December 6 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, October 17, 2013
An MEP is calling for fellow politicians to ‘stand up to the French’ and stop the once-a-month “circus” trip to the additional parliament in Strasbourg.
David Campbell Bannerman, Eastern Counties MEP, wants the parliament to stay in Brussels.
Since it began, the vast majority of parliamentary sessions take place in the main EU parliament building in Brussels.
However, once every month, 766 MEPs, 3,000 staff and 25 trucks carrying documents and equipment all decamp to Strasbourg in France to sit there for four days.
So far, moves to stop the unnecessary haul to Strasbourg have been resisted by many member states, for fear of upsetting the French.
On Monday, the Parliament’s Committee for Constitution Affairs approved a report condemning the practice which costs £131m a year.
Voting at the meeting to end the Strasbourg sessions, Mr Campbell Bannerman said: “One of the major concerns citizens have about the EU at the moment is the cost and the waste, and this kind of scenario illustrates that they have every right to be concerned.
“There has never been any logical reason for these monthly trips to Strasbourg, other than not to fall out with our French colleagues.”
He added: “The costs are hugely disproportionate considering we only really use it a quarter of the time.
“We’ve got to end this political circus.”
A final vote is expected to take place before all of the MEPs in November - in Strasbourg.