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.

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

Investment, not debt, can kick-start an entrepreneurial Europe

‘Stay together and step up’ action to meet Global Goals, ECOSOC President tells development forum

This is what the world’s youngest prime minister said at Davos 2020

Distributed ownership: what it means and how it could transform India

IFMSA and IPSF on the Health of Migrants and Refugees

Raw materials: Commission launches new online portal to support responsible sourcing in businesses

This South Korean city once had the biggest coronavirus outbreak outside of China. Now it’s reported zero new cases

European Court of Justice to Google: It is #righttobeforgotten but not #righttoberemembered

Multilateralism’s ‘proven record of service’ is focus of first-ever International Day

These countries give the most aid – and are the most principled about it

Obama, Crimea and the TTIP pill

China greenlights first underwater high-speed railway

Mexico: UNICEF calls for implementation of protocol to protect migrant children

Could Rwanda become Africa’s healthcare leader?

2018 ‘terrifying’ for Yemenis but ultimately a ‘year for hope’ says UN Special Envoy

More beehives and beekeepers thanks to EU support

Why EU’s working and unemployed millions remain uncertain or even desperate about their future

Cutting CO2 emissions from trucks: MEPs reach deal with Council

VAT: EU Member States still losing almost €150 billion in revenues according to new figures

Taxation: Commission refers Spain to the Court for imposing disproportionate sanctions for failure to report assets held abroad

Earth Hour 2019: switch off your lights, and become an innovator

One migrant child reported dead or missing every day, UN calls for more protection

More than half of world’s refugee children ‘do not get an education’, warns UNHCR

Job vacancy data reveal better prospects for Britain, stagnation in Eurozone

Inside the battle to counteract the COVID-19 ‘infodemic’

Brexit and migration dominates the debate on October’s EU summit

Country origin ‘best predictor of outcome’ for children with cancer, UN experts say

Going climate-neutral: expert-group recommendations to help energy-intensive industries contribute to the EU’s 2050 target

UN health emergency committee to re-convene on global threat posed by China coronavirus

Violence in North and West Africa increasingly targeting civilian and border areas – OECD/SWAC

Security Council discusses chemical weapons use in Syria following latest global watchdog report

Scientists are using machine learning to unlock the mysteries of long-dead languages

UN sees progress in fight against tobacco, warns more action needed to help people quit deadly product

Reducing deforestation means getting serious about environmental crime

Meet Cipta: the comic book hero using her powers to tackle bullying in schools

The world’s largest bus system is starting to go electric

European Parliament calls on Russia to end occupation of Georgian territories

10 of Albert Einstein’s best quotes

Technology and public healthcare: the basis to fight COVID-19

3 unexpected consequences of the US-China trade war

Prisoner executions in Belarus ‘simply unacceptable’, says UN rights body

Armed groups kill Ebola health workers in eastern DR Congo

Everyone’s ‘buy-in’ needed to restore peace in Kosovo, UN envoy tells Security Council

Easing funding woes for UN agency assisting Palestine refugees a ‘wise investment for today and the future’

What’s needed now to fight COVID-19 – Updates from today’s WHO briefing

European Commission recommends common EU approach to the security of 5G networks

Cutting money transfer fees could unlock $15bn for developing countries. Here’s how

UN General Assembly President upholds value of multilateralism in speech closing annual debate

A Sting Exclusive: “Technology for all, development for all: the role of ITU”, written by the Secretary General of the United Nations Agency

Matthias in Canada

Who threatens the lives and livelihoods of Ukrainians?

Young activists share four ways to create a more inclusive world

Universal Health Coverage will ‘drive progress’ on 2030 Development Agenda

The anti-vaccine movement shows the peril of a post-truth world

How does your immune system work?

This forgotten chemical element could be the key to our green energy future

6 facts to know about EU alternative investment funds

‘You can and should do more’ to include people with disabilities, wheelchair-bound Syrian advocate tells Security Council in searing speech

Can Eurozone’s uncertain growth answer the challenges that lie ahead?

‘Revved up climate action’ needed to counter ‘prolonged’ and deadly storms like Cyclone Idai: Guterres

More Stings?


Speak your Mind Here

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

You are commenting using your 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