18th May 2010
South West Conservative MEP, Ashley Fox, is leading a charge to try and cut back the travelling circus that is the monthly movement of the European Parliament from Brussels to Strasbourg.
MEPs are required by the EU Treaties to attend twelve sessions per year in Strasbourg, meaning that every month they must haul themselves, papers and their staff across Europe. By forcing two of these sessions to take place in the same week it w could reduce the cost to the European taxpayer by around €17 million per year.
The unnecessary Strasbourg arrangements cost around €200 million per year and have been estimated to release 20,000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Speaking ahead of the Parliament's vote on Wednesday, Mr Fox said:
"Every country in Europe is facing public cuts and it is about time the EU streamlined its own operation as well. We need to ensure that we save money where we can, and this proposal could start the process of keeping the Parliament in just one city, rather than have it flit across Europe. We are asking people to tighten their belts. This travelling circus diminishes the EU's moral authority."
“We can save money, we can save time and we can cut emissions of CO2. I w ant the money saved to be returned to national governments.”
"This year I have only proposed that we sandwich the two Strasbourg sessions in September. However, if this experiment is successful I would hope to see the Parliament extending the principle in 2012."