Why MEPs will keep going to Strasbourg – forever


This article was first published on the Online EU Training blog


200 million euros spent per year while the EU budgets are in crisis. Normal? Certainly. Thousands of EU officials, including all Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), their assitants, EP staff, 27 European Commissioners, their staff, desk officers from Commission DGs and hundreds of lobbyists commute to Strasbourg for 4 days each month of the year (sometimes even twice). Costing millions, causing CO2 emissions and travel time to meet with the very same people they could meet in Brussels, when will this monthly exodus end? Never.

Politically correct commentators recite the French position: as the seat of EU institutions is decided by unanimity, France, whose tourism gets an incredible boost 12 times a year (all hotels fully booked in Strasbourg and also in the neighbouring areas).

Also, it’s a great prestige to have one of the main institutions “officially” in their country, though de facto 25 days its seat is in Brussels. Despite 1,266,872 (over 1 million!) signatures to leave Strasbourg behind (see the above link), there is no sign of change, even when great alternatives have been invented.

But insiders claim that the real reason is because MEPs indeed like it: isn’t it great to leave all troubles behind for a few days and go for a business trip each month? For some, this means hard work, long negotiations and tough decisions, while for others this means a bit of chill, relax and recharge. While being on a “field trip” can focus energies and attention, it can also lead to the temptation to turn off (or on) a bit.

We dare not take any position in this debate, we just wish there was a debate on the (EP’s) position.

(Thanks to UKMix for image)

(Image credit: musically.com)


Posted in Online EU Training

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