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

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

EU and China to do more in common if the global scene gets worse

Companies can help build a more inclusive world. Here’s how

EU-Singapore free trade deal gets green light in Trade Committee

UN calls for support to implement Central Africa’s newly minted peace agreement

Why tourism policy needs to use more imagination

More women and girls needed in the sciences to solve world’s biggest challenges

Crime and drugs in West and Central Africa: Security Council highlights ‘new alarming trends’

The Oslo model: how to prepare your city for the electric-vehicle surge

Managers’ pay under fire

South Asia can become an innovation hub. Here’s how

‘I don’t like to give up’: veteran UN envoy reveals how two decades of quiet diplomacy gave birth to North Macedonia

How populist and xenophobic movements in the EU tear apart European businesses and startups

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

Human Rights: breaches in Cambodia, Uganda and Myanmar

‘No-deal’ Brexit: European Commission takes stock of preparations ahead of the June European Council (Article 50)

Draghi: Germany has to spend if Eurozone is to exit recession

How has tech been used for good in civil society? We asked the experts

It’s EU vs. Google for real: the time is now, the case is open

Yemen: Major UN aid boost for ‘up to 14 million’ as country risks becoming a land of ‘living ghosts’

COP25: MEPs push for CO2 neutrality by 2050

Climate change: Direct and indirect impacts on health

There are more than 1 billion guns in the world and this is who owns them

Erasmus+ will finance existing UK-EU mobility in the event of no-deal Brexit

A Sting Exclusive: “Digital iron curtain makes no sense in 5G era”, by China’s Ambassador to EU Mr. Zhang Ming

3 steps to making multistakeholder partnerships a powerful force

MEPs urge the EU to lead the way to net-zero emissions by 2050

UN food relief agency airlifts aid to DR Congo province hit by Ebola outbreak

35th ACP-EU Assembly: migration and demographics will dominate the debate

COP21 Paris agreement: a non legally-binding climate pact won’t stop effectively global warming while EU’s Cañete throws hardest part to next Commission

We are on the edge of a new ‘cyber’ space age. This is how we make it a success

Overseas investment falling, developing countries largely unscathed: UN trade agency

At least 2.5 million migrants were smuggled in 2016, first UN global study shows

UN chief calls for ‘far greater support’ for Cyclone Idai response

EU’s Mogherini visits Turkey “to step up engagement” and highlight interests

World’s Press Calls on the United Kingdom to Address Press Freedom Concerns

New phenomena in the EU labour market

Is the West gradually losing Africa?

Global Citizen – Volunteer Internships

The West – the EU and the US – is writing off Turkey’s Erdogan

How to harness data to tackle rare diseases

Ship Recycling is the Commission’s Titanic

How cities can become more resilient to climate change

Historic first, as Tolstoy’s War and Peace lands in Geneva, to mark international centenary

EU’s tougher privacy rules: WhatsApp and Facebook set to be soon aligned with telcos

Polluted lungs: health in the center of environment discussion

OECD tells Eurozone to prepare its banks for a tsunami coming from developing countries

EU-Russia summit in the shadows of Kiev’s fumes

Promoting gender equality a ‘crucial contribution’ in effort to restore, protect our planet’s oceans

GSMA Mobile 360 Series –Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

The three biggest challenges for India’s future

This start-up is making a palm oil alternative from used coffee grounds

Progress in medical research: leading or lagging behind?

Risks rising in corporate debt market

DR Congo elections: ‘Excessive use of force’ in campaign must be avoided, says Bachelet

European Commission calls on national political parties to join efforts to ensure free and fair elections in Europe

More than nine in ten children exposed to deadly air pollution

MEPs call for decisive action to fight inequalities in the EU

‘Refrain from violence’ UN chief urges, as presidential election result is announced in DR Congo

Here’s why infrastructure will make or break our response to climate change

This is what great leadership looks like in the digital age

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