When it comes to the Strasbourg seat of the European Parliament it’s silly season all year round (not just in August). This time it’s news that 80m2 of the roof inside the plenary chamber of the Strasbourg building has fallen in – although no-one was inside at the time. Have a look at the video below, and there are news reports in German from nachrichten.at and Tagespiegel. Jan has more on his blog.

So the building has been hit by Legionnaires Disease, part of the roof has fallen in, and the City of Strasbourg has also been inflating the rental price of the building. And that’s before you even get onto the issue of going to Strasbourg full stop – something I’ve posted about previously.

If you haven’t done so sign the petition at Oneseat.eu to abolish the Strasbourg seat of the EP!


  1. Anders Ekberg


    You forgot to say that over the years, the city of Strasbourg has been skinning of the top op the rent. That is why the price seems low.

    Everyone knows that the arguments for keeping Strasbourg are weak, to say the least.

    Next week, the MEPs can finally have a session where they are supposed to take place…

  2. @Valery:

    hang on a minute:

    you forget to say that the owner of the Parliament’s buildings (the SERS) sold them to the city of Strasbourg in 2003 for 101 million euro, which in turn sold the buildings to the Parliament in 2004 for… 72 million euro! That means that the City of Strasbourg lost 29 million euro in the transaction!!!!

    But obviously, you need to distort the truth (or at least refer to PART of the truth only) in order to find convincing arguments against the seat of the European Parliament.

    Which probably tells a lot about the whole Brussels-centralisation enterprise…

  3. From the BBC news article : “The mayor of Strasbourg has said the extra payment is a form of insurance, in case the European Parliament should ever move away from the city.”

    This is priceless : they actually want to make the EP pay because many of its members are actually willing to save some money from being wasted. How is this an argument for Strasbourg ?

    @quarsan : the problem is there is absolutely no way to deal with the issue of the petition as long as the rule of unanimity is maintained within the treaties. To expect every member state to agree on some decisions is both unefficient and undemocratic. Every move to reduce the field of unanimity such as the Lisbon treaty is a progress that must enter quickly into force.

  4. Anders Ekberg

    To “enough mith the lies”

    Do you honestly believe that the legal service decision was not a political one?? How naive can you be??

  5. Tim, for someone who is supposed to have a few brain cells can you never do any better than that? You sound like an old record and the recording gets more and more scratched and messy every time it’s played.

  6. “It’s a shame, because if Oneseat was put to a referendum this farce and waste of taxpayers money would be finally stopped.”

    As an increasing number of us say about the EU itself of course.

  7. Justin

    Oh I don’t know, there are some MEPs whose performance would be improved if they were struck on the head by falling roof tiles…

  8. Oh how I wish that would happen and they didn’t go. But everyone chickened out a few years back when there was Legionnaire’s Disease in the pipes and you could make a good argument for the building being unsafe, so don’t bank on it happening this time.

    Now the best thing would be if some more of the roof collapsed during a session… That would really force the issue. Just enough to prove the point, but not enough to knock out any MEPs.

  9. Well if they cannot fix rhe place before September2, then the Parliament I guess will meet in Brussels anyhow, which may force the issue. I can hear the whine of disgruntled MEPs now.

    “But I have already pre-booked my hotel/Flight/taxi/entertainment…waaah!”

    Of course the way in which the Parliament could leave Strasbourg would be just not to go one month. If a quorum just refused to make the trek what would the Council do? Take them all to court?

  10. enough mith the lies

    the petition committee made a political decision. It is blocked by the Presidents because the Legal Service of the Parliament gave has been giving negative opinions about this petition ever since it was launched. I can send you the documents.

  11. Anders Ekberg

    The Oneseat-petition has been acknowledged by the EPs petitions committee and now it is just Pöttering and his gang of Presidents of the groups that are stalling by asking all the governments for permission. Now, that is a scandal!

  12. I must say I’m not altogether in agreement with the exact technical implementation of Oneseat.eu but even 50% of the number of the signatures would be a reasonable number, and there’s much more of a groundswell of support against Strasbourg than there is in favour of it!

  13. enough mith the lies

    The collapse of the European Parliament’s ceiling seems to be presented as being the result of wrongdoings in the initial building works. And what if it were a malicious act? According to internal sources in the European Parliament, circumstantial evidence may lead to such a conclusion:

    – a harness was found in the remains of the ceiling, indicating that somebody might have been there at the time of the accident, which prompted the EP services to call the firemen

    – the Parliament lodged an official complaint with Strasbourg Prosecutor, so as to open an investigation against an unidentified person. Why?

    – A non-accidental origin of the accident could explain the media black-out imposed by the Parliament since Thursday August 7th, almost a week before the information leaked in the media.

    For some time now, the anti-Strasbourg side has stepped up their mobilisation (http://www.oneseat.eu/, http://www.ep-reform.eu/) to centralise in Brussels all Parliament activities, supported by a phoney petition which does not meet the representativeness criteria to be presented to the EP.

    Several organisations that favour the full-time presence of the Parliament in Strasbourg (http://www.onecity.eu/, http://www.democratieeuropeenne.eu/, Stras-invest: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=67088285211&ref=nf) have since been organising the counterattack. Besides, the EP Strasbourg seat is enshrined in European treaties, and there is no foreseeable prospect of this obstacle being removed. In this context, would it be silly to imagine that some anti-Strasbourg hard-liners could seek by all means possible to discredit the Parliament’s seat and force it to seat in Brussels?

    Just look at who benefits from the crime!

  14. enough mith the lies

    So far, the Parliament Legal Services have consistently rejected the petition to be brought forward to the petition committee, on the grounds that it did not meet the necessary conditions (including real name and adress of the signatories). So whether this website has 100, 1 million, or one billion signatories does not make a single difference.

    On the reasons of the collapse, I’m just pointing at clues that have not been made public by the Parliament but which are worth knowing. You never know what some stupid extremist can be ready to do… But investigations will tell. Oh, by the way, similar investigations have also been decided in Brussels…

  15. Sorry, are you insinuating that those opposed to Strasbourg actually were responsible for bringing the roof down? Let’s wait and see shall we – I would be astounded if it was that. Anyone would be a fool to try to sabotage the Strasbourg buildings – enough things go wrong there without anyone causing additional problems.

    While you’re at it was the Legionnaire’s Disease in the pipes a few years ago also as a result of those of use who think Strasbourg is a bad idea too?

    I’m very happy to see that a decent online petition with almost 1.3 million signatures – Oneseat.eu – is doing so well, and the one in favour of keeping Strasbourg is still not online.

    Plus the small resources spent on that are dwarfed by the amounts of public money wasted by the travelling circus each year, and by initiatives like Stras’Invest.

    In short I reckon you’re really deluded. Get out of Strasbourg’s institutional mentality for a while – it will do you good.

  16. I signed the Oneseat petition a long time ago, as did many others. I think the lack of attention paid to this initiative speaks volumes about the EU’s lack of interest in what Europeans want.

    It’s a shame, because if Oneseat was put to a referendum this farce and waste of taxpayers money would be finally stopped.

  17. that’s how I understood it 😉

  18. Well, strictly speaking the suspended ceiling is part of the structure that constitutes the roof, so it’s not as if the title was untrue. And anyway, anything I can do to attract people’s attention to the madness of Strasbourg… 🙂

  19. of course, it’d have been less dramatic, though closer to reality… But you’re not a journalist, are you? 😉

  20. Well, yes, I know… But ‘Suspended ceiling falls in on the European Parliament’ did not have such a pleasant ring to it!

  21. Oh, and by the way, Jon, it’s not the roof that collapsed, just a part of the suspended ceiling…

  22. Communiqué
    Roland RIES assure le Parlement européen de son soutien pour une remise en état rapide de l’hémicycle

    Strasbourg, le 12/08/2008

    Informé du dégât qui s’est produit dans l’hémicycle du Parlement européen, le maire Roland RIES est rentré de congés pour se rendre compte sur place de la situation. Il a tenu à assurer les autorités du Parlement du plein soutien de la Ville et de sa disponibilité pour les assister.
    Roland RIES a tenu informé les responsables des groupes politiques du Conseil municipal, ainsi que les Présidents du Conseil général et du Conseil régional. Il a, par ailleurs, eu un entretien téléphonique avec le Secrétaire d’Etat en charge des Affaires Européennes Jean-Pierre JOUYET, afin de coordonner l’action de la Ville et de l’Etat dans ce dossier.
    Les services de la Ville sont pleinement associés aux réunions techniques du Parlement européen. Par ailleurs, afin de permettre à la société en charge des travaux dans l’hémicycle de les réaliser dans les meilleurs délais, la CUS a proposé de revoir le programme de ses propres chantiers avec cette entreprise.
    Roland RIES a déclaré : « Nous sommes confiants dans la capacité du Parlement à faire face à cet incident. Nos services sont mobilisés pour l’aider à organiser comme prévu les sessions plénières de septembre. »


    Press release
    Strasbourg Mayor Roland RIES expresses his full support for a swift reinstatement of the EP hemicycle

    Strasbourg, 12/08/2008

    Informed of the damage that occurred in the European Parliament’s hemicycle, Mayor Roland RIES cut short his holidays to assess the situation on the spot. He expressed to the Parliament’s authorities the full support of the City and his availability to assist them.
    Roland RIES also had a phone discussion with the French State Secretary for European Affairs, in order to coordinate the action of both City and State on this issue.
    The City’s administrative services have been fully associated to the technical meetings in the European Parliament. Besides, in order to enable the company in charge of the works in the hemicycle to carry them out as soon as possible, Strasbourg Urban Community proposed to review the programme of its own public works with this company.
    Roland RIES declared: “We are satisfied the Parliament will be able to cope with this incident. Our services have been mobilised to help it organise the September plenary sessions as scheduled.”

  23. Thomas R-L

    In the meantime, it fell on the right and the extreme-right of the chamber. A sign maybe?

  24. Providence has made one prediction of anti-Europeans come true: The roof has caved in on EU level democracy – in a minor way.

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