Parliament wants to end MEPs monthly shuttle to Strasbourg

There are two European Parliaments. One in
Brussels, Belgium, and one in Strasbourg, France. 766 MEPs and over 3000 members of staff travel
every month from Brussels to Strasbourg for the chamber’s plenary sessions. MEPs say this monthly shuttle costs over €150
million, approximately 10% of the Parliament’s yearly budget and almost 19000 tones of CO2
emissions. In a bid to save money, time and the environment,
the Parliament now wants to decide when and where it meets. The question i’m most frequently asked by
my constituency, is why there are two European parliaments ? It’s a good question, and I
challenge anyone here o provide a convincing answer. Why do we spend 150 millions of euros
a year maintaining two parliaments and traveling between them ? At the time of austerity at
home, when national governments making painful spending cuts, how can we justify these expenditure
? Why as we lecture our constituency on reducing CO2 emissions, do we emit 90 thousands tons
of stuff every year, commuting between Strasbourg and Brussels?. But things are not that easy. Stopping the
MEPs monthly shuttle and making Brussels their permanent headquarters would require a change
in the EU treaties, a change that must be approved by all 28 member states. And France, as a host of the monthly sessions
and recipient of EU funds for maintaining the parliament’s building, does not like the
idea. I would just like to remind you the state
of the legislation, of the law : the European parliament has one single seat, that is Strasbourg,
it is in the Treaties : one single seat, Strasbourg. And several working places, true, for different
Parliamentary activities. In the border between France and Germany,
Strasbourg was chosen to host the parliament building as a symbol of European reconciliation
after World War II. Tuesday’s vote calls on EU leaders to initiate
a treaty change right after the next European Parliament has been elected in May next year.
Until then and probably after then, the debate is likely to continue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *