European Parliament amends its calendar and saves millions

9 March 2011

European Parliament amends its calendar and saves millions

The European Parliament today reduced the number of meetings it will hold in Strasbourg over the next 18 months, eliminating a session this coming autumn and a further session a year later. As SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong explains, this simple change to the Parliament’s calendar will save taxpayers money. ‘This adjustment the Parliament will save € 2,500,000,’ he says, ‘a good start in getting rid of the whole monthly circus of removal.’

The SP has always been a fierce opponent of the wasteful business of moving the entire European Parliament between Brussels and Strasbourg each month at the cost to the taxpayer of at least €200 million annually. Recently, the party made a number of constructive suggestions as to how the circus might be brought to an end. Together with MEPs from every member state Dennis de Jong backed proposals to reduce the usual twelve Strasbourg meetings a year to eleven, by the simple expedient of fitting two sessions into a single week, saving at least €2.5 million annually.

In the end only the member states themselves have the power to bring the circus to a halt. In order to overcome intractable opposition from France, the SP has suggested that other international organisations might move to Strasbourg. “The European Court of Justice, currently based in Luxembourg, would be a logical candidate, given that the European Court of Human Rights is based there already,” says De Jong. Past suggestions from the SP include the construction of the new NATO headquarters, planned for Brussels, in the Alsatian city instead.

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