Speaking from the European Parliament in Brussels, Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has called for an end to the travelling circus of EU Parliamentary meetings between Brussels and Strasbourg which is costing €180m. She also reiterated her call for a single seat of government for the EU Parliament.a Anderson said:
“Today is the first time for almost two years that the European Parliament has held a voting session in Brussels in its plenary hemicycle. Due to necessary construction work this hemicycle has been closed for as long as I have been in office.
“Seeing it today has only served to highlight the ridiculous waste of money which is spent on the travelling circus of moving for one week every month to vote in Strasbourg. There is a perfectly good voting chamber and Parliament building in Brussels which better accommodates MEPs and their staff than the Strasbourg building.
“The European Parliament has three places of work: Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg. The European Parliament’s main place of work is in Brussels (Belgium). All of the other key EU bodies – European Commission, European Council and the External Action Service (EEAS), member state representatives as well as media, trade unionists, lobbyists and civil society are also based there.
“However, the official ‘seat’ of the European Parliament enshrined in Treaty and chosen for historic reasons, is in Strasbourg (France). As a result the entire European Parliament is obliged by the EU governments (due to the French veto) to trek there for 12 four-day sessions a year. Maintaining Strasbourg and the administrative offices in Luxembourg comes at an extra cost of an estimated €180 million.
“At a time when people across Ireland and Europe are suffering from austerity policies it is impossible to justify this additional cost to the taxpayer.
“If the EU is serious about changing perceptions among European citizens about the benefits of EU membership, then it would do well to make this issue a priority and get rid of a shameful and unnecessary waste of money.”