On the eve of a major seminar [Strasbourg, 24 October 1330 - 1530] on the European Parliament’s controversial monthly trek from its home in Brussels to its official ‘seat’ in Strasbourg, MEPs have voted overwhelmingly to invoke their new powers under the Lisbon Treaty to propose treaty changes.
By 615 – 64, MEPs voted for a change in the treaty to allow for a Single Seat and in a series of budget votes with similar majorities pointed out that the economic and environmental savings of such a move.
The cross-party Single Seat campaign, led by two parliament Vice-Presidents, Edward McMillan-Scott (UK, Liberal Democrat) and Alexander Alvaro (Germany, FDP) has figures showing the additional costs at some €180m per year and 19,000 tonnes of CO2. They also asked governments to address the issue in the current negotiations on the EU’s Multi-Annual Financial Framework 2014 – 2020. Mr McMillan-Scott said:
“The Parliament is telling national governments that we will use our new powers to turn the corner on the anachronistic arrangement which keeps us away from the political capital of Europe – Brussels – for one week a month.
“This is in the Coalition agreement and we are trying to turn it into political practice.”
In order to cut costs, MEPs previously voted to merge twoStrasbourgsessions into one week this month. However,Franceis taking the European Parliament to the European Court of Justice over this arrangement with a judgement expected later this year.
The Seminar entitled “Towards 2014: A Single Seat and the European Elections” will look at the voting behaviour of MEPs, discuss how to initiate Treaty change with legal experts and look at alternatives for Strasbourg as well as ways to communicate with members of national parliaments and the media on this issue.
Note to editors:
More information on the Single Seat seminar (webstreamed!) on Wednesday (24th):
To mark Single Seat Week, MEPs will display an orange origami paper seat on their desks in the hemicycle during the plenary sessions, especially during the Tuesday votes as there will be votes on Single Seat paragraphs in the report on the EP 2013 budget, as well as in the report on the MFF 2014-2020. When folded, the origami seat will display the Single Seat logo and will contain, on the back, arguments as to why the Parliament should have a Single Seat. The concept is deliberately low-cost (in line with the campaign’s stated objective of saving money).
Follow the Single Seat campaign online:
Single Seat pic badge for FB: http://www.picbadges.com/badge/2839195/#
Single Seat app: http://SingleSeatEU.mobapp.at