East Midlands Conservative MEP Emma McClarkin has this week thrown her support behind a new campaign to stop the European Parliament travelling to Strasbourg once a month.
Most of the European Parliament’s work is done at its huge complex of offices and debating chambers in Brussels, but once a month 754 MEPs, 3,000 staff and 25 trucks carrying documents and equipment all decamp to Strasbourg in France.
The wasteful trek costs £160 million a year and needlessly pumps 20,000 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.
Miss McClarkin has previously supported campaigns for reducing the travel between the two seats, and is backing the new ‘Single Seat’ campaign to stop the travel to Strasbourg altogether.
The Constitutional Affairs committee is now considering the ‘Report on the Seat of the EU institutions’, which sets out to use Parliament’s new right to propose Treaty change to enable MEPs to decide when and where they meet.
Pressure to keep the monthly – and costly – travelling circus to Strasbourg comes mainly from French MEPs, who have tabled a number of amendments which repeat myths about having a seat in Strasbourg, in a blatant attempt to stop their country losing out on the money poured into the French economy every time the Parliament comes to town.
Indeed, so worried are they by the new threat, the French Government has invested €50,000 in a Strasbourg-based lobby group to oppose the Single Seat campaign.
Miss McClarkin said:
“I’ve long campaigned for the ridiculous and costly trips to Strasbourg to stop, so I’m delighted to support this campaign, which has already been supported by over 1.27 million EU citizens who have signed a petition calling for a single seat.
“Everyone in the East Midlands who speaks to me about this cannot believe the waste of money, and wonders why we can’t just stop it. I want to reassure people that I am doing everything in my power to put an end to it!
“People sometimes say to me that European elections don’t matter, but it is issues such as this that show they really do matter, and how people vote has a direct impact on who represents them and how issues such as this are decided.”