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France clings to the Travelling Circus

Tuesday, 15th March 2011

The European Parliament's "Travelling Circus" -- twelve trips from Brussels to Strasbourg every year at a cost to tax-payers of 200 million --has been widely condemned as wasteful. Last month, the parliament voted to telescope two such visits into a single week. This would be a small step to save money, reducing Strasburg from twelve to eleven weeks a year.

But now France's Europe Minister, worried about the impact on the hoteliers and restaurateurs of the Alsatian city, has announced he will challenge the parliament's decision in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer has condemned the French decision, saying:

"France has made a serious error in challenging this decision. It was the overwhelming will of the European Parliament, right across the political spectrum, to cut down on the number of journeys that we make between Brussels and Strasbourg.

"France needs to realise that it is fighting a futile battle. The significant support in the parliament for reducing our time in Strasbourg is backed up by even stronger support among our voters. Whichever way the court case goes, we will continue to look for further measures to reduce this wasteful travel between Brussels and Strasbourg. In times of fiscal austerity, we cannot tolerate this pointless expenditure."