8th February 2013
In the run-up to crucial budget negotiations in Brussels today South West MEP, Ashley Fox, has condemned French President François Hollande's support for the wasteful travelling circus. The practice of the European Parliament shuttling between two cities costs the taxpayer an estimated €200M a year.
On Tuesday 5 February President Hollande ended a two-hour session in the European Parliament's Strasbourg chamber with a defence of the symbolic importance of the City to the EU. In December the European Court of Justice ruled that the European Parliament's decision to merge two Strasbourg weeks into one was against the existing Treaty, but referred MEPs to their new powers to propose Treaty changes (Article 48 of the Lisbon Treaty).
"The European Court of Justice has confirmed - on the ‘Fox Amendment’ case - that MEPs cannot significantly control their own working arrangements, but the ECJ also said that the way is clear for us to use our new powers to propose a change to the Lisbon Treaty,” leading ‘Single Seat’ campaigner, Ashley Fox MEP, declared.
"In view of the European elections in 2014, and with the continuing negotiations on the EU's seven year budget framework at this week's summit in Brussels, it is time for the Parliament to look to our own working arrangements and cut costs. On 23 October, 74% of MEPs voted for a Single Seat for the European Parliament, and 88% voted to urge Member States to address the issue.
"Official estimates show that more than €1.2bn will be squandered during 2014-20 because EU Governments currently compel us by Treaty to trek between Brussels and Strasbourg each month for a four-day session, 48 days per year.
“President Hollande’s comments are out of date and a clear example of national pride getting in the way of efficiency and the needs of the taxpayer. The Strasbourg Circus is a very public display of EU waste and must be cut. I would urge everyone to sign my petition at http://www.stopthestrasbourgcircus.com/.”