European Parliament

Strasbourg’s EU capital status in question

Published on 29 October 2012 at 14:05

"MEPs want no more of Strasbourg," writes Libération. During EU budget talks on October 23 the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly – 518 votes for, 149 against and 33 abstentions – on an amendment calling for a single headquarters in Brussels, where all their work should be brought under one roof. This, the newspaper notes, is an “escalation in the guerilla warfare” being waged by MEPs who oppose splitting parliamentary work between the two cities as set out in European treaties, which provide for twelve plenary sessions annually to be held in the Alsatian capital —

Instead of coming for two weeks in October, they have decided to make two mini-sessions of two days with an interruption on Wednesday to mark the break… The French authorities failed to appreciate the manoeuvre (decided on in 2011) and have brought the Parliament before the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The court has not yet ruled, but is expected to back France’s claim.

Libération believes nonetheless that “Paris cannot continue to block the regrouping indefinitely." The MEPs, who accuse Strasbourg mainly of being too far from anywhere and devoid of sufficient hotel facilities, are coming up with lots of ideas to find “alternatives to avoid harming” the city, such as creating an elite European university, shifting the ECJ (now in Luxembourg) there, or repatriating Europol (currently in the Hague).

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