What's New
Speeches & Articles
Newsletter - Mar 2012
Contact Information
Photo Album
Parliamentary Highlights
MEPs' Transparency

The Freedom Association
Visit the
Freedom Association

MEPs call for European Parliament to have just one seat

Wednesday, 8th June 2011

In a significant vote today in the European Parliament, MEPs, including East Midlands Conservative MEP Roger Helmer, have overwhelmingly called for the institution to end its monthly relocation between Brussels and Strasbourg, which costs around 200 million Euros and emits around 20,000 tonnes of CO2.

The vote was a ray of sunshine in an otherwise abysmal report on the next seven year EU budget, which was adopted by MEPs this lunchtime. The EPP group in the parliament had sought to delete the call for the parliament to have a single seat but their amendment was defeated by 353 votes to 282 with 38 abstentions.

The large margin in the vote is further evidence that MEPs are becoming increasingly hostile to the nicknamed 'travelling circus'. During a vote on the European Parliament's calendars for 2012 and 2013 in March, amendments by the British Conservative Delegation were passed which merge the two sessions in October into one week. This means that MEPs will still fulfil their treaty obligations to hold 12 sessions in Strasbourg, whilst only having to make 11 trips backwards and forwards. The groundbreaking amendment, which received support from factions right across the chamber, will save EU taxpayers 15 Million Euros and prevent 1600 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being needlessly emitted. It is currently being challenged in the European Court of Justice by the French and Luxembourg governments.

Mr Helmer said:

"In a report that called for a five percent increase in the EU budget and EU taxes, this section calling for one seat is one of only a few with which I can wholeheartedly agree.

"MEPs can reduce the number of journeys that we make but only national governments can change the EU's treaties. These negotiations offer the parliament a golden opportunity and ending Strasbourg should be its top priority. If we can achieve that then maybe we can restore some of the lost faith that our electors have in the EU and in the European Parliament."