Europe House opening

Ambassadors, cabinet ministers and EU luminaries gathered at 32 Smith Square for the historic opening of Europe House, the joint home of the offices of the EU Commission and EU Parliament in the UK.

The occasion marked the historic union of the two institutions which have been housed separately in London for 30 years.

Located in the former Tory Central Office Foreign Secretary William Hague joked in his speech that the building was “perfect for plotting”.

Instead of plotting, collective action was needed in Europe, said Mr Hague, adding that he hoped Europe House would become an important point of contact to meet the challenges for “a greener, safer and more prosperous Europe”.

Speaking in the Churchill Hall, the Foreign Secretary said Winston Churchill was a believer in “Europe whole and free” adding that he was delighted to be standing with EU officials from the new member states, Jerzy Buzek, a Pole, President of the European Parliament and Siim Kallas, an Estonian, Vice President of the Commission.

In their speeches, Mr Buzek and Mr Kallas alluded to Europe House offering an opportunity for better communication with the British public. Mr Buzek, aware of a few eurosceptics in the audience, reminded guests of the historic achievements of the EU in overcoming the conflicts, and quipped: “It’s better to boring than warring” but also promised to make the EU more interesting.