MEPs to hold second plenary in Brussels
04.09.08 @ 09:09
BRUSSELS - The European Parliament's top administrative body - the bureau - on Wednesday (3 September) recommended MEPs hold a second unusual meeting in Brussels following the ceiling collapse in Strasbourg.
The recommendation - to be rubber-stamped by political group leaders today - will see members stay in Brussels for the 22 September plenary as well, after already missing one Strasbourg session at the start of the month.
The move comes as safety assessments and certification drag out in the Strasbourg building. A 10-tonne, wedge-shaped portion of the ceiling fell down in the main debating chamber as it stood empty in August.
The parliament's 785 MEPs do most of their work in Brussels. But the EU treaty obliges them to meet in the French city 12 times a year, in a perambulation costing €200 million and emitting 20,000 tonnes of CO2.
British eurosceptic MEPs poked fun at the situation by wearing hard-hats to the first extraordinary Brussels session this week. A previous online petition to scrap Strasbourg gathered 1.2 million signatures but was ignored by EU member states.
"If the ceiling had collapsed during plenary, it would have hit mostly some eurosceptics, some far-right members and European Commission people [according to the Strasbourg seat allocation]," one parliament official said.