9th March 2011
Proposals put forward by Conservative MEP Ashley Fox to cut down on the number of trips between Brussels and Strasbourg have been adopted today in a vote that will save EU taxpayers 15 Million Euros and save the environment from 1600 tonnes of needless carbon dioxide.
Mr Fox had tabled an amendment to the parliament's calendars of 2012 and 2013 which merge the two sessions in October into one week, thus meaning that MEPs will fulfil their treaty obligations to hold 12 sessions in Strasbourg, whilst only having to make 11 trips backwards and forwards.
Mr Fox, who has submitted similar amendments twice before has been able to get agreement on a secret ballot on the proposal, thus freeing MEPs from the whipping operations of the largest groups in the parliament.
Speaking after the vote, he said:
"I sincerely hope that this is the first nail in the coffin of the European Parliament's travelling circus.
"The monthly relocation from Brussels to Strasbourg has become synonymous with waste - both in terms of the 200 million Euros, and the 20,000 tonnes of CO2 emitted.
"MEPs cannot decide where they sit but they do have the power to decide how many times the parliament must relocate from one city to the other. The parliament has sent an historic and groundbreaking message that we want this monthly farce to end. We must be heard.
"I have yet to meet a British taxpayer who thinks the two-seat operation of the European Parliament is anything short of farcical."