A cross-party campaign group is pushing for the European Parliament (EP) to stop moving from Brussels to Strasbourg for four days every month, but cracks in the ceiling of the EP building in Brussels mean that the outcome of the latest spat over whether or not the EP should have a single seat could be beside the point.
Edward McMillan-Scott, MEP, Liberal group said: “The fact is, the political home of the European Parliament is in Brussels. But it’s also the home of the Commission, the Council, the new EU foreign service the EEAS, all diplomatic representations, the NGOs, the trade missions. You know, Brussels is the heart of the EU.”
Supporters of scrapping the parliament’s dual seat say that maintaining the sittings in Strasbourg costs 180 million euros a year. Their opponents say it represents European reconciliation.
Centre-left group MEP Catherine Trautmann, and the former mayor of Strasbourg is – obviously – a supporter of her city keeping its EP role: “Where I disagree is when people say we produce more Co2 and spend more money going to Strasbourg. No, because MEPs also have to travel to Brussels for meetings at the Commission. Historically, the European Parliament was born in Strasbourg, its meetings have been held there, its sessions are held there. The Commissions meet in Brussels.”
Because MEPs last year voted to reduce the time they spend in Strasbourg, France and Luxembourg are taking the European Parliament to the European Court of Justice and the outcome is expected soon.
Euronews correspondent Enrico Bona concluded: “One thing is clear: for the moment, MEPs will continue to shuttle to Strasbourg because the cracks in the ceiling of the hemicycle building in Brussels have still to be repaired.”