THE EU DEBATE: Strasbourg's 'flying circus'

'Flying circus': The EU Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

'Flying circus': The EU Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

First published in News Kidderminster Shuttle: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

THE European Parliament plenary – or full – sessions take place in Strasbourg 12 times a year.

EU members are legally bound to meet at the building in France for part-sessions, lasting four days. It has been described as a “flying circus” and members have argued Parliament should run from one site, in Brussels.

The cost of the Strasbourg Parliament is about €200 million (£167 million) and has an environmental impact equivalent to flying a jet across the Atlantic 13,000 times.

The building itself is huge. Words like “plush” and “extravagant” were quoted when The Shuttle covered the opening of Wyre Forest District Council’s new headquarters but this makes Wyre Forest House look like a garden shed.

Like Wyre Forest House, however, it is full of controversy.

Strasbourg is difficult to access and members admit there is nothing they do at that Parliament they could not do in Brussels.

Any treaty changes, however, must be ratified by all 27 member states.

West Midlands Labour MEP, Michael Cashman, said, however: “If this Parliament was in Edinburgh, the United Kingdom would not want to get rid of it. France will not give it up unless they get something in return."

Conservative Philip Bradbourn is part of a “single-site campaign” but admitted giving it up would be unlikely. UKIP member Mike Nattrass said the building was “typical of the waste that exists in the EU”.

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