Today the European Parliament marked another step towards having one seat by transferring all its activities in Strasbourg to its building in Brussels.
Currently under the Treaties all plenary votes must take place in Strasbourg meaning that once a month there is a big trip for MEP’s staff and lots of paper from Brussels to Strasbourg.
Under two reports today the Parliament took a stance and pushed for the European Parliament to have one seat. The first set of votes was on the “General budget of the European Union for the financial year 2013 – all sections0” (A7-0311/2012) a report by Giovanni LA VIA (EPP/IT) and Derek VAUGHAN (S&D/UK) a number of sections were passed calling for one seat. They results were as follows according to SingleSeat.eu: (Note RCV stands for Roll Call Vote)
86. Believes that, like every directly elected parliament, the European Parliament should have the right to decide on its own seat and working place arrangements; CARRIED by show of hands
87. Declares, therefore, that Parliament’s seat and places of work for Members and officials should be decided upon by Parliament itself; CARRIED by show of hands
88. Urges the two arms of the budgetary authority (the Council and Parliament), in order to make financial savings and to promote a more sustainable climate- and environmentally friendly solution, to raise the issue of a single seat and Parliament’s working places for Members and officials in the upcoming negotiations on the next MFF for 2014-2020; SPLIT: 1 Recorded Vote by name (RCV) 698: +604, -75, 19 abstentions); 2 RCV (693: +510, -143, 40 abstentions)
89. Urges the Member States to revise the issue of Parliament’s seat and working places in the next revision of the Treaty by amending Protocol 6; SPLIT: 1 RCV (698: +615, -64, 19 abstentions); 2 RCV (689: +532, -122, 2 abstentions)
90. In the meantime, calls on the Council to start elaborating a road-map with the Parliament towards a single seat and a more efficient use of Parliament’s working places, taking into account specific up-to-date figures detailing the cost of each place of work and working conditions for staff, as well as economic, societal and environmental factors – to be presented in a report by 30 June 2013; RCV (700: +518, -149, 33 abstentions)
91. Suggests that the agreement between the Luxembourg authorities and Parliament on the number of staff to be present in Luxembourg should be revised, taking into account a revision of Parliament’s needs; EPP: +634, -306; CARRIED
It is interesting to note that the Parliament is also taking issue with the presence of some of its staff in Luxembourg and wants to move them to Brussels also.
The second vote was on “Multiannual financial framework for the years 2014-2020” a report by Reimer BÖGE (EPP/DE) and Ivailo KALFIN (S&D/BG). This report had a roll call vote on the following section:
50. Points to the significant savings that could be made if the European Parliament were to have a single seat; urges the budgetary authority to raise this issue in the negotiations on the next MFF 2014-2020;
It was passed 452 in favour, 180 against and 40 abstentions.
All the votes above prove that the majority of MEPs want to abandon the sittings in Strasbourg and it is interesting to note that this is happening during a the case that France has brought against the European Parliament at the European Court of Justice on having two of sittings in one week.
This will hopefully make Council of the European Union take notice and start to take action and try and convince France to give up on tying to hang on to the Parliament and allow it to hold it’s meetings where the member’s decide!
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