1st August 2014
An official report by the EU's Court of Auditors has added huge weight to the campaign headed by South West Conservative MEP Ashley Fox to stop the European Parliament endlessly shuttling between Strasbourg and Brussels.
The study, compiled by the auditors at the request of the Parliament, finds that moving all sittings from Strasbourg to Brussels would save £90 million a year. In addition there would be a one-off windfall saving of £490 million if the Strasbourg buildings were successfully sold.
Ashley Fox, who has been leading the campaign to stop this exorbitant waste of money commented that "This is the most powerful evidence yet that the wasteful Strasbourg travelling circus must be scrapped - and the sooner the better. When the EU's own experts are saying this is financial madness, surely it is time to listen."
Most of the European Parliament's work is done at its sprawling complex of offices and debating chambers in Brussels, but once a month more than 750 MEPs, 3,000 staff and 25 trucks carrying documents and equipment all decamp to Strasbourg in France to meet there for three days.
In November 2013 the Parliament passed the Fox/Hafner report on the workings of the European Parliament. The report requested that the Court of Auditors provided a comprehensive analysis of the potential savings for the EU budget, including savings made through reduced loss of working time and greater efficiency, if the Parliament had only one seat.
The predicted savings amount to 6.3 per cent of the Parliament's current running costs and are over 10 per cent greater than estimated in a report produced last year by the Parliament's own civil servants. Simply cutting out the staff time wasted in traveling back and forth would save nearly £5 million a year.
"The scale of the waste confirmed here is eye-watering. The EU cannot claim credibility or make any sort of claim to financial responsibility so long as this is allowed to continue," adds Mr Fox.
"This is an important report at the very start of a new Parliamentary Term. It puts this issue right back at the top of the agenda and I will be looking to build on this momentum in the coming weeks."
For a copy of the report in full please visit here - http://www.eca.europa.eu/Lists/ECADocuments/PL1407_LETTER/PL1407_LETTER_EN.pdf