21st Jan 2022

Top MEP lends name to anti-Strasbourg campaign

Martin Schulz, head of the Socialists in the European Parliament, has spoken out against the parliament seat in Strasbourg.

In a letter to head of the parliament Josep Borrell, Mr Schulz proposes that the parliament asks EU leaders to re-consider having two seats for the EU assembly.

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The letter describes the "practical difficulties" of the system, which sees MEPs, their assistants and lorry loads of documents decamp to the Alsatian capital once a month – a journey of about five hours by train from Brussels.

It is the first time a parliament group leader has spoken out against the two-parliament system, which can only be changed by unanimous agreement among EU member states.

Other more long term campaigners against Strasbourg have been quick to welcome him into their camp.

"[Member states] cannot ignore calls for efficiency and transparency forever. I hope Mr Borrell takes Mr Schulz's suggestion to heart," said Swedish liberal MEP Cecilia Malmström, a founding member of an anti-Strasbourg group, the Campaign for Parliament Reform.

Alexander Alvaro, German liberal MEP and current chair of the CPR, said he "commended" Mr Schulz's move.

The debate about the Strasbourg seat, which has been rumbling on for years, was given a boost last week when it was revealed that Strasbourg city may have overcharged the parliament for rent by up to €2.7 million a year for the last 25 years.

Strasbourg's position as one of the official seats of the European Parliament has been enshrined in the EU treaty since 1992 with the monthly trek estimated to cost around €200 million a year.

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