Alyn Smith MEP has today welcomed the passage of a motion by the full Parliament plenary session which is a big step forward for those seeking an end to the wasteful Brussels-Strasbourg commute of the European Parliament.
Members voted overwhelmingly in favour (by 483-141) to support the report which called on Parliament to be granted “the prerogative of determining its own working arrangements, including the right to decide where and when it holds its meetings”.
Speaking from Strasbourg after the vote, Alyn commented:
“The Strasbourg seat is a hangover from the days where all six founding members of the European Coal and Steel Community got a shot at hosting an institution. As a symbol of Franco-German unity, the border town of Strasbourg was chosen as the location of the unelected Assembly. Half a century later, we have a fully-fledged European Union of 28 Member States stretching all the way from Cyprus to Stornaway, and in this context the Strasbourg seat has become an expensive anachronism that saps our credibility.
“The Parliament is obliged under primary treaty law to flit to Strasbourg a minimum of twelve times a year, costing the EU tax-payer 180 million euros and generating over 19,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Over 4,000 staff are involved in this 220-mile commute to a Parliament that then lies empty for 300 days a year. It is a ruinous waste of time, energy, and resources that undermines our efforts to defend the EU against a rising tide of Euro-scepticism. That is not what the founders of the European project would have wanted, and it was therefore especially disappointing to hear the French far-right parliamentarians accusing us of turning our backs on the EU’s history.
“We are the only Parliament in the world that does not have the power to decide our own location. My hope is that the motion that passed today will spell the beginning of the end for the Strasbourg commute so that we can at last have a Parliament fit for the 21st century.”
The vote in the Parliament represents a significant step forward for the ‘One Seat’ campaign, which has already attracted the signatures of over 1.27 million European and of which Alyn is a long-standing supporter. Any member of the public who wishes to support the campaign can access the petition through Alyn’s website at http://www.alynsmith.eu/one_seat_petition.