Building safety fears have prompted further calls for the European Parliament to scrap its monthly suitcase extravaganza between Brussels and Strasbourg.
The roof which came down over the assembly chamber in the French city while it was empty this summer was late getting its new repair warranty stamped. That led the post-break full opening session to be held in the Belgian capital. Next month’s will be too.
French MEP Joseph Daul argued that those in the ‘close Strasbourg’ camp are ducking certain realities:
“A Euro-MP wanting to sit solely in Brussels is not being honest. An MEP is obliged to travel. If I want to see the European Central Bank, I go to Frankfurt. I have to go to Luxembourg if I need to see the European Court of Justice. For veterinarian affairs, it’s Dublin. The food safety agency is in Parma… So a European deputy can’t only work and be based in Brussels.”
Lawmakers in favour of cutting out Strasbourg have been pushing their point of view in Brussels.
The cost of shuffling papers and personnel between two headquarters is some 200 million euros per year. German MEP Jorgo Chatzimarkakis also touched on the roughly 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions that comes with each intercity trip:
“The people of Europe must know their taxes are being senselessly wasted. This is not about the glory of France, nor about the treaties. It’s about adapting policies to their time. We’re living with climate change, in a time of energy efficiency. How can we ask people to tighten their belts when we, their deputies, are madly shuttling between Strasbourg and Brussels?”
The One-seat campaign, which has gathered over 1.2 million signatures to scrap Strasbourg, holds out little hope of getting all 27 of the EU governments to agree to do it, especially with France currently at the helm of the bloc’s six-month rotating presidency.