Parkinson's other Law of course - the one that says when a bureaucracy invests heavily in a prestigious new corporate HQ it is already likely to be heading for the rocks - will be of little interest to the gilded panjandrums of the ECB. They are all too busy discussing the details of the executive WC pans to be fitted in the organisation's new Frankfurt HQ.
I've built a few offices. For a standard, zone 3, nothing too exciting block to accommodate office workers, the building calculations go roughly like this. Allow 8m2 for each person, then add 15% - 25% for circulation space dependant on the shape and height that the site will allow. Cost will be about £3.5k per square metre - a building cost of about £35k per employee. For a prestigious 'status' building in the City, double this figure - £70,000 per employee will get you something decently egoistic.
As Der Spiegel reports, the latest cost estimates for building a new Frankfurt HQ to hold the ECB's 2,000 staff is now close to £1.08bn - a cost of £542,000 per employee. Even if you allow for cretinous architects, utterly incapable engineers, scamming services designers and painters on Leonardo's per diem plus the Mafia skimming 10% of everything you have difficulty getting to this figure; it's obscene, outrageous, repugnant and foul, the sort of figure Bokassa or Saddam might have come up with.
I'm just hoping that being outside the Euro means we're not paying towards this monstrosity. Franz and Jean-Pierre should be advancing on Frankfurt with coils of stretched hemp if they value their men's continental handbags. But then again, if Parkinson is right, the Euro will collapse just as the new HQ is ready for occupation.