8th June 2012
After a long delay the court case on the future of the Fox Ammendment has finally begun. The French government has appealled to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg to annul a key vote by MEPs, who last year voted to merge two of their October parliamentary sessions into one week in Strasbourg to save costs.
MEPs are forced by EU governments to meet for 12 sessions each year in Strasbourg but on 9 March 2011, they voted by 357 - 253 to change their parliamentary calendar so that two of these sessions fall in the same week. The governments of France and Luxembourg - where the European Parliament's back-office staff are located - are contesting this vote.
Every month the European Parliament moves from Brussels to Strasbourg at enormous cost to the taxpayer, estimated at €200 million and 20,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. Since last year MEPs have consistently voted by large majorities to end this travelling circus and have one Parliamentary seat. MEPs should be able to decide when and where they meet.
The cost of switching sittings back and forth is shockingly wasteful and is indefensible in the current economic climate. France and Luxembourg are putting their own vested interests ahead of the interests of taxpayers. This attempt to derail our campaign is unwarranted and undemocratic.
A final judgment is expected this autumn.