Once a month the European Parliament moves from Brussels to Strasbourg to meet there instead. Whether you prefer to look at it from an economic, an environmental, or just a plain common sense perspective, this is madness.
Strasbourg is a lovely city, and it has a beautiful cathedral and many fine restaurants. I can wholeheartedly recommend going there if you are taking a holiday in Europe. But this is no excuse for this senseless waste of time, money, and energy.
Stop the flying circus now, and let the Eurpean Parliament have its seat permanently in Brussels!
There have been many initiatives to put an end to this over the years. Swedish former MEP and present commissioner Cecilia Malmström (Liberal) took an initiative to collect over 1 million signatures from European citizens demanding a change. Other people from other party groups have tried as well on various occasions.
So far all attempts have failed, because the French government has stubbornly refused to even discuss amending the EU Treaties in this respect. But this is no excuse for giving up.
Palais de l’Elysée
55, rue du faubourg Saint-Honor6
Strasbourg, 10 March 2010
Dear Mr. President,
Exactly a year ago I kindly asked you how the European Union is to maintain the confidence, of the hundreds of millions it represents, if it cannot adopt a single seat for the European Parliament.
In your reply of 9 April 2009 your Head of Cabinet, Mr Goubet, refers to the historic dimension of the Strasbourg seat. Obviously, and like others, I am not ignorant of the history of Europe. The fact is however that the Strasbourg seat was once a very positive symbol, reuniting France and Germany, but has now become a negative symbol of wasting money and bureaucracy.
I am convinced that this moment of (financial) crisis is actually a time for expanding aspirations and thus meeting the expectations of the European taxpayers. The two seats cannot be justified another day. The eyes of many Europeans are upon us waiting for us to lead.
Mr. President, let us seize this occasion with both hands. I do look forward to receiving your reply at your earliest convenience.
Member of the European Parliament
She will be sending a similar letter to the President of the European Council Mr. Rompuy, and has invited other members of the European Parliament to co-sign it.
I have answered that I will be delighted to do so. I hope other members will as well.
Strictly speaking, this issue is of course outside the Pirate Party platform of safeguarding civil liberties in the digital age, and seeking reform of the intellectual property system.
But we also said during our election campaign that we would apply common sense in the European Parliament, and not support things that are obviously completely bonkers.
If the Strasbourg flying circus does not fall under that heading, I don’t know what does.
Although I may not think that this particular initiative will be any more successful than its predecessors, we must at least try.
Now I am off to the Strasbourg airport, to see if they have managed to keep it open today despite the fact that we had a three centimeters of snow this morning.
As you can see, I am a true optimist by heart, even when I should know better. 🙂