€50 million for Repairing a Presidential Palace!

You will recall how do you Romanian despot Nicolae Ceausescu who built his presidential Palace (above) in the middle of Bucharest.

The whole project was a waste of money and a huge abuse of power from which the people of Romania derived nothing but suffering from this despot’s police state.

Presidents in small countries like Finland do not require presidential palaces, especially when the role and powers of a president are reduced in relation to the government and Parliament. In today’s world Finland has a parliamentary democracy, and the role of the president has been reduced to what one could describe as being advisory to the government. He has limited powers over foreign politics, and although he is commander in chief, it is the government and the generals who plan and execute military affairs.

In 1993, work was completed for the construction of a new presidential home (below) and official residence. It is called Mäntyniemi, and is a dreadful ugly bunker-like building clad in grey granite slabs with huge thick glass windows. The cost of this c. 2000 m2 cold monstrosity was an embarrassing €35 million, which was times more than 14 times the original budget!

It has been in use since then and we must assume that all the necessary repairs have been carried out as is normal for any building.

Now the big shock that has dominated the news is that the government has said that it needs repairs and these cost €55 million. Recall that the original cost was €35 million and now we have to pay another €55 million – total cost equals an incredible €90 million!

One could think that this is some kind of joke but the truth is that there is no building in Finland that has ever been repaired at such cost relative to its size!

It is sheer madness for a president’s home and official residence to even consider such a cost.

To put this in perspective there are three important matters to consider:

  1. The government has many buildings that can be used for a president and his staff. A former president was happy to have an older house with a floor area of some 450 m2 called Tamminiemi (see below).
  2. Why any new office holder needs more than four times that area is difficult to understand. Finland is a safe country and no President has ever been threatened!
  3. The cost of a nice new detached house in central Helsinki costs between €1.5 million top €2 million, and that includes the grounds. The government has plenty of spare land in the middle of Helsinki for free. Why on earth are they spending another €55 million when they could use fraction to get dozens a properly fenced houses with security lighting.
  4. Finnish pensioners and hospital patients are not receiving enough care and medical treatment because the government is trying to cut welfare payments. It is ridiculous to think that a new young president’s home is of greater importance at this or any other time.

This wasteful and pointless project should be stopped because there are many more important urgent funding needs for tax revenues.

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