12th April 2011
The announcement by the French Europe Minister that a challenge to the European Parliament's two-seat operation would result in counter-actions to change the seats of other EU institutions (report, 11th April) highlights how petulant and isolated the French have become on this issue.
Last month, MEPs voted by a majority of over 100 to support my amendment which reduced the number of trips MEPs make between Brussels and Strasbourg from twelve a year to eleven, whilst still honouring our treaty commitments to hold twelve separate sessions in the Alsatien city. This shows the overwhelming support in the Parliament for having one seat and cutting down on the substantial profligacy and emissions associated with maintaining two buildings and moving 4,000 people.
The French government needs to realise that the game is up. The European Parliament has gained significant new powers - for better or for worse - in recent years, but it will lack credibility and legitimacy all the time France puts its own narrow interest ahead of European Taxpayers'.