5th July 2017
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani is being urged to intervene to help end the parliament's costly "travelling circus" between Brussels and Strasbourg.
The cross party Single Seat Group, headed by Conservative MEP Ashley Fox, wants Mr Tajani to raise the matter with the European Council, which would have to initiate the treaty change required to stop the monthly trips. Having two parliamentary seats costs EU taxpayers an estimated €114 million a year.
Strasbourg was originally chosen as a home for the Parliament due to its symbolism, having changed hands between France and Germany in both world wars. However, most MEPs now agree it is time to end the shuttling of politicians and thousands of staff between Brussels and south east France.
Speaking today before the issue was debated in Parliament, Mr Fox said: "In 1957 Strasbourg was a symbol of reconciliation. Now it's a symbol of all that is wrong with the European Union.
"As well as the heavy financial cost and the amount of time wasted travelling, we are engaging in a needless activity that pumps 19,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year into the atmosphere just as we are urging citizens to reduce their carbon footprint."
The Single Seat group wants the issue to be adopted by the Council's current Estonian presidency and is pressing for a resolution requesting a legislative report to be placed on the Parliament's September agenda. It hopes to work with new French President Emmanuel Macron to find a mutually acceptable solution and intends sending a delegation to the Elysee Palace.
Mr Fox added: "An overwhelming number of MEPs, and certainly most EU citizens, want change. I hope Mr Tajani will reflect their concerns."