Thursday

13th Aug 2020

MEPs to shift back to Strasbourg next month

  • The hemicycle - a room where a potential 785 MEPs sit to agree legislation - was declared safe (Photo: European Parliament)

The European Parliament's next plenary session will be held in Strasbourg, after the ceiling that collapsed in August has been repaired, costing almost twice as much as expected.

The decision was taken on Monday (22 September) by the parliament's president Hans-Gert Poettering and its 14 vice-presidents after the hemicycle - a room where a potential 785 MEPs sit to agree legislation - was declared safe in a technical report.

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According to Gerard Onesta, the vice-president in charge of the parliament's buildings, the total costs to repair some 10 tonnes of collapsed material have reached €6.5million, AFP writes.

However, most of the costs would be covered by insurance, he added.

The summer incident has once again prompted renewed calls to scrap the Strasbourg seat and the so-called "travelling circus," which sees some five thousand people as well as 20 tonnes of documents make the monthly trek.

Estimates suggest the set-up costs around €200 million a year overall, while the parliament has directly saved between €3 and 4 million by temporarily holding two plenary sessions in Brussels.

The EU treaty clearly states that EU lawmakers are obliged to meet 12 times a year in the Alsatian capital however, with supporters of the parliament's French seat saying it is a symbol of Franco-German reconciliation after World War II.

Any decision to change to parliament seat would have to be agreed by all 27 member states, including France.

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