Even before the Ukraine war and XXL inflation, the expansion plans for the Chancellery in Berlin seemed pompous. Now they seem obscene in the face of the government’s admonition to citizens to exercise moderation. The fun costs 777 million euros, the groundbreaking is planned for the end of the year.

If Donald Trump or worse Vladimir Putin had planned to double the office space of the White House or the Kremlin and put a second one of the same size next to the previous government building, the TV stations would rotate around the world; first “Breaking News”, then special broadcast.

The headline on ARD and ZDF would presumably read: megalomania campaign. The Tenor: We always told you. Typical, these populists and autocrats!

When Olaf Scholz and his Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck tackle the doubling of the Federal Chancellery for 777 million euros and destroy and remove the trees and green spaces that were previously maintained from the tax fund and then have the areas sealed, the German state-affiliated TV doesn’t give a damn.

Now save articles for later in “Pocket”.

Perhaps those responsible for the broadcasters are thinking about their own pompous construction plans. One builder doesn’t peck out the other’s eye.

Here are the most important facts you should know about the planned expansion or new construction of the Federal Chancellery:

• The German government headquarters is already around eight times larger than the White House, ten times larger than No. Downing Street. 10 and three times larger than the Élysée Palace in Paris.

• The previous office space of 25,347 square meters will be doubled to 50,000 square meters with the extension.

• The construction costs have increased from originally 456.8 million euros to now 777 million euros – i.e. by a good 60 percent compared to the start of planning.

• This is not only due to inflation, but also because the originally planned functional building no longer seems adequate to the politicians. The seat of government enjoys “a solitary position within the federal government”, which is why the “new building must not fall below the architectural and structural level of the existing Chancellery building,” the Court of Auditors was informed.

• Plans include: an arched new building with space for almost 400 offices, including nine conservatories extending over five floors. Construction costs per square meter of floor space: 31,517.46 euros. Comparable public buildings such as the new building of the Ministry of the Interior (6,499 euros), the Humboldt Forum (15,265 euros) and the extension of the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus (11,443 euros) managed with significantly less.

• More than 14 million euros are estimated for the glazing alone, the sun protection of the conservatories and access systems for glass cleaning.

• The construction documents provide for further deluxe features: A daycare center for 12 to 15 children, the cost of the facility is 2.8 million euros. According to the Court of Auditors, this corresponds to three times that of a normal kindergarten place.

• An (additional) chancellor’s apartment with 250 square meters is planned. The Court of Auditors estimates that the “calculated equipment costs” of the rooms with sofas, wall units and lamps amount to 225,000 euros.

• A new helipad – on a 23 meter high tower – for ten million euros seems necessary to the builders.

The government justifies the new building – which was already decided under Angela Merkel with the consent of the grand coalition at the time and presented by the then Minister of the Chancellery – with the argument that the Chancellery has become too small and the civil servants currently have to be distributed over several locations in the capital .

No groundbreaking has yet taken place. But it’s getting serious. It all starts this year with the destruction of the previous green space. The preparations for this are underway, the application deadline for the necessary garden work in the park of the Chancellery expired on Wednesday. The Pioneer has documents and sketches available.

According to this, more than 200 large trees, some of which are more than 60 years old, are to fall, including oaks, lindens, robinias, maples, beeches and poplars.

“Execution is to begin on: December 28, 2022,” says the documents for the tender. The trees should be felled by the end of March at the latest.

Then the excavators roll in and start working on the foundation so that today’s green area can be sealed. The instruction to the construction workers is very clear: The “existing park architecture” and the condition of the existing vegetation do not have to be protected”. The building should be finished in 2028.

It is also interesting how the workers on the construction site should be treated. The federal government, which likes to boast of its migrant-friendly policies in public, knows very well how to distinguish between good and “unreliable” migrants within its own sphere of influence. Anyone who came to Germany from the wrong country has no chance of employment. The tender conditions state under the heading “Classification of the project under secret protection law”: “In the case of the required security check and the personal check, the necessary queries about the person checking are required for at least a period of the last five years. For nationals of a state with special security risks (SmbS) these checks cannot be carried out. As a result, these people cannot work on the project.”

This means: Not personality and biography, but solely the country of origin decides whether the worker is employed or prohibited from working. For politicians, who otherwise advocate not using stereotypes, this attitude seems strange.

The new building with its ecological and financial side effects was pompous even before the war, the energy price explosion and XXL inflation.

Now the project seems obscene. The state, which urges its citizens to exercise moderation and even pushes the limits of what is possible with its borrowing, does not want to make any compromises in its own sphere of rule. There is no will to save and therefore no sense of guilt.

Conclusion: The new location sheds a new light on this construction project. All parties have promised to cut bureaucracy and are now building a stronghold for Grade A civil servants.

Perhaps those responsible at ARD and ZDF will gather their courage, make use of the state distance they have been granted and go on the air with this symbolic topic “You up there, we down there”. Or to put it simply: Ms. Maischberger, take over!