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    850 million euros pledged to Notre Dame

    © Belga
    © Belga

    Pledges to Notre Dame have reached 850 million euros one month after the fire, Minister of Culture Franck Riester said on Wednesday, stressing that “the conservation and security operations are ongoing.”

    Riester had just visited the cathedral with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who announced that Canada was willing “to offer all the steel and lumber you need… You can count on us, your Canadian cousins,” he said to reporters on the steps of Notre Dame. 

    Riester called for the donations to continue, despite the “unilateral decision” of the Heritage Foundation (FDP), one of the four collecting platforms, to close the fund collection. 

    “It is premature to make such a decision. The national subscription continues with the other two foundations and through the Centre des monuments nationaux,” Reister insisted. 

    “While the promised donations are at 850 million euros, it is much too early to conclude that we have enough or too much money to restore Notre Dame,” he said. “There might be a difference between the pledges and the actual payment.” 

    “We do not have estimations, because the inventory diagnosis is not complete, nor is the “evaluation of the necessary work,” the Minister said. 

    He noted the need to take into account “the expense related to the Paris diocese in terms of organization and hospitality,” of the faithful in particular. There is talk of a temporary structure for worship. 

    As for the reconstruction, securing the arch “is the most problematic issue”, requiring “a lot of work, many days, many weeks.” 

    The furniture “is mostly secured, either at the Louvre or in specialized reserves. There remain some articles in the transept, to which we do not have access.” 

    When asked about the ongoing investigation of the accident, he stressed that “it is too early to conclude… Robots are being used to remove the rubble,” he said, which will be “analysed by the police” in search of clues.

    The Brussels Times