The farce that is Strasbourg has gone on long enough. The issue of having two seats is a sad reality I fight hard to change. Every month 751 MEPs, 3,000 staff and 25 articulated lorries carrying hundreds of tonnes of documents and equipment all move 270 miles and set up camp in Strasbourg for 4 days. At the end of those 4 days, it all moves back to Brussels again. This pointless and wasteful journey costs about £131 million a year and pumps 20,000 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.
The reason for this on-going circus is that the French had it enshrined in a treaty that the seat of power of the EU had to be in France. It is something they have a veto over.
I, along with other Conservative MEPs, have been fighting this ridiculous situation for many years, trying to stop the monthly trip to Strasbourg. You might think that the benefits and cost savings are obvious – and to us they are – however, French MEPs do not see things the same way and have become experts at exerting pressure in an obvious attempt to keep the European money flowing into Strasbourg.
However, their ability to continue this futile argument is gradually waning. In February at a Franco-German summit the French government began to suggest alternative uses for Strasbourg, signifying a large step towards the consolidation in one single seat. This was reinforced by a vote in October 2014 where over 70% of MEPs voted in favour of a single seat (+511 -124).
We have reached a stage whereby the European Parliament has exerted the force it can and made its voice known with increasing majorities for a single seat. It is now up to the national governments of Europe to vote unanimously for the change, which means convincing the French government in addition to their MEPs here in Brussels. My colleagues in government share my fight to end this unnecessary bureaucracy and they are doing all they can to make sure the EU council raises this issue and addresses it for once and for all. This is where a single seat can finally be decided and Strasbourg brought to an end.
I have signed the single seat pledge here: https://www.change.org/p/stop-the-traveling-circus-of-the-european-parliament-between-brussels-and-strasbourg. To see videos regarding this please go to https://www.youtube.com/user/SingleSeatEU/videos