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Landmark vote due on one-seat campaign

18 November 2013

Landmark vote due on one-seat campaign

The European Parliament is set to make a landmark vote this week, seen as a major step towards scrapping the notorious Strasbourg Travelling Circus.

The European Parliament is set to make a landmark vote this week, seen as a major step towards scrapping the notorious Strasbourg Travelling Circus.

Following a debate tomorrow (Tuesday) a plenary session of the parliament will vote on Wednesday on a report setting out a roadmap for reform, jointly authored by ECR MEP Ashley Fox.

Mr Fox, a leading campaigner against the wastefulness of the dual-seat system, said: “This is potentially an historic vote. If they back my report, MEPs will be for the first time demanding the right to decide where they sit. What’s more they will be telling national governments to change the relevant Treaties to allow this to happen

“It won’t mean the end of the shameful monthly ritual of trekking to Strasbourg, but it may mean the beginning of the end.”

His report, drafted jointly with German Green MEP Gerald Hafner, focuses on the economic and environmental costs of the dual-seat system, as well as the weight of public sentiment which is deeply opposed. The present arrangement is simply unsustainable, it argues, and MEPs should be allowed to decide for themselves where the parliament sits.

Most of the European Parliament’s work is done at its huge complex of offices and debating chambers in Brussels, but once a month 766MEPs, 3,000 staff and 25 trucks carrying documents and equipment all decamp to Strasbourg in France to sit there for three days.

A report by the Parliament Secretary General last week put the annual cost at €102 million, but ECR MEPs say “invisible” costs such as the ongoing costs of the buildings, and money wasted on unused floor space make the true cost much higher. It also needlessly pumps 20,000 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.”

Mr Fox said: “Over the parliament’s seven-year long-term budget this will in fact cost taxpayers a staggering £928 million. In hard economic times, there are so many better things that could be spent on rather than empty buildings and needless journeys.”

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