The Campaign for Parliament Reform group has been celebrating having passed the one million signatures mark with its petition. This aims to end to the European Union practice whereby the bloc’s Parliament sits in Brussels and Strasbourg, costing some 200 million euros per year. The CPR, which gathers more than 100 European deputies from 14 countries.
Representatives delivered printouts of the signatures gathered electronically, by internet, to the lobby of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels.
The petition’s driving force, Swedish liberal MEP Cecilia Malmström, said:
“It has nothing against France, which I love, as I love Strasbourg. It’s about the costs and efficiency and the legitimacy of the European institutions.”
Critics have observed that verification of the signatures would be difficult; the same person can register more than once. Yet analysts say the signatures are likely to embarrass EU governments, which are resisting the change of parliament’s site, with France ruling out the move.
The EU constitution says one milion EU citizens can make the EU Commission propose legislation on a particular matter, in this case abandoning Strasbourg.
But the jury is out on the Constitution, and the Commission has no plans to respond to the campaign.