The European Parliament wants to stay in one place

European Parliament. Strasburg, France one of the three sits of the House. Committee on Constitutional Affairs - European political parties and European political foundations: statute and funding (COD) - vote on a proposal for a regulation (EP Audiovisual Service).

European Parliament. Strasburg, France, one of the three seats of the House. Committee on Constitutional Affairs – European political parties and European political foundations: statute and funding (COD) – vote on a proposal for a regulation (EP Audiovisual Service).

At last – it was high time that the European Parliament took the responsibility to determine its own agenda and of course to decide where it sits! For decades now legislators travel incessantly to and from between Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg, running after timetables and squandering taxpayers’ money in travel expenses and hotel bookings. Thank God last Monday the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament bravely decided that the legislative should have the right to decide where and when it meets. With 22 votes to 4 it decided that, “The European Parliament would be more effective, cost-efficient and respectful of the environment, if it were located in a single place”. No wonder that those 4 votes came from French MEPs.

Last June a Parliament working document, drafted by Rapporteurs, Ashley Fox (ECR, UK) and Gerald Häfner (Greens/EFA, DE) concluded that the multi seat character of the European Parliament is not any more sustainable. The turning point was, that under the Treaty of Lisbon the Parliament is upgraded to equal footing with the other three legislative bodies of the EU, namely the Commission and the Council. Parliament’s decision making procedures however are much more time-consuming and need an exact application of procedures. Consequently the work load of parliamentarians has multiplied and travelling between the three sites is not any more tolerable.

Travelling circus

That being given, the Committee on Constitutional Affairs took action and started working to solve this problem. The report drafted by the above mentioned two MEPs concludes that the European Parliament, “in order to fulfil its function deriving from the treaties and the expectations of its electorate – Parliament needs the right to organize itself in a modern and appropriate way – and therefore should initiate an ordinary treaty revision procedure in order to amend Article 341 and Protocol 6, granting Parliament the right to decide itself on matters relating to its internal organisation and calendar, and hence the question of its seat“.

In view of that, this Committee last Monday after hearing its two rapporteurs decided that “The European Parliament should have the right to decide where and when it meets”. Rapporteur Fox went one step ahead to describe what is happening now as a “travelling circus”. He said “Today’s vote is excellent news…it will be seen as a landmark in that process and a key achievement in our campaign to impose some sanity on this system. This house must be allowed to determine for itself where it sits. The will of the people must not be ignored on this issue, nor must the wishes of MEPs“. Co-rapporteur Häfner added “In times of crisis, it is not credible for the EU to expect only citizens to accept changes and budget cuts”.

How much does it cost?

The report estimates that additional annual costs resulting from Parliament’s geographic dispersion have been estimated at between €156 million and €204 million, equivalent to around 10% of Parliament’s annual expenditures. The CO2 emissions associated with moving among the three working locations have been estimated at between 11,000 and 19,000 tonnes. This is the recurrent costs weighing only on Parliament’s budget though. The triple seat working arrangements also imposes additional spending and travel on the other EU institutions and on journalists.

All that, however, was more or less known, probably not in that detail, but, in general terms, the wasteful character of the triple Parliament seat was evident long ago. The problem is that France has been traditionally regarding the issue as a key question of national sovereignty. Paris wants to see the European Parliament to convene also in Strasbourg, on French soil, that is, under French jurisdiction. Last time the issue was raised at the European Summit, the then French President Nicola Sarkozy, didn’t accept it as an item of the agenda.

This is obviously a left over from the post WW II (a continuation of WW I) era winners’ ideology, that plays no role whatsoever in today’s brave new world, where the economy and markets reign. If the triple seat of the EU Parliament is non-productive, it is definitive that it has to go. Of course France will not accept this change easily. It seems, though, the time is ripe for that to change also. France is no longer the political academy and the strategic anchor of the European Union. The economic might of Germany and the British support for the one Parliament seat solution will overcome Paris’s reaction. The fact that the two rapporteurs originate from Germany and Britain must be considered as a first defeat of France, foreshadowing the final outcome.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Amid ‘volatile’ environment, UN mission chief urges Iraqi leaders to ‘listen to the voice of the people’

Climate change recognized as ‘threat multiplier’, UN Security Council debates its impact on peace

Turkey presents a new strategy for EU accession but foreign policy could be the lucky card

Don’t dismiss start-ups founded by millennials. This is how they succeed

The ‘abuse of food relief in Yemen’ must end now

A young student discusses the determinants of migration in the European Union

EU to present a “hefty” exit bill to the UK moments before Brexit negotiations

Brazilian public health system and universality: a forgotten right!

The ethics of the Medical Technology Civilisation era

Special measures for Greece: 100% absorption rate

Globalization is changing. Here’s how your business can adapt

The EU Parliament slams Commission on economic governance

UN committed ‘to support the Libyan people’ as Guterres departs ‘with deep concern and a heavy heart’

The Free World Experience Report – LGBTQI+ health on the spot

Women’s leadership ‘critical’ to future of Niger

Chicken soup for the digital soul: how to bring community back online

Legal Manager – 2050

The future of science could be in your gut. Here’s why

Traditional knowledge at ‘core’ of indigenous heritage, and ‘must be protected’, says UN Forum

Bring killers of journalists to justice: UN agency seeks media partners for new campaign

World faces ‘climate apartheid’ risk, 120 more million in poverty: UN expert

Here’s how data can shine a light on financial crime

Joint UN-Red Cross appeal to end rising sexual violence as a weapon of war

Efforts to save the planet must start with the Antarctic

Global aid needed for healthcare

EU and New Zealand launch trade negotiations

Climate change and its adverse impacts on health

Parliament backs new CO2 emissions limits for cars and vans

What brands get wrong about China – and how to put it right

Global Trade Identity can be the cornerstone of paperless trade

Europe, US and Russia haggle over Ukraine’s convulsing body; Russians and Americans press on for an all out civil war

A Europe that Protects: Commission calls for more efforts to ensure adoption of security proposals

The UN went to one of the world’s richest countries to look at poverty – this is what it found

These are the 4 most likely scenarios for the future of energy

7 surprising and outrageous stats about gender inequality

‘We need to do more’ to transform the world, deputy UN chief tells African audiences

Growing up near green space is good for your mental health as an adult

Night owls, rest easy

Evacuation of wounded Yemenis from rebel-held capital may bolster fresh peace talks

As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70 – is it time for a new approach?

EU-US trade war: Will Trump take advantage of WTO’s decision leading to ominous economic growth?

Mental health in medical students: the deciphered quandary

MEPs criticise “America first” policy

MEPs back plans to promote water reuse for agricultural irrigation

The 27 EU leaders did nothing to help May unlock the Brexit talks

“Beating pollution for our planet”, a Sting Exclusive by Mr Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment

A Sting Exclusive: “Without climate, forget about peace!”, Swedish MEP Bodil Valero cautions from Brussels

Syrians still living on ‘razor edge’ as UN launches $8.8 billion dollar appeal

This is how much people would pay to use some of the world’s most popular apps

New EU rules to boost crowdfunding platforms and protect investors

Japan initiates WTO dispute complaint against Korean duties on steel

New energy security framework will help meet growing needs in East Africa, sustainably – UN economic wing

Building cybersecurity capacity through benchmarking: the Global Cybersecurity Index

Why our future relies on more inclusive and transparent innovation

Electronic or conventional cigarettes – which is safer?

Make progress or risk redundancy, UN chief warns world disarmament body

‘Unconscionable’ to kill aid workers, civilians: UN Emergency Coordinator

Freshwater is saltier – and it’s bad for the planet and our health

Solidarity Corps: more opportunities for young people

Following the World Cup? Then you’re watching high-performing migrants at work

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s