by Steve Beasant on 28 September, 2011
As the European Parliament meets for a second time this month in Strasbourg, UK Liberal Democrat MEP Edward McMillan-Scott, European Parliament Vice-President responsible for Democracy and Human Rights, is calling for a spending stop for all building projects concerning the Parliament until a comprehensive analysis of the real costs of all its three working places has been conducted.
Mr McMillan-Scott, who co-chairs the Single Seat campaign determined to bring an end to the European Parliament’s historic three working places arrangement in Strasbourg, Luxembourg and Brussels, said:
“After a year of internal studies and research showing the financial, environmental and physical costs of travelling between Brussels and Strasbourg, it is time to step up the pressure on Member States to reform the system.
“Liberal Democrat MEPs will vote against any money being spent on buildings for the European Parliament in all its meeting places at least until the real costs of working in three different locations are revealed.
“At a time of economic crisis it is indefensible to let Member States get away with dictating to the European Parliament where and when it has to meet.”
In June, an absolute majority of MEPs (373-285) had voted in favour of a Single Seat to make significant savings to the EU budget: The additional cost of maintaining three places of work is currently estimated by Parliament’s administration to be around €180 million per annum. The adoption of a Single Seat in Brussels would save almost 19,000 tonnes of CO2 every year. However, in order to change the official seat of the European Parliament, a treaty change with the unanimous support of Member States is required.
The European Parliament is currently fighting its corner against France and Luxembourg in a court case before the European Court of Justice over its decision to hold two plenary sessions in one week during 2012 and 2013, thus reducing the amount of trips from Brussels to Strasbourg from 12 to 11 journeys.
Mr McMillan-Scott added:
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“It is very disappointing that the UK Government has so far refused to intervene on behalf of the European Parliament and show its support for a Single Seat in this court case, despite its clear commitment in the coalition agreement to fight for a single working location of the European Parliament.”