Voting in the French city of Strasbourg was cancelled at the European Parliament because volcano travel restrictions prevented many members from getting there. More than 400 of the 736-MEP total showed up, but it was felt that going ahead with votes would be inappropriate, considering those from the countries further away.
The official reasoning from a European Parliament spokesman was: “It would have been unfair to vote without most of the Greeks, Irish, Spaniards or those from the Baltic states being in Strasbourg, since it was just impossible for them to come.”
The business bumped back included clearing last year’s budget, energy labelling on goods and the hot item of bank data sharing.
Cecilia Wikström, a member from Sweden, was crestfallen, saying: “I think it is a joke. I personally feel like a political hostage squeezed between the demands of the State of France and this house — the lack of leadership, actually.”
French socialist MEP Stéphane Le Foll said: “This session is a bit odd, even to a French MEP who made it here without too much bother, though there were some slight delays with the trains; I wasn’t expecting a session like this.”
Some criticised the president for not taking the decision to postpone the voting sooner, but he was following procedure. The next chance to vote will coincide with the British elections, also certain to produce absenteeism.
Journalist Jim Gibbons appealed for calm. He said:
“Perhaps the thing to do is to move the session down to the south of Spain, where the sky is clear, and the sun shines, the sea is warm and everyone could have a jolly good time!”