered: the Government Office protocol, the press and the Estonian National Broadcasting Company requirements, and of course security issues.

The leading principles of interior design were the existing industrial esthetics of the venue, natural materials and recycling. Expensive furniture by various Estonian designers has been used in the building.

For example, one can find 330-euro coffee tables and 360-euro chairs by Derelict, Saaremaa resort chairs worth 187 euros apiece, standard lamps designed by Tarmo Luisk (1,165 euros apiece) and 240-euro chairs by Toivo Raidmets. Everywhere in the rooms there are Estonian-made Click & Grow smart flowerpots, the cost of which begins at 60 euros. And these are only a small selection of Estonian design used in the building. A pressed plywood sofa made by the former Luther factory is among the most expensive items. Vaikla Stuudio managers were unable to state the total cost, since a number of items are still on the way. These include cushions decorated with designs by Marko Mäetamm.

Vaikla Stuudio plans to sell the purchased items after the end of the presidency so as to recover the expenses. But some items will be donated to schools and libraries while the Click & Grow containers will be handed out as gifts. “We selected everything so that nothing should be thrown away”, says Tüüne-Kristin Vaikla, partner in Vaikla Stuudio.

Besides costs, the presidency has major economic impact on Estonia. It creates jobs, increases tax revenue and promises considerable growth of turnover for enterprises engaged in tourism and catering.

Greete Kempel, Government Office media adviser, said that most of the presidency budget will be used in Estonia; the profit thus remains in the country.

Latvia held the EU presidency in 2015 and spent 80 million euros.

KULTUURIKATEL TOIVORAIDMETS
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
8 views in january
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Politics
Even though education is a matter close to the heart of Estonia 200 leader Kristina Kallas, she cannot imagine herself fighting for the post of education minister: ideas can also be realized by someone else. You just took away Postimees’ editor-in-chief. In your opinion, how is the editorial to feel? Lauri [Hussar] had to give the matter thought, and I presume he did. We talked about why he wants to go into politics. Still, to what extent do you imagine wh...
Society
TALLINN – Russia is seeking integration in Estonia only in words, Kalev Stoicescu, researcher at the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) who is running on the ticket of the Estonia 200 party in the March 3 general elections, said on Wednesday commenting on the words said on the subject by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.  "Russia is the only neighboring state which does not wish -- due to its own interests -- progress in integration...
Politics
Former top centrist Evelyn Sepp admitted that she donated money the origin of which was unknown to her to the Center Party in 2006. The former politician claimed other members also engaged in the practice but refused to name names. Sepp’s confession on ETV investigative journalism program «Pealtnägija» does not come as a total bombshell. She first said that such covert funding of parties is a widespread practice in the aftermath of the Silvergate scandal i...
Society
"In addition to our ongoing programme of passenger vessel renovations, we are also continuing to upgrade and modernise our cargo vessels to ensure that we continue to develop this important part of our business," he noted, adding that the relocation of the company's Estonia-Finland cargo route to Muuga on the Estonian side in October 2017 and the launch of the Smart Port solution in Tallinn's Old City Harbour in spring 2018 both contributed to improved ser...
Society
During the final week of 2018, a total of 2,524 patients with viral upper respiratory infections sought medical attention, 47.5% of whom were children. A total of 210 cases of influenza were laboratory confirmed, nearly twice as many as during the week before, according to Health Board data. Over the past two weeks, the number of flu cases has quadrupled. The majority of these cases were laboratory confirmed at emergency medical departments, from which pat...
Society
I actually think that B1 is too low of a bar for attaining citizenship. You still can't participate in Estonian society on anything other than a superficial level as noted above, so I'm not sure how you can constitute a "citizen" on that basis. Naturally there has to be a high degree of arbitrariness, and that's precisely the point — whilst B1 level might be sufficient in German or French (I understand that it is the benchmark level when applying for citiz...
Society
Following a white Christmas throughout most of Estonia, Wednesday will see sleet and even rain in parts of the country, and temperatures hovering around the freezing point will means slippery road conditions. Early Wednesday morning, many major highways were salted or wet, but some patches were still icy, the Estonian Road Administration said. Eastern parts of the country will see scattered rain or sleet. Temperatures throughout the day will remain around...
Society
Last weekend, Christmas Eve as well as Christmas Day and Boxing Day still ahead means that most chemist's shops are closed for five days in a row. Tallinners can still get hold of prescription as well as over-the-counter drugs in the 5 Tõnismägi St and 19 Vikerlase St shops. As doctors' practices are closed for the holidays as well, people will have to turn to the emergency room of a nearby hospital in case of any more serious health problems. In Tallinn,...
Society
Irene Ilves, the mother of former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, died on Tuesday aged 91. Irene Ilves was born on 6 January 1927. An Estonian refugee, she raised her family in New Jersey, on the US East Coast. She is survived by two sons, Andres Eerik and Toomas Hendrik, and four grandchildren, Juulia Kristiine, Luukas Kristjan, Kadri Keiu and Hans Hendrik, Mr Ilves wrote on social media on Wednesday, adding that she will be very missed by family and frie...