Strasbourg and TGV

MEPs are having a whinge that a French rail strike is going to make it hard for them to get from Strasbourg when this week’s European Parliament plenary session ends. Struan Stevenson, a UK Tory, has complained that France doesn’t exactly make it easy for European Parliamentarians to get to and from Strasbourg. True – even with the LGV-Est it’s not Europe’s easiest city to get to. But Green MEP Dany Cohn Bendit correctly replied that all citizens should have the right to strike.

So how about this as an idea: why don’t those MEPs that dislike Strasbourg so much just refuse to go? Make it impossible for majorities to be achieved in plenary sessions. The EP had its chance a few years ago when Legionnaires Disease was found in the Strasbourg building (so working there was dangerous) but they chickened out. The Greens have also highlighted the CO2 emissions from the Strasbourg sessions yet there’s no proper debate about the dual-seat arrangement for the EP.

Want to abolish the Strasbourg seat of the EP? Join the more than 1 million that signed the petition!

[UPDATE, 22.5.08]
More from Anders Ekberg in Swedish at Europabloggen (rough machine translation here). Which also makes me think: how about a UK version of Europabloggen? Or would it just get too nasty?


  1. Jon,

    You are way too modest.

  2. Jon,

    Europabloggen in Sweden needs a dozen bloggers to post as much as you achieve on your own.

    Sadly, the active and valuable Europa-Nytt resource for news and comment in Swedish had to draw the curtain due to lack of finance. A real pity.

  3. Yes, but each of those people at Europabloggen has a greater degree of individual credibility than I do… So however much I post I can’t make up for that.

  4. Sorry Wolfgang, but your position – and especially as you’re a Green candidate – is wrong and impractical.

    In what other political systems anywhere (federal ones including Germany) are the legislative powers split between multiple places? To make the codecision process work properly you have to have physical meetings between Commission, Council and Parliament, so it’s better if they are all together. If they are not you’ll have everyone travelling around all the time, and plenty of inconveniences and CO2 emissions from that.

    Now, decentralisation of the institutions is OK in principle, and indeed some executive powers could be decentralised from Brussels. But there’s no way the EP should be based somewhere other than where the Council and Commission are based.

  5. As someone who is currently campaigning for a place on the list of his party this year – to get a seat in Strassburg in the elections next June – I’d like to turn the argument around:

    If leaving Strassburg is too much effort at the end of the plenary week, just stay. If there is one seat for the EP one day, instead of the current three, it’s a non sequitur to assume that one seat has to be Brussels.

    For to long to many Europeans have been looking at Brussels and what they saw just confirmed that ‘those in Brussels’, the ‘Eurocrats’ have lost touch with the common people and also lost moste pretense at democracy.

    A strengthened European Parliament located ABB (anywhere but Brussels) could be a place of hope for Europeans longing for more democracy, a place to look up to, instead of a place to loathe. (Not that I loathe Brussels or would loathe going there, mind you, I’ve been there and liked it, but then I’m a Green europhile.)

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