EU plenary sessions in Brussels must be the rule

All MEPs, their staff, EU officials and documents must endure a monthly travel from Brussels to Strasbourg. Moreover, the costs of the “travel circus” costs taxpayers around €200 million a year.

During the 2008 summer break, part of the ceiling of the Strasbourg hemicycle collapsed. Obviously, such an event has brought about renewed calls to abandon the Strasbourg seat. Due to the reconstruction work, the first two plenary sessions after the summer recess took place in Brussels rather than Strasbourg. Obviously, such news has been welcomed by the majority of the MEPs, assistants and parliamentary officials. This was an excellent opportunity to realise how much money could be saved if the European Parliament seat was located just in Brussels. In fact, it has been estimated that the European Parliament has already saved around €4 million by having two plenary sessions in Brussels.

The EUobserver reports today: "Travel and accommodation savings of nearly €2 million were made in 2008 when MEPs were forced to relocate to Brussels due to a collapsed ceiling in the European Parliament's Strasbourg plenary chamber, according to documents published this month."  Moreover, "Parliament's secretariat estimates that the additional cost involved in dividing the legislature's political business between Brussels and Strasbourg amounts to about €10 million for each of the 12 main plenary sessions per year, the September 2008 savings being curtailed due to its last-minute nature."

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