Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Parliament clings to Strasbourg

MEP Ville Itälä is a brave man. In his report on "discharge in respect of the implementation of the European Union general budget for the financial year 2009" regarding the European Parliament, he proposed that the European Parliament

  • Takes note of the budgetary constraints many Member States face as a result of the financial and economic crisis and the need to critically review potential savings at all levels including at Union level; in light of this situation, stresses that real savings could be achieved if Parliament only had one workplace in the same location as the other Union institutions; indeed, in the report of the Secretary-General on Parliament's preliminary draft estimates for 2011, the estimated annual cost arising from the geographical dispersion of Parliament has been estimated at around EUR 160 000 000, accounting for about 9% of Parliament's total budget; draws the attention to the fact that currently the decision to change this situation - and to make some EUR 160 000 000 of savings annually as well as to considerably lessen Parliament's carbon footprint - lies exclusively with the European Council (Member States); calls on the President of the European Parliament and on the Members who are negotiating the Union budget on behalf of the Parliament, to suggest to the European Council that they make it possible for the Union to make these savings. 
  • Also points to the reply given by the Secretary-General to the discharge questionnaire, according to which the two sessions held in Brussels instead of Strasbourg in September 2008, due to the repair of the ceiling in the Strasbourg hemicycle, resulted in savings estimated at some EUR 2 500 000 ;

To suggest to the Member States the idea of scrapping Strasbourg was too much to ask from the European Parliament. In the version that MEPs adopted on Monday 9 May 2011, it only says that the European Parliament
  • Takes note of the budgetary constraints many Member States face as a result of the financial and economic crisis and the need to critically review potential savings at all levels including at Union level; in light of this situation, stresses that real savings could be achieved if Parliament only had one workplace in a single location.

Thanks to Eva for making me aware of the vote.  

Update (13/07/2011): Now it seems as though a majority of MEPs wanted to axe trips to Strasbourg.

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