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European Parliament to axe Strasbourg gatherings to cut energy costs?

The European Parliament holds its meetings in Brussels and Strasbourg.  The monthly trip involving MEPs and their staff has been the butt of criticism for many years but with the new energy crisis a plan to keep parliament in Brussels at least for the winter is gaining more and more support.

The German Christian democrat Peter Liese is proposing that in order to save energy the European Parliament should only meet in Brussels this winter. Liese points to the need to heat two buildings and all the energy wasted on trips.

Belgian MEPs are enthusiastic.  Flemish Christian democrat Tom Vandekendelaere says he’s been frustrated for years by the impossibility of axing the Strasbourg gatherings.  Flemish liberal Hilde Vautmans points to a temporary decision only to meet in Brussels during the pandemic: “To abolish the Strasbourg gatherings altogether you will require the support of France and that won’t be easy” she adds.

The decision to award plenary meetings to Strasbourg dates from a compromise in 1997.  Any change will require a modification of the Treaty of Amsterdam.

There’s little danger the parliament will decide to up sticks in Brussels and move permanently to Strasbourg: European lawmaker Bas Eickhout: “That wouldn’t be logical.  The parliament keeps tabs on the European commission and that is based in Brussels”.

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