Dismay over court’s Strasbourg ruling – but long-term fight goes on

Conservative MEPs this week expressed bitter disappointment over a court judgment overturning a decision to reduce the number of costly trips to sit in Strasbourg made by the European Parliament.

East Midlands MEP Emma McClarkin said the ruling was undemocratic and would prove counterproductive. She said that the Conservatives’ long-term battle would continue to end the wasteful treks to Strasbourg altogether – and would eventually prevail.

Miss McClarkin was speaking as the ECJ issued its verdict on an appeal by France and Luxembourg against the so-called Fox amendment, which reduced the number of annual trips to Strasbourg by putting two separate sessions into one week in September.

Most of the European Parliament’s work is done at its huge complex of offices and debating chambers in Brussels, but once a month 754 MEPs, 3,000 staff and 25 trucks carrying documents and equipment all decamp to Strasbourg in France.

The wasteful trek costs £160 million a year and needlessly pumps 20,000 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.

Earlier this year the European Parliament voted by 429 MEPs to 184 to call for a single seat. There is vocal and growing majority in the Parliament to stop the yoyo travel schedule – but that will need a treaty change.

Miss McClarkin said:

“This decision is not unexpected because the court received legal advice along these lines from Advocate General earlier this year, but it is still bitterly disappointing.

“Still, this case will be but a blip in our ceaseless campaign to stop the ridiculous two-seat travelling circus altogether. The fight continues and I am sure before long we will succeed.

“In the meantime, we will continue to minimise the cost of all this to the taxpayer wherever we can. Every member of the public who talks to me about it wonders why this ridiculous situation can´t just stop.

“This travelling circus has to stop!”

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© Copyright Emma McClarkin
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