News about a Single Seat

The Single Seat campaign began after the Lisbon Treaty gave increased powers and responsibilities to the European Parliament. This meant a significantly increased workload for MEPs, which it is difficult to complete effectively in two places of work. The media often calls this 'the travelling circus'. Below is a selection of comments:

Top story

22.07.2014

European Court of Auditors confirms that a Single Seat in Brussels would generate significant savings every year.

A Study from the Court of Auditors shows that moving the seat from Strasbourg to only Brussels could generate savings of 114 million euros a year.

The study was requested by the European Parliament in its Resolution of the 20 November 2013 on the location of the seats of European Union's Institutions (Report Fox-Häfner).

Read here the complete study  "Analysis of potential savings to the EU budget if the European Parliament centralised its operations "

18.07.2014

The Single Seat Campaign will continue in the new mandate: the first meeting of the Single Seat Steering group will be held in Strasbourg during the first plenary session in September.

Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (SE, EPP), new Chair of the Single Seat Campaign has organised the first meeting of the Single Seat Steering Group on Wednesday 17th September in the EP in Strasbourg. It will be the opportunity to present the new Single Seat Steering group and discuss the strategy and the way forward of the Single Seat Campaign for the new mandate.

03.07.2014

A recent research shows that a majority of citizens is in favour of a Single Seat of the European Parliament

02.04.14

The Single Seat campaign launched its 2014 election pledge for candidates in May's European elections. Elected Members are pledging to work for greater efficiency by demanding an end to the European Parliament's split-site arrangement between Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg, costing €180 million and 19,000 tonnes of CO2 each year. The campaign also presented the Brussels Task Force – a group of Belgian political and cultural leaders fighting to base the parliament permanently in Brussels – as well as the first ever public opinion poll on the question of parliament's seat.

27.02.14

Single Seat update: Czech President calls two-seat arrangement "crazy"

In a formal address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg [26 February], President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman opened his speech to MEPs by saying, "My European dream does not include the crazy movement of the European Parliament from Strasbourg to Brussels and contrary-wise." His comment was applauded by MEPs, who this month have been forced by treaty to meet twice in Strasbourg.

16.01.13


Voting on the European Parliament's 2015 calendar was postponed by a large show of hands on 15 January until one of the two Strasbourg sessions in February, after requests to examine the legal status of amendments, and to refer its draft calendar back to the Conference of Presidents. One, considered admissible by parliament staff, was from the EPP Group and sought to delete four of the proposed 10 one day 'mini-plenary' sessions in Brussels. Another, ruled inadmissible, was to cut Thursdays from the 12 monthly Strasbourg sessions required by Treaty.



13.01.14
The ALDE party is the first trans- European party to adopt its manifesto for the 2014 European elections. The manifesto states that  "Liberals are committed to making better use of your money by continuing to cut administrative budgets and lead the fight for a single seat for the European Parliament "(p.4). 

05.12.13


Single Seat campaign has initiated a Brussels Task Force to make the case for Brussels.The Task Force includes elected cross-party members from various levels of government, representatives of other Brussels-based EU bodies (Commission, Council, EEA, Ecosoc, Committee of the Regions), the diplomatic community, media and civil society. The Task Force is coordinated by Vice-President Isabelle Durant MEP. 

21.11.13

Single Seat update: MEPs vote to start Treaty change: Next Steps

In a significant vote in Strasbourg yesterday [Wednesday, 20 November 2013] MEPs voted
by 483 to 141 with 34 abstentions to invoke new powers gained under the Lisbon Treaty and begin the process of EU treaty change required to end the monthly shuttle between Brussels and Strasbourg.

Media and comment



The New York Times photographed large trucks loading trunks of paperwork at the Parliament's Brussels HQ, heading for a Strasbourg session

24.10.13 

Single Seat Autumn update 

Highest ever majority for a Single Seat, Single Seat report adopted in Constitutional Affairs committee adopted, Single Seat pledge launched and much more...

For German click here 

For French click here 

For Italian click here 

For Spanish click here 

For Spanish click here 

23.10.13

STOP PRESS: Highest ever majority for Single Seat 

Today the European Parliament voted on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2014. The vote saw 507 (75% of MEPs) in favour of a Single Seat and just 143 against. See the text of paragraph 90 below: 

90. Stresses that the European Parliament and the Council, in order to create long term savings in the EU budget, must address the need for a roadmap to a single seat, as stated in its previous resolutions, notably its resolutions of 23 October 2012 on the Council position on the draft general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2013- all sectionsand of 6 February 2013 on the guidelines for the 2014 budget procedure – sections other than the Commission and its decision of 10 May 2012 on discharge in respect of the implementation of the general budget of the European Union for the financial year 2010, Section I – European Parliament;

16.10.13

Single Seat pledge for 2014 elections launched at European Parliament press conference 

Members from the EPP, S&D, Green and ECR groups of the cross-party Single Seat campaign launched a Single Seat Pledge at a Press conference on Wednesday 16 October  to be signed by candidates standing for election in the May 2014 European Elections. The wording reads “If elected Member of the European Parliament in May 2014, I pledge to work for greater efficiency by demanding an end to the European Parliament's three working places arrangement, and giving it a logical Single Seat - in Brussels”. 

14.10.13 

PRESS RELEASE: Important new step towards a Single Seat for the European Parliament

Following an important vote today [Monday October 14] in the European Parliament's Constitutional Affairs committee, co-chairs of the Single Seat campaign, European Parliament Vice-Presidents Alexander Alvaro (FDP, Germany) and Edward McMillan-Scott (Liberal Democrat, UK) commented:

"Today the European Parliament's Constitutional Affairs committee adopted by 22-4 with no abstentions a report which seeks to invoke MEPs' new powers under Article 48 of the Lisbon Treaty, to propose treaty change (Rapporteurs: Ashley Fox, Gerald Häfner). The whole parliament will vote on this before the end of the year. This way MEPs can achieve what over one million citizens and a large majority of the parliament have wanted for years: a Single Seat for the European Parliament. This vote marks a crucial step in the parliament's autonomy. Reports by the Budgets committee and Petitions committee had supported the same goal, as did a plenary vote in which 78% of MEPs said that their governments should address the issue of the parliament's seat in Strasbourg.

July 2013 

EU governments voice their support for a Single Seat

Single Seat Steering Group member Edvard Kožušník (ECR, Czech Republic) has written to the leaders of all 28 EU Member States asking whether they would be willing to initiate and promote change by giving the European Parliament the right to decide its own Seat. Mr Kožušník has had positive responses from the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Croatia, among others whose positions are already known.  Single Seat will be following up on Mr Kožušník's initial contacts with EU Heads of Government by building a list of political ambassadors to take the case forward in their respective countries. 

10.07.13

Single Seat summer update: 2014 manifestos and a Single Seat, Strasbourg Myths and Facts and more...

The top Single Seat stories from the last few weeks. 

05.07.13

Single Seat calls for Single Seat in 2014 manifestos 

Single Seat has written to the EU's political parties outlining the need to put a pledge for a Single Seat in their 2014 manifestos. The letter noted that  the EU’s multi-annual framework reflects the serious economic circumstances faced across our continent, yet some governments continue to insist that the EP should have three working places, at a cost of €1.26 billion.

To read the letter click here 

01.07.13

Pro-reform MEPs welcome Croat and EU Presidency Strasbourg pledge 

MEPs campaigning for a Single Seat for the European Parliament today welcomed Croatia’s accession to the European Union and praised the Croatian Prime Minister's assurances that “Croatia supports all forms of rationalisation of activities and costs of the European Parliament,” confirming that it will “participate in any negotiations and decisions leading to an agreement” on the issue of Parliament’s Seat.

03.06.13 

The House magazine: MEPs want the right to decide when and where they meet 

MEPs and ministers are voting with their feet against historic commitments to meet in Strasbourg and Luxembourg, and instead want to focus their activities in Brussels, now the EU’s political capital.

28.05.13 

Parliament examines One Seat petition 

The European Parliament's Petitions committee examined the One Seat petition, which gained 1.27 million signatures from across Europe. 

27.05.13 

Parliament calls for right to decide location of its Seat 

The European Parliament's Constitutional Affairs committee held a hearing on the Parliament's right to decide the location of its Seat. The committee heard evidence from legal specialists in EU institutional affairs. 

23.05.13

European Voice: EU  leaders meet in Brussels while Parliament exiled in Strasbourg

A row has broken out between the European Parliament and Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, over the scheduling of European Councils.

24.04.13
Guardian: Six Ideas to save the EU: #1 Stop the Strasbourg shuttle 
It was a 10-hour round trip last Wednesday for two of the European commission's big-hitters, Olli Rehn of Finland and Viviane Reding of Luxembourg, as they made the trek to Strasbourg from Brussels to report on recent policy-making and be grilled in one of the French city's biggest buildings, the European parliament.

27.03.13
European Voice: EU Ministers cut Luxembourg sessions
It is a long-established custom of the European Union that whichever country holds the rotating presidency of the Council of Ministers will observe the legal obligation that Council meetings in April must be held in Luxembourg while doing its best to keep them to a minimum. 

07.02.13
David Milliband: The European Parliament should stop going to Strasbourg. It's common sense 
The EP should no longer travel to Strasbourg. That is common sense. Such things damage the EU's reputation and must be addressed. 

06.02.13
Parliamentary Question replied to by the British government
The Government's position on the multiple locations of the European Parliament is well known from the coalition programme for government: we are in favour of a single seat. However, any change to current arrangements would require treaty change. When the time comes to consider broader proposals for reform, tackling the waste that the two seats of the European Parliament leads to should be considered.

15.01.13
Restaurateurs, hôteliers et autres taxis strasbourgeois : à vos agendas ! On saura demain quand aura lieu la 12 e session plénière du Parlement européen 2013 : la plénière, réunie à Strasbourg cette semaine, adoptera demain midi son nouveau calendrier, comme l’y obligeait l’arrêt de la Cour européenne de justice rendu le 13 décembre dernier.

07.01.12

The ECJ's version of how the European Parliament works is rather different from the reality.

The European Court of Justice did last week what courts often do: it upheld the legal status quo. The European Union's treaty requires the European Parliament to meet 12 times a year in Strasbourg. Until member states decide otherwise, that will remain the case. The ECJ recognised that the Parliament's changes to the 2012 and 2013 calendars for plenary sessions were a sleight of hand and said that the Parliament has to change its calendar for 2013.

13.12.12
ECJ backs France on European Parliament's Strasbourg sittings: MEPs to press for treaty change for Single Seat
Today [13 December] the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in Case C-237/11 (Joined Cases C-237/11, C-238/11), France v European Parliament against MEPs' decision to reduce their Strasbourg sittings.The members of the cross-party Single Seat Steering Group said in a statement: 

“The ruling is regrettable, but we expected it. There is now a compelling case for a change to the Treaty to remove this wasteful obligation imposed by EU governments. We urge governments to respond to MEPs' recent overwhelming vote for a single seat as well as public demand. MEPs, who are facing elections in 2014,  will now examine their new powers to initiate the treaty change necessary to achieve a single seat. Meanwhile Single Seat's pro bono legal advisors are studying the full judgement."

28.11.12
The Week: How the EU could save €1.2bn: shut down Strasbourg circus
IS IT TIME the European Parliament finally gave up the expensive ritual whereby it decamps once a month from Brussels to Strasbourg, at a massive cost to taxpayers?

The question has been posed many times down the years. Now, with the contentious EU budget in mind, the suggestion comes from a source outside the EU - The Washington Post.

23.11.12
De Standaard: Het reizende circus tussen brussel en straatsburg
Terwijl de Europese leiders vanaf vandaag hun hoofden bijeen steken over de Europese meerjarenbegroting 2014-2020 op een Europese top in Brussel, zijn de Europarlementsleden in Straatsburg. Als de regeringsleiders het ernstig menen met efficiëntie en het tegengaan van geldverspilling – vooral binnen de Europese instellingen zelf – dan is de single seat voor het Europees Parlement (EP) het vertrekpunt. Het reizende circus' tussen Brussel en Straatsburg stopzetten, is waar Europese burgers en een meerderheid van het EP om vragen.

23.11.12
NRC: Bespaar miljarden, stop dat forenzen naar Straatsburg
Terwijl de Europese leiders vandaag op de top in Brussel over de Europese meerjarenbegroting 2014-2020 spreken, komt het Europees Parlement bijeen in Straatsburg. Als de regeringsleiders serieus werk willen maken van een efficiëntere besteding van Europese gelden en het tegengaan van geldverspilling – vooral binnen de Europese instellingen zelf – dan is de zogenaamde single seat voor het Europees Parlement een eerste, vanzelfsprekende stap. Inwoners van Europa en een zeer ruime meerderheid in het Parlement vragen om het stopzetten van het verhuiscircus tussen Brussel en Straatsburg.

23.11.12
Badische Zeitung: EU-Gipfel droht Verlängerung
Der liberale Abgeordnete Alexander Alvaro bereicherte die Debatte unterdessen mit einem eigenen Sparvorschlag. Wenn sich Frankreich endlich bereit erklären würde, den zweiten Parlamentssitz in Straßburg aufzugeben, könnten jährlich 1,2 Milliarden Euro gespart werden – und viele Tonnen klimaaufheizender Treibhausgase, sagte Alvaro.

22.11.12
European Voice: Stop the travelling circus 
European Voice (25 October and 31 October) has highlighted the consistent and now overwhelming demand by MEPs to have a single seat for the European Parliament, especially against the current economic backdrop. The vote on 23 October on the Parliament's own 2013 budget – when 75% of MEPs backed a single seat – means the European Council must address this issue. We have set a deadline of June 2013 for the Council to join us in elaborating a practical roadmap for reform. 

22.11.12
Financial Times: Strasbourg is one home too many  
Sir, As EU leaders meet in Brussels on November 22-23 to negotiate the EU’s budget for 2014-20, MEPs will be in Strasbourg. If governments are serious about efficiency and cutting waste – notably within the EU’s own institutions – a single seat for the European Parliament is the place to start. That is what MEPs and the public demand.

22.11.12
Der Spiegel: Europameister im Geldausgeben
Das Unbehagen über manche Mittelverschwendung treibt auch die glühendsten Europafans um. Seit Jahren ist für viele Abgeordnete der Doppelsitz der EU-Parlamente in Brüssel und Straßburg ein Ärgernis. Für einen einzigen Sitz in Brüssel kämpft mit anderen Mitstreitern von Single Seat etwa der Vizepräsident des Europaparlaments, Alexander Alvaro (FDP). "Der offizielle Sitz des Parlaments in Straßburg ist ein kostspieliger Anachronismus", schimpft der Liberale.

06.11.12
VIDEO: EU Parliament journeys from Strasbourg to Brussels 
The BBC reports on Single Seat  week and the European Parliament's travelling circus. 

31.10.12
When symbolism goes wrong
The eurozone crisis will intensify pressure for the European Parliament to leave Strasbourg

Sometimes the European Union advances at glacial pace. But at other times the institutional glaciers crack apart and melt into the oceans at a rate that would terrify all but the most adamant climate-change denier. The challenge for watchers of the European Union is to spot the deluge in the making.

26.10.12
Single Seat drive backed by government  ministers 
Three senior government ministers have thrown their weight behind moves to axe parliament's so-called "travelling circus".

Danny Alexander, the UK chief secretary to the treasury, Swedish defence minister Carl Haglund and Radoslaw Sikorski, Poland's foreign minister, have voiced support for a campaign demanding an end to the assembly's split site arrangement

25.10.12
Support for a single-seat Parliament at a new high
Members of the European Parliament have voted by the biggest-ever margin against the current arrangements that oblige the Parliament to meet in Strasbourg in addition to Brussels.

The result was greeted as a breakthrough by those campaigning for the Parliament to have a single seat because it was so one-sided, but it was condemned by the city authorities in Strasbourg.

24.10.12
Göran Färm and Anna Maria Corazza Bildt: Stop the travelling circus!
Each year, the move by the European Parliament between Brussels and Strasbourg, is costing the European taxpayers approximately 2 billion kr. Furthermore, annually 19,000 tons of carbon dioxide is released, just because of Parliament being obliged to travel to Strasbourg 12 times a year. Much of the staff move from one country to another every month, requiring duplicate computers, desks, chairs, copy machines, and so on.

Original Swedish version here 

21.10.12
Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg: European Parliament fights for the right to a Single Seat 
The European Parliament (EP) has an image problem, often being blamed for appearing remote, abstract, bureaucratic and dull. Some go one step further and call it ineffectual since it does not have the same powers national parliaments hold.

These accusations are harsh, but not completely incorrect.

30.09.12
£1bn for MEPs’ ‘travelling circus’
MORE than £1 billion of the European Union budget will be spent on the monthly commute between its headquarters in Brussels and Strasbourg in just seven years.

An internal report seen by The Sunday Times and research by MEPs reveal that it costs more than £150m a year — almost 20% of the assembly’s annual budget — to migrate 736 MEPs, their staff and other EU officials from France to Belgium and vice versa.

27.09.12
Single Seat update 
The latest vote showed support for a single seat for the European Parliament at two-to-one among MEPs (432 - 218).  They are now joined in their call by the Belgian foreign minister Didier Reynders and by prominent Group Leaders, who want a proper debate and resolution. The ‘Calendar’ cases have received an Opinion from the Advocate General of the ECJ – requiring a “dynamic interpretation of the Treaty”. Meanwhile, the EP administration is assessing the damage to the Brussels Hemicycle. 

26.09.12
Single Seat co-chair wins Parliament magazine "Outstanding Contribution" award for Single Seat campaign 
Single Seat co-chair and Vice-President of the European Parliament Edward McMillan-Scott was presented with the "Outstanding Contribution" award in the MEP 2012 awards by the Parliament magazine, in recognition of his achievements in highlighting the costs and difficulties of the European Parliament's treaty obligation to travel from Brussels to Strasbourg for its monthly plenary sessions

12.09.12
Daniel Cohn-Bendit, « pro-Bruxelles », veut un débat et un vote sur le siège du Parlement européen
Daniel Cohn-Bendit ne s’en cache pas: le Parlement européen à Strasbourg, il est contre. Ou plutôt, préfère-t-il dire, il le préférerait à 100 % à Bruxelles.

06.09.12
European Parliament Seat: ECJ Case update
Top EU Court Adviser sides with France but confirms that absence of clear rule opens way for broader view. Following an Opinion delivered by the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, campaigners seeking to end the European Parliament’s monthly four-day sessions in Strasbourg pointed to the advice that a ‘dynamic interpretation’ of the Treaty was necessary because it is unclear and out of date.

05.09.12
Edward McMillan-Scott: Support for Strasbourg Seat eroding
As the summer draws to a close, MEPs and assistants settle back into day-to-day life at the European parliament. We all begin to prepare for the laborious trek from our working base in the Belgian capital, to inaccessible Strasbourg. This anachronistic arrangement wastes some €180m every year, and 19,000 tonnes of CO2. But there are clear signs that the parliament and member states are ready to challenge the cost and inefficiency involved.

12.07.12
MEPs propose moving the European Institute of Innovation and Technology to Strasbourg 
MEPs have managed to slip one of the European Parliament’s main disputes with the Member States – the location of its seat - into the discussion about the EU’s next R&D funding programme, Horizon 2020. EU deputies are proposing to relocate the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) to Strasbourg - saying its presence could help Strasbourg become the EU’s innovation capital. This in turn would make up for the loss in prestige and the negative economic impact that a move of the European Parliament to Brussels would cause.

04.07.12
Single Seat summer update
As we move towards the summer holidays, the European Parliament is now voting  decisively in favour of a Single Seat. Ministers in the last two Council Presidencies  have made clear their support. The ‘Calendar’ cases have received an open hearing at  the ECJ. And in a poll, 75% of our staff and assistants want a Single Seat...

14.06.12
Single Seat co-chair Alexander Alvaro calls for a Single Seat
In an interview with German TV channel ZDF, Single Seat co-chair Alexander Alvaro highlighted the savings that could be made if the Parliament were to have one seat. 

31.05.12
German closure of Strasbourg consulate provokes French anger
Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries wrote to German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the closure of the German consulate in Strasbourg, highlighting the negative effect of the closure of the consulate on account of Strasbourg being the symbol of Franco-German reconciliation. 

Head of the board for Franco-German relations, Andre Bord, joined him in condemning the move. Read Bord's comments here

19.05.12
In Straßburg könnte EU Millionen sparen
Zwischen 54 und 203 Millionen Euro kostet es den europäischen Steuerzahlern, dass das EU-Parlament sowohl in Brüssel als auch in Straßburg tagt. An Ideen, wie gespart werden könnte, mangelt es nicht.

10.05.12
MEPs show strong support for Single Seat ahead of ECJ hearing
In a vote to clear the EU's budget for 2010, MEPs sent out another strong message of support for a single working location of the European Parliament. as all amendments to the 2010 EU general budget discharge calling for a single seat of the European Parliament were passed in the plenary vote on May 10th.Edward McMillan-Scott MEP and co-chair of Single Seat: 

"Today MEPs have once again made it crystal clear that the time has come for Member States to stop opposing a single seat for the European Parliament.

"It beggars belief that on the one hand, Member States want the Parliament to make substantial savings to the budget while at the same time taking it to the European Court of Justice over Parliament's decision to limit its wasteful trips to Strasbourg. 

"It is time to stop this wasteful hypocrisy on the part of national governments. I hope that the ECJ will rule in favour of MEPs cutting costs and put further pressure on Member States to give the European Parliament a single seat in Brussels."


30.04.12
The Parliament.com: Single seat: Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg
It is time to end the wasteful practice of having two working sites for the European parliament, argues Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg.

The upcoming spring not only symbolises a change in seasons but also a change in thinking and acting in the European parliament – especially when it comes to our three working places.

29.03.12
Edward McMillan-Scott MEP: Success for Single Seat campaign
MEPs today voted overwhelmingly in favour of a single seat for the European Parliament as part of their negotiating position with EU Member States on the Parliament’s budget for 2013.

UK Lib Dem MEP Edward McMillan-Scott, who co-founded and co-chairs the cross-party Single Seat campaign, said:

“Today’s vote yet again shows that a large majority of MEPs is in favour of a single seat for the European Parliament.

“Ending the travelling circus between Brussels and Strasbourg would be the single largest saving to the Parliament’s budget. It would not only reduce our annual budget by around 200 million Euros (£180) a year but also substantially cut the Parliament’s carbon footprint and reduce stress levels among staff and MEPs.

“The pressure on Member States is growing to seriously reconsider the arrangement of three places of work for the European Parliament. MEPs have repeatedly voted in favour of a single seat. Now Member States must show they are serious about savings and efficiencies and allow the Parliament to reform its antiquated working practices and arrangements.”

29.03.12
The Telegraph: Europe votes to end parliament's travelling circus 
The vote - 429 for a single seat and 184 against - is the clearest expression to date of the parliament's desire to end the "travelling circus".

Under the current arrangements, MEPs and staff travel hundreds of miles from Brussels to Strasbourg at a cost to the taxpayer of over £150 million a year.

But despite the strength of feeling, and repeated votes by MEPs to scrap the Strasbourg seat, France is blocking the move which requires unanimous support of all EU countries and a change to the European treaties.

29.03.12
The Parliament.com: MEPs vote for abolition of split site arrangement for parliament
MEPs have voted by an enormous majority for a single seat for parliament. 

They voted by 429 for and 184 against for a single seat at the mini plenary in Brussels on Thursday.

29.03.12
Public Service Europe: MEPs favour end of Strasbourg 'travelling circus'
A large majority of MEPs have voted in favour of establishing a single seat for the European Parliament and ending the so-called "travelling circus" between Brussels and Strasbourg. 

The vote passed by 429 votes to 184 and – while not legally binding – comes just days after the parliament's president, Martin Schulz, told a Swedish radio station that he also favoured a single seat. "It is not efficient to always be travelling between two locations," he said. The monthly commute from Brussels to Strasbourg is estimated to cost nearly €200m and generate 19,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

29.03.12
New Europe: The forgotten seat of the European Parliament
When speaking of the one seat campaign, most will immediately think about our monthly trips to Strasbourg. These trips require us to mobilize our staff members, office equipment, EP secretariat, translators, etc to Strasbourg for five days time, twelve times a year. The monthly sessions in Strasbourg translate to €180 million and 19,000 tonnes of CO2 each year. 

29.03.12
BBC News: Democracy Live - European Parliament
MEPs from across the political spectrum have repeated calls for the European Parliament to have just one location, during a debate on the parliament's administrative budget for 2013.

29.03.12
European Voice: An update needed for tired debate
The notion that the spoils – the right to host an EU institution – should be distributed as if they were crown jewels is outdated. In an EU of 27, the distribution of institutions is necessarily uneven. A distribution between Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg was a nod to decentralisation in 1957, but it is just inefficient centralisation once the EU spreads from Portugal to Estonia and Greece. The concentration of institutions and ancillary bodies in one place is necessary. Arguing that the Parliament should have one seat in Strasbourg works only if you also argue that the Commission, Council of Ministers and European Council should also meet in Strasbourg.

Schulz's preference for Strasbourg sits oddly with his muscular assertion that the Parliament has been more important and powerful since the Lisbon treaty. Those powers of lawmaking and scrutiny argue eloquently that the Parliament should be physically closer to the Commission and Council, not sitting in splendid isolation. To concentrate the MEPs in Strasbourg would still condemn them to commuting from Strasbourg to Brussels, with all the accompanying environmental and reputational damage.

European Voice: The Travel Battle 
Many members of the European Parliament have long resented that the Parliament meets in both Strasbourg and Brussels. Even those who support Strasbourg's status are finding themselves under increased pressure to justify the environmental and financial cost to voters anxious about climate change and Europe's debt crisis. And, with debate now under way about the EU'S budget for 2014-2020, the value of the European Parliament having two seats is certain to be questioned more. 

28.02.12
Les Echos: L'Etat diminue son aide à Strasbourg capitale européenne
Les aides de l'Etat pour le maintien du statut de Strasbourg comme capitale européenne vont baisser, passant de 120 à 80 millions d'euros pour le onzième contrat triennal 2012-2014. Les collectivités devront combler le manque.

17.02.12
Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs: 
"Yesterday the European Parliament in Strasbourg voted for a more responsible budget, which also included an amendment saying that the Parliament, which currently commutes between Brussels and Strasbourg, should only have one seat. The question of where the European Parliament shall convene is stated in the EU treaty.  To change this, all Member States must agree. But the fact that the Parliament has clearly stated that commuting is a major cost for EU citizens (not to mention the environmental impact), and therefore should be abandoned, is very good."

Single Seat publishes an update as the Single Seat campaign gathers momentum.  

16.02.12
MEPs vote for Single Seat 
Voting on the Parliament's draft budget guidelines for 2013, MEPs voted to freeze the Parliament's budget until mid-2014, and yet again demanded a Single Seat in order to save money and increase efficiency. 

Co-chair of the Single Seat campaign, Edward McMillan-Scott: "The pollution, cost, inefficiency and remoteness of this travelling circus are indefensible. The 1.27 million people who signed up to the OneSeat petition in 2007, calling for the EP to be located only in Brussels, have been ignored by the EU. But Europe's public today cannot be ignored against a backdrop of economic crisis and pressing environmental concerns." 

16.02.12
The Parliament.com: EU parliament president throws weight behind single seat initiative
Parliament's new president Martin Schulz has given tacit support to a campaign calling for the scrapping of the assembly's controversial two-seat arrangement.

15.02.12
SingleSeat.eu: European Parliament's 'travelling circus' - EU citizens to be consulted
Two Vice-Presidents of the European Parliament, Edward McMillan-Scott and Alexander Alvaro, are framing an EU-wide public petition against its controversial 'travelling circus' after the new President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz (Germany, S&D) declared in a newspaper interview that he was in favour of a Single Seat. He is the first parliament president to do so in office (Simone Weil, the directly-elected parliament's first president in 1979, described her 'stupeur' at the arrangement in a 2007 book). The European Parliament is forced by EU governments to meet four days a month in Strasbourg, 400 km away from its home in Brussels. 

14.02.12
Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace: Siège du Parlement européen - La contre-offensive
Jusqu’ici les plus bruyants, les anti-Strasbourg ont maintenant un adversaire. Un rapport qui démonte les arguments contre le siège du Parlement européen sera présenté aujourd’hui. Invitation 

13.02.12
Luxemburger Wort: Martin Schulz: "Für einen Tagungsort"
President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, tells Luxemburger Wort that he wants a single seat for the Parliament. 

15.12.11
European Voice: Budgets committee aproves €38m purchase of buildings
The European Parliament's budgets committee has approved spending €38 million on the purchase of three buildings – one in Strasbourg and two in Brussels – so as to increase office space for MEPs and their staff. The money is being transferred from budget lines where funds remain unspent at the end of the year – principally MEPs' pay and allowances and the contingency reserve. The money would otherwise have been sent back to member states. This includes a €6.7m purchase of an unused building owned by the Council of Europe in Strasbourg which has been empty for two years, and will cost an additional €9.3m to renovate.

13.12.11
SingleSeat.eu: European Parliament Seat: Vice-Presidential candidates call on Schulz to show his hand
Alexander Alvaro and Edward McMillan-Scott - who were today confirmed as official liberal group candidates for Vice-President of the European Parliament and who co-chair the new Single Seat campaign - have called on Martin Schulz, the leading candidate for President of the European Parliament, to show his hand on the controversial Brussels-Strasbourg issue before the January 17 vote. Schulz has so far not supported calls to end the Parliament's two-seat arrangement.

13.12.11
SingleSeat.eu: Launch of new pamphlet, 'A Case for a Single Seat'

23-25.12.11
ELDR Resolution: A single seat for the European Parliament
The European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party covening in Palermno, Italy, calls on: The European Union to end the European Parliament'S monthly move between Brussels and Strasbourgand the Member States to amend the Lisbon Treaty to give Parliament the official right to decide on its own Seat and place of work. 

08.11.11
SingleSeat.eu: Cross-Party MEPs demand right to decide; call on candidates for European Parliament president to sign Seat pledge
A cross-party group of over 50 MEPs is seeking a formal pledge from the European Parliament's next President that he or she will actively support moves to give MEPs the right to decide where, when and how the Parliament meets. They want the new President to apply their new powers under the Lisbon Treaty to formally propose treaty amendments, with a view to ending their costly and controversial monthly four-day trek to Strasbourg from their home in Brussels

29.09.11
European Voice: €16m Strasbourg office expansion approved
A senior European Parliament panel has recommended a €16 million plan to expand office space for MEPs and staff in Strasbourg. The Parliament's bureau, which brings together the Parliament's president and 14 vice-presidents, agreed on Monday (26 September) to a plan drafted by Klaus Welle, the Parliament's secretary-general, to construct more than 200 additional offices.

28.09.11
The Parliament Magaine: MEP demands halt to parliament's new building projects
Parliament vice-president Edward McMillan-Scott has called for a spending stop for all building projects concerning parliament until a "comprehensive" analysis of the costs of all its three working places has been conducted. His call comes as parliament meets for a second time this month in Strasbourg.

27.09.11
Daily Telegraph: MEPs to spend £26m on bigger offices... to be used one day a week
The new and refurbished offices will be hundreds of miles away from Brussels, the European Parliament's main base. They will be only be occupied during the 11 annual four-day plenary sessions that are held in France. The expansion comes after MEPs voted to reduce the number of sessions held in Strasbourg, a move that has triggered legal action from France. 

26.09.11
Daily Telegraph: David Cameron 'betrayed' MEPs on Strasbourg
Conservative MEPs and MPs are furious that the Prime Minister has taken a U-turn on his previous support for a campaign by the European Parliament to reduce its monthly "travelling circus" to Strasbourg.

21.09.11
Ville et Communauté Urbaine de Strasbourg: Siège du Parlement européen à Strasbourg - Martin Schulz dément catégoriquement les propos remettant en cause Strasbourg.
Martin Schulz, Président du Groupe Socialiste et Démocrate au Parlement européen, a démenti catégoriquement les propos qui lui ont été prêtés selon lesquels « le dialogue serait ouvert » sur la question du siège de Strasbourg.

21.09.11
Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace: Le cabinet de Schulz rectifie, le site internet corrige, Strasbourg rassurée
On l'imagine facilement, il y a eu un peu d'émotion à Bruxelles, parmi les socialistes, après la publication par le site www.theparliament.com d'un article dans lequel il était écrit que Martin Schulz, président du groupe socialiste au Parlement européen, candidat à la présidence de l'assemblée en janvier prochain, était "ouvert au dialogue" sur la question du siège et donc la remise en cause du statut de Strasbourg. Le cabinet du député allemand est intervenu auprès du média en ligne qui a rectifié mercredi après-midi.

20.09.11
The Parliament Magazine: EU parliament on 'countdown for change' on Strasbourg issue
Edward McMillan-Scott was speaking on Tuesday, the day on which the deadline passes by which EU member states or institutions may intervene in the French government case in the European Court of Justice against parliament's decision to cut the time it meets in Strasbourg.

20.09.11
SingleSeat.eu: Single Seat for the European Parliament - Countdown for change
Following a year of internal research and studies by the cross-party informal Brussels-Strasbourg Seat Study Group, its Chairman has announced new initiatives to urge governments to allow MEPs to decide how to end the controversial two-seat arrangement.

28.06.11
New York Times: A Parliament on the Move Grows Costly
BRUSSELS — Moving day had arrived. On a recent Friday evening, the color-coded crates (left) were ready, some 2,500 of them stacked outside virtually every office door along the vast halls of the European Parliament complex here.

14.05.11
New York Times: France Chides Britain for Support of Parliament Move
France’s European affairs minister scolded the British government for an “unfriendly and aggressive gesture” on Friday, after Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy, Nick Clegg, backed a move to phase out the French city of Strasbourg as the seat of the European Parliament.

15.04.11
The Parliament Magazine: Cross-party MEP in new move over Strasbourg seat
An EU-wide debate on alternative uses for parliament's buildings in Strasbourg has been launched by a cross-party group of MEPs. The move comes after a vote in March to cut parliament's meetings in the Alsatian city. The French government has contested the vote as the split site arrangement was in the EU treaty. The French position was reinforced this week by Luxembourg premier Jean-Claude Juncker who also said the arrangement is "fixed in the treaty".

11.04.11
The Financial Times: Brussels to Strasbourg commute under pressure
As lawmakers and their staff came streaming out of the European Parliament in Brussels at the end of a busy week, Mike O’Brien and his crew were just starting work. Mr O’Brien, 45, supervises one of the more eccentric rituals in any government capital: the European Parliament’s monthly move from its Brussels base to its second home in the French city of Strasbourg.

17.03.11
The Parliament Magazine: Dutch government backs calls to scrap Strasbourg seat
Dutch European affairs minister Ben Knapen has said the Dutch government backs a single seat for parliament. He has also pledged to raise the issue during the ongoing debate about the EU's future budget and said the Dutch government would work with its EU partners to build support for a change to the treaty to give parliament a single seat. 

15.03.11
Wall Street Journal: France Takes Parliament to Court
EU watchers, and readers of this real estate, know that France is practically ready to go to war to defend the prolongation of Strasbourg’s status as second home of the European Parliament, no matter the costs or annoyances of sending thousands of legislators and staff down to eastern France from Brussels, for a week, 12 times a year. 

10.03.11
European Voice: Sleepless in Strasbourg?
Securing a hotel room – at a reasonable price – is a growing problem for the thousands of people who attend European Parliament sessions in Strasbourg. It is not just MEPs and Parliament staff who have to travel to the city every month. Their battle for accommodation is shared with officials from other EU institutions, diplomats from the member states and beyond, visiting dignitaries, lobbyists, and media. Nowadays, a plenary session routinely sees more than 4,000 people arrive in the city. 

14.11.10
The Sunday Times: EU to spend £850m on 'pointless extravagance' with new HQ
Giant new office complex in Luxembourg will extend to 3.1m sq ft and be inhabited by lawyers, translators and other European support staff. The European Union is spending almost £850m to replace one of its three headquarters in a project that has been condemned as “pointless extravagance”. 

Blogs, Online Media & Press Releases

Top story 

16.05.14 

The parliament’s cost and travelling circus provoke much ribald comment, some justified...And moving around does not only cost money: Edward McMillan-Scott, an MEP leading the fight for a single seat, says it puts an extra 19,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually. He notes that the buildings in Strasbourg are empty for 317 days of the year.


At the European parliament's gift shop, you can buy t-shirts proclaiming "I Love Strasbourg".

It's a lovely city. But you won't find many MEPs who love their monthly trip there.

Twelve times a year they and their staff pack up, load their luggage and paperwork on to chartered trains and make the 250-mile trip from Brussels to the parliament's sprawling complex of buildings in Strasbourg.

09.04.14 

Une nouvelle guerre des sièges européens ? « On ne veut pas de cela ! », s’empressait de préciser Isabelle Durant (Ecolo), en ouvrant les débats de la « Task Force Bruxelles siège unique » qu’elle a réunie mardi à Bruxelles.

27.02.14

Tide has turned in 'Single Seat' campaign

Edward McMillan-Scott, the ALDE MEP and European Parliament vice-president who chairs the cross-party 'Single Seat' campaign to end the EP's treaty obligation to meet in both Brussels and Strasbourg, is convinced the tide has firmly turned in the campaign's favour. He is confident the May elections will strengthen that trend.


18.02.14

Sir, We understand that President François Hollande will propose a European university in Strasbourg to Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Franco-German summit in Paris on Wednesday.

I write as chairman of the cross-party, pro-European Single Seat campaign. As you know, the European parliament is currently obliged by treaty to hold monthly four-day sessions in Strasbourg. This is opposed by 74 per cent of members of the parliament, who have asked EU governments – who currently have the final say – to allow them to choose when and where to meet. 

30.01.14

Devant des étudiants français et allemands, le président de la République a évoqué l’idée d’un «possible» campus européen qui serait bâti à Strasbourg.

27.01.14
The campaign for a Single Seat for the European Parliament is led by a cross-party steering group of 24 senior MEPs which I co.chair. It aims to give MEPs the right to choose when and where we work. 

23.01.13

The routine business of setting a schedule for future plenaries of the European Parliament has been derailed by a disagreement among MEPs over amendments to the calendar for 2015. The row last week was part of a dispute over whether the Parliament should continue to meet in two places, Strasbourg and Brussels. A plenary vote on the calendar, which was to take place on 15 January, has now been postponed to 26 February.

10.12.13

De l’air, hier, ils semblaient en manquer. Brandissant une nouvelle étude sur les effets de la pollution sur la santé, les experts réunis à Strasbourg pour la clôture de l’année européenne de l’air se montraient alarmistes.

20.11.13

BBC News: MEPs push to leave Strasbourg site with treaty change

The European Parliament has called for an EU treaty change to stop MEPs' monthly shuttle to Strasbourg in France, and instead make Brussels the parliament's permanent home.
 
20.11.13

New York Times: European Parliament votes to choose single meeting site

The European Parliament voted on Wednesday to choose a single meeting place, showing its frustration with monthly commutes between Brussels and Strasbourg, France, that are seen by many lawmakers and citizens as a colossal waste of money and an embarrassment at a time of painful austerity across the European Union.

20.11.13

EU Observer:
MEPs back Single Seat by thumping majority

Deputies backed a report by British Conservative Ashley Fox and Gerard Hafner, a German Green MEP, by 483 votes to 141 and 34 abstentions. 

16.10.13

On 14 October, the European parliament's constitutional affairs committee took a major institutional step by voting overwhelmingly for parliament to be able to decide where and when it meets. MEPs voted to adopt the key report by Ashley Fox (ECR, UK) and Gerald Häfner's (Greens/EFA, DE) by 22-4 with no abstentions.

23.10.13

C’est un serpent de mer qui resurgit régulièrement : pourquoi maintenir le Parlement européen à Strasbourg alors que toutes les autres principales institutions communautaires sont à Bruxelles, en Belgique ? Si un tel déménagement paraît logique d’un point de vue comptable, il l’est beaucoup moins pour les Strasbourgeois : ces derniers redoutent de perdre une institution qui attire des travailleurs qualifiés et des rentrées financières.

20.10.13

Centre for British Influence: Ashley Fox: Fighting for the taxpayer, Scrapping the Strasbourg circus 

The European Parliament voted last Monday to commit itself to work for changes to the EU’s treaties in order to scrap the notorious Strasbourg “travelling circus”. This is a landmark decision backing my campaign to stop the wasteful two-seat system, which sees parliamentary sittings shuttling back and forth between Belgium and France on a monthly basis.

15.10.13

Members of the European Parliament's constitutional affairs committee want to the revise the EU treaties to put an end to the monthly trek to Strasbourg.

15.10.13

A parliamentary committee adopted a report that calls on member states to abolish MEPs' monthly commute from Brussels to Strasbourg. The latest attempt to reduce the number of parliamentary seats might force the Council to discuss a treaty change.

14.10.13

Almost 1.3 million Europeans have signed an online petition calling for end to the so-called Strasbourg "travelling circus" but French- led opposition has so far blocked all attempts to scrap the arrangement.

23.04.13

Public Service Europe: Edward McMillan-Scott MEP: Taxpayers the losers from EP's Strasbourg visits 
The Single Seat campaign is 'going public' to increase pressure on EU governments to address the European Parliament's costly and polluting trips to Strasbourg, writes MEP

The supermajority of MEPs in favour of a single seat for the European Parliament – some 77 per cent – will have a significant political effect in the run-up to the euro-elections next year, even if at present it has no constitutional outcome. 

13.06.13

New Europe: MEPs press Schulz on Strasbourg costs 

A cross-party and transnational group of MEPs have written an official letter to European Parliament President Martin Schulz demanding he produce up-to-date and credible  figures on the cost of parliament's multi Seat arrangement between Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg.  

To read the letter click here

17.05.13

DNA: Siège du Parlement européen : la "task force" lancée en juin 

Le conseil municipal de Strasbourg -et probablement le conseil de CUS dans la foulée- délibérera en juin sur la création de la "task force" qui doit mener l'offensive pour un siège unique du Parlement européen à Strasbourg. C'est ce que Catherine Trautmann a annoncé ce vendredi 17 mai au Club de la presse.

13.05.13

Wall Street Journal: EU Parliament flexes its muscle 

Edward McMillan-Scott, a Parliament member from England, said that as the Parliament's stature grows, it is crucial that what is derisively called the "traveling circus" be dropped.

10.05.13

The Parliament: Single Seat tete a tete 

Joseph Daul and Edward Mcmillan-Scott go head-to-head over the thorny issue of the European parliament’s two seat arrangement.

10.05.13

The Parliament: Ashley Fox MEP: Sitting Pretty? 

The two-seat arrangement of the European parliament is an outdated relic of post-war Europe. While I accept that when Strasbourg was chosen as the official seat of parliament it was a sign of Franco-German reconciliation, 50 years later it is a symbol of everything that is wrong with the EU. It is damaging to the environment and a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.

10.05.13

The Parliament: Gerald Hafner MEP: Outdated practices? 

If the European Union is incapable of making important reforms – for more democracy, more efficiency and for saving both money and the environment – how can we expect this from member states? Parliament’s travelling circus between Brussels, Strasbourg and Luxembourg is a remnant of our history – but makes little sense for a modern and efficient parliament in the 21st century – and is certainly not sustainable.

09.05.13

Le Soir.be: Ni fierté ni plaisir à accueillir l’Europe…

Le Britannique Edward Mc

Millan-Scott est eurodéputé 

depuis près de trente ans. Aujourd’hui,

il est le principal animateur 

de la campagne Single

 

Seat (« Siège unique »), qui vise 

au regroupement de toutes les 

activités du Parlement européen 

à Bruxelles.

26.04.13

One Europe: Voices for a Single Seat are getting louder 

We all know it. The family dinner where somebody asks why the European Parliament once each month moves themselves and all their paraphernalia to a whole other town, and then back a few days later.

Explaining this behaviour can be a very hard task. So usually you end up saying something like: It is because France wants an institution in France, and they will not cave in the matter.

25.04.13 
Sean Kelly MEP backs Single Seat Campaign
Sean Kelly MEP has given his support to the Single Seat campaign, as a member of the campaign steering committee, which aims to eliminate the huge “wasteful” expense of holding European Parliament sittings in two cities, Brussels and Strasbourg.

24.03.13
Single Seat campaign moves up a gear 
Opponents of MEPs’ regular monthly plenary meetings in Strasbourg stepped up their campaign, on 23 April, and intend to make the contentious issue of Parliament’s formal seat an issue in next year’s European elections.

24.04.13
MEPs find new line of attack against Strasbourg
Upcoming elections, a changed political context, and new powers to change the EU treaty have put wind in the sails of MEPs hoping to persuade governments to drop Strasbourg as a seat for the European Parliament.

23.04.13
The Parliament.com Member states urged to 'trigger' treaty change over Strasbourg
Member states have been urged to "trigger" a treaty change paving the way for an end to parliament's two-seat arrangement.

It comes after a hearing on Tuesday was told the parliament had now "exhausted all its powers" for scrapping the split-site deal that sees it holding a monthly plenary in Strasbourg.


Lara Comi MEP tells Italian TV why the European Parliament needs a Single Seat. 

25.02.13
Liberal leaders call for a Single Seat
Liberal ministers in government and Commissioners adopted a resolution stating: "EU leaders and institutions should explore and set out priorities for EU-wide institutional reforms, including reviewing the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of existing agencies and institutions, options to move to a single seat for the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers in Brussels."

22.03.13 
Edward McMillan-Scott, Centre for British Influence: End the European Parliament's "travelling circus"
For four days each month, the European Parliament leaves its working base in Brussels, the EU’s political capital, and descends on Strasbourg, its official ‘Seat’ for debates and votes. In addition, half of the Parliament’s staff work in Luxembourg. This arrangement costs €180 million and 19,000 tonnes of C02 every year - €1.2 billion over the EU's 7 year long-term budget.

22.04.13
Single Seat for the European Parliament discussed by ALDE Group
ALDE spokesperson Neil Corlett discusses the political group's policy for a Single Seat in Brussels in advance of the Single Seat seminar 23 April. 

18.04.13 
WATCH: MEPs quizz One Seat Commissioner Malmstrom on Strasbourg 
Watch from 09:16 minutes to see Liam Aylward MEP ask why a European Citizens' Initiative on the Parliament's Seat has been blocked.

16.04.13
WATCH: Lara Comi MEP discusses Single Seat campaign 

01.04.13
Carnegie Europe April Fools': Parliament to have third Seat in Dresden 
The decision to establish a third official seat of the European Parliament (EP) in Dresden, quietly announced on Friday afternoon, when most observers and journalists had already left Brussels to head home for Easter, is a classic example of EU horse-trading. It is also epitomizes everything that is wrong with Brussels.

27.03.13 
Newshound: EP mini-sessions in the Palais du Heysel now a possibility
The 2013 April Fool's prank from the EP's internal news magazine Newshound was an article claiming that the Parliament's mini voting sessions, which cannot be held in the Brussels plenary chamber at the moment due to cracks in the ceiling, will  now be held in one of Brussels's grandest venues – the Palais de Heysel. 

Unfortunately the pro-Strasbourg camp in the Parliament did not find the prank very amusing, so the article was taken down at their behest. You can still read it here

08.02.13
Mark Demesmaeker MEP: Brusssel boven 'Stressburg'
Meer dan 90 procent van de 754 parlementsleden en hun gevolg zien het reizende EU-circus steeds minder zitten. Dit bleek begin februari vorig jaar uit een studie van de universiteit van Zürich in opdracht van de liberale Engelse politicus Edward McMillan-Scott, tevens ondervoorzitter van het Europees Parlement. 

06.02.13
Associated Press VIDEO: EU's double Parliament costs taxpayers millions 
Once a month it is moving day in Brussels. All 754 members of the European Parliament and their delegations pack up for a long trip to the other European Parliament in Strasbourg, for just four days.

07.02.13
Press ReleaseMEPs to press for Treaty change after Hollande's Strasbourg challenge
In the run-up to crucial negotiations today in Brussels [7 February 2013] on the EU's seven-year budget (2014-2020), MEPs reacted to French President Francois Hollande's support in Strasbourg this week for their two-seat arrangement, which costs an extra €180M a year. The steering group of the cross-party Single Seat campaign, whose activities have led to overwhelming support among MEPs and staff, said in a statement:

"The European Court of Justice has at last confirmed – on the 'Calendar' case – that MEPs cannot significantly control their own working arrangements, but it has also said that the way is clear for us to use our new powers to propose Treaty change.

06.02.13
Europe's costly double Parliament: a moveable beast
STRASBOURG, FRANCE — The morning high-speed train from Brussels pulled into the lonely train station of the provincial French city of Strasbourg. As the doors opened, the chaotic scramble for cabs, cars and buses heralded an extraordinary phenomenon of international politics: the European Union's "traveling circus" was back in town.

18.01.13
EP Funding for Brussels to Strasbourg Travel During Monthly Plenary
API, the International Press Association, is cooperating with the European Parliament by selecting journalists to avail of funding from the institution to travel from Brussels to Strasbourg during the monthly plenary session.

16.01.13
De Jong MEP: Stop Frans getreiter bij Europees Verhuiscircus
Het Europees Parlement heeft vandaag onder druk van het Europese Hof van Justitie een nieuwe vergaderkalender aangenomen waarbij weer 12 weken in Straatsburg vergaderd wordt. De SP heeft tegen de voorgestelde agenda gestemd.

16.01.13
WATCH: Ulrike Lunacek makes the case for a Single Seat in plenary debate on Future of Europe  

15.01.13
Leading MEP pledges to continue campaign against 'travelling circus‘
Senior MEP Rebecca Harms has pledged to continue efforts to end parliament's so-called 'travelling circus'.

03.01.13
Amalia Sartori, députée européenne: « Strasbourg, c’est comme aller en prison 
Amalia Sartori est députée européenne depuis 1999 (Parti Populaire Européen, centre droit). Tous les mois, elle se rend au Parlement européen de Strasbourg à l’occasion de la session plénière. Dans son témoignage, cette ancienne conseillère régionale du Veneto explique en partie les raisons du vote anti-Strasbourg des eurodéputés.

19.12.12
Newshound: No, Strasbourg isn't the Club Med! 
The European Parliament's in-house news service examines the range of activities happening in the Strasbourg building outside of plenary sessions, including its hosting of 54,000 visitors. 

18.12.12
Air France cancels Paris - Strasbourg flight route 
AIRFRANCE from 02 APR 13 is transferring its 4 daily Paris CDG – Strasbourg service to the SNCF train service.  

13.12.12
ECJ ruling puts impetus on EP to finally address its flawed operating arrangement
The European Court of Justice today delivered a ruling against the decision by MEPs to travel only 11 times per year to Strasbourg for plenary sessions instead of 12. The Greens expressed regret at the ruling but stressed that European Parliament needs to now address the issue more coherently and welcomed a forthcoming EP report on the seat to this end. Commenting on the situation, Greens/EFA co-presidents Dany Cohn-Bendit and Rebecca Harms said:

“Today's expected ruling puts the impetus on the EU Parliament to finally take matters into its own hands and formally raise the question of the EP's flawed operating arrangement."

20.11.12
VIDEO: UK Parliament: Private Members’ Debate: Two-seat operation of the European Parliament 
A private members' debate in the UK Parliament discussed the Parliament's multi-seat arrangement, recognising the Single Seat campaign in bringing the arrangement to an end. The Prime Minister's office said that it would welcome any proposals for treaty change to allow the Parliament to decide its own working arrangements. To read the minutes of the debate click here 

20.11.12
Politics Home Charlotte Leslie MP: Ending the Strasbourg circus
As Europe and the state of the EU dominate headlines, it’s easy to feel that Britain is alone in its frustrations over much of the functioning and democratic deficit of Europe. But we are not. Today, I’m holding a debate in parliament calling on the government to take action on a European issue supported not only by the Conservative Party, our coalition partners and the opposition, but also many other countries across Europe: the farcical two seat operation of the European Parliament, in Brussels and in Strasbourg.

08.11.12
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe vote through for Single Seat in Brussels
The Alliance of Liberal and Democrats for Europe in their 2012 Congress vote through a resolution on the EU budget which highlights: "the significant savings that could be made if the European Parliament was to have a Single Seat in Brussels." 

31.10.12
'Straatsburg is weggegooid geld'
Europa. Het halfrond van het Europees Parlement (EP) in Straatsburg keek vorige week raar op. Op tientallen zitplaatsen stond een gevouwen kartonnen stoeltje. ‘Make yourself a single seat’, luidde de boodschap, kies voor één zetel. De 754 parlementsleden willen weg uit Straatsburg, ze willen in het hart van het beleid zitten. In Brussel. Ook als de steunbalken in de raadzaal daar barsten.

29.10.12
VIDEO: EU-parlementsleden zijn duur 'verhuiscircus' beu
In tijden van crisis wil iedereen besparen. Niet alleen nationale overheden doen hun best om de kosten te drukken, ook het Europese Parlement wil overbodige uitgaven beperken. Één van die uitgaven is de maandelijkse verhuis van Brussel naar het tweede parlementsgebouw in Straatsburg. "Ergerlijk en overbodig", zeggen de Eurocraten.

26.10.12
While public spending cuts are hurting working people, governments must end the "travelling circus"
In a week when Labour MEPs voted against the EU budget, they took the lead in calling for restrained EU spending when Labour's Derek Vaughan led on a massive vote of MEPs (a majority of five to one) against continuing the "farce" where MEPs meet in both Brussels and Strasbourg.

"This week's vote sends a clear signal from a vast majority of MEPs," said Glenis Willmott MEP, Leader of the Labour MEPs in the European Parliament."The trouble is that it isn't the MEPs who decide - it's the governments.

29.10.12
Entre Strasbourg et Bruxelles, le coeur des eurodéputés ne balance plus
Jamais la lassitude à l’égard de la capitale alsacienne n’a été aussi grande dans les rangs des 754 députés européens : les déménagements incessants entre Bruxelles et Strasbourg, où les traités européens imposent qu’aient lieu douze sessions plénières, ont réduit comme peau de chagrin l’enthousiasme des derniers défenseurs de ce symbole de la réconciliation franco-allemande. Un Parlement nomade, outre ses coûts directs -3000 personnes à déplacer- et indirects –la pollution engendrée par les camions et les voitures —, cela n’existe dans aucune démocratie.

24.10.12
When two become one - the Strasbourg super-session
housands of EU officials will return to Brussels wearier than usual on Friday (26 October) but, on balance, will probably be grateful for a Parliament decision that saved them from another round-trip.

The latest act in the long-running row over the seat of the European Parliament stems from an ingenious idea backed by the assembly in March 2011 – deciding to combine two sessions into one with the result that the second session intended for September 2012 has been merged with the October session.

24.10.12
MEPs vote for treaty change to allow for a Single Seat
MEPs have voted overwhelmingly to invoke their new powers under the Lisbon treaty to propose that the 'travelling circus' is axed. 

By 615 for and 64 against, MEPs voted for a change in the treaty to allow for a single seat. 

However, MEPs say that, under Lisbon, they have the right to be given the power to decide on its place of operation.
The cross-party single seat campaign, led by MEPs Edward McMillan-Scott and Alexander Alvaro says that travelling to Strasbourg each month costs some €180m per year and 19,000 tonnes of CO2.

24.10.12
MEPs step up campaign for a Single Seat 
In moves this week on a series of budget votes, MEPs voted overwhelmingly to propose that protocol 6 of the Treaties be revised. Similar majorities affirmed the economic and environmental savings of having a single seat for the institution and urged the matter to be raised in upcoming negotiations with Member States on the future financial perspectives. 

23.10.12
Edward McMillan-Scott wants treaty change in support of Single Seat for European Parliament 
On the eve of a major seminar [Strasbourg, 24 October 1330 - 1530] on the European Parliament’s controversial monthly trek from its home in Brussels to its official ‘seat’ in Strasbourg, MEPs have voted overwhelmingly to invoke their new powers under the Lisbon Treaty to propose treaty changes.
By 615 – 64, MEPs voted for a change in the treaty to allow for a Single Seat and in a series of budget votes with similar majorities pointed out that the economic and environmental savings of such a move.

28.09.12
Euronews: Time to end the travelling circus? 
It is a symbol of post-war reconciliation. The European Parliament is built along the border of Europe's once bitterest of enemies from wars that killed millions. 

It is part of the reconciliation between France and Germany to share power as an engine behind the European Union, with Germany having the seat of the European Central bank. 

27.0912
MEPs set for showdown with Hollande over Strasbourg 
MEPs are set for a showdown with French president François Hollande over parliament's 'travelling circus' to Strasbourg.
There is speculation that Hollande will plead with members during their November plenary to give the city "another chance".

26.09.12
View form Europe with Peter Skinner: The Travelling Circus
Good work is done in Strasbourg. It just doesn’t need to be done in Strasbourg. It hasn’t been scrapped yet but pressure is building. Earlier this year the Parliament overwhelming voted (429-184) to ditch the roundtrip and over a million signatures have been collected calling for it to be ditched.

19.09.12
David Martin MEP: Travelling circus must stop 
An agreement made in Edinburgh in 1992 means that the entire European Parliament has to move once a month from Brussels to Strasbourg. This is a farce and should come to an end! European MPs have voted to bring it to an end!
It appears that French President François Hollande will plead with MEPs during their November Plenary Session to give Strasbourg another chance. If so, he risks humiliation, because opposition to the costly anachronism is now at two-to-one among MEPs – and 75 per cent of staff agrees.

17.09.12
European Parliament single seat campaign gains momentum
Ahead of the 2014 European elections, MEPs have finally broken the code of silence surrounding the wasteful 'travelling circus' to Strasbourg. As just over 600 of the 754 MEPs left Strasbourg last Thursday lunchtime - with just 76 remaining to debate and vote on human rights 'urgencies' that afternoon - planning for the next plenary session in the capital of Alsace was already underway. Now, it appears that French President François Hollande will plead with MEPs during their November session to give Strasbourg another chance. If so, he risks humiliation, because opposition to the costly anachronism is now at two-to-one among MEPs - and 75 per cent of staff agree.

13.09.12
Greens will request debate and resolution on seat issue
The Greens-EFA group wants the European Parliament to take a position on its own seat. Co-Chair Daniel Cohn-Bendit (France) announced, on 11 September, that he will request that a debate be held either during the October or November plenary sessions. The aim is to produce a resolution to put on the European Council’s table. The Greens will probably struggle to get enough support in the Conference of Group Presidents to get the topic on a plenary agenda but a last-minute modification at the opening of a session is not out of the question.

13.09.12
Court adviser objects to ‘artificial' calendar
Edward McMillan-Scott, a British Liberal who has played a leading role in the ‘single seat' campaign to put an end to the migration, said that the Court ruling might well go against the opinion. He pointed out that the opinion acknowledges that the treaty requirement to hold 12 monthly plenary sessions has not been translated into clear-cut rules, and that all salient factors, including the cost of the regular move to Strasbourg and Parliament's own opposition to it, ought to be taken into account. “I find it encouraging that the advocate-general has reflected the overwhelming argument for savings and highlighted the global incoherence of the current arrangements,” he said.

07.09.12
Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg: A cracking Parliament
Ahead of the Strasbourg session next week, I would like to share with you insights from our working conditions in the European Parliament building in Strasbourg.As a reminder, the Louise Weiss building (the main building of the Parliament) was inaugurated on 14 December, 1999.On 7 August 2008, 10% of the ceiling of the plenary chamber collapsed. Thankfully we had no meeting at the time thus no one was injured as a result.

07.09.12
Ian Hudghton MEP in Public Service Europe: Wasteful Strasbourg roadshow of MEPs must end
Each year, as August draws to a close it is 'back to school' across Europe. This is quite literally the case for children and students who return to their classes after weeks, sometimes even months, of free time. It is also the case for numerous workers in all sectors as the traditional summer holiday period comes to an end. And it equally applies to parliamentarians across the continent: the recess is over and real legislative work must recommence.

04.09.12
Edward McMillan-Scott in Euronews: "To repair two roofs is more expensive than to repair one"
Edward McMillan-Scott reacts to the news that cracks have been found in the debating chamber of Parliament's Brussels building.

02.07.12
Edward McMillan Scott in Public Service Europe: Support for 'anachronistic' Strasbourg seat eroding
Nobody doubts the historic significance of Strasbourg as a symbol of post-war reconciliation, even though memories of events 67 years ago are fading and the reunification of Europe since 1989 is of more significance to today's continent. Support for Strasbourg is eroding. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently received an angry letter from Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries over the closure of the German consulate in Strasbourg. And French President Francois Hollande's only reference to Strasbourg during his election campaign was to point to the previous government's cut of 30 per cent in its financial support to Strasbourg as the 'Capitale européenne'. 
Perhaps the surrounding austerity will allow Hollande and his colleagues to allow a more 'normal' parliament. The future should see MEPs, like their counterparts in the German parliament – who voted to move serenely from Bonn to Berlin – allowed finally to choose their meeting place.

11.05.12
Edward McMillan Scott in Public Service Europe: Stressed-out MEPs demand Single Seat in Brussels 
Members of the European Parliament are repeatedly voting by overwhelming majorities to end what was described in a front page article in The New York Times as a "travelling circus", and the European Parliament's staff also want a single seat. Voting to clear the accounts for 2010 on May 10, during a Brussels plenary session, MEPs yet again voted for a single working location. They pointed to the actual savings if the parliament had a 'single seat' - some €180M per year. And they stressed that European Union governments, while justifiably calling for austerity on the part of the EP, continue to deny it the considerable savings if it were to meet only in Brussels.  

09.05.12
Newshound: 75% of EP staff are in favour of a Single Seat 
A survey conducted by Newshound - the European Parliament's internal new service - found that 75% of EP staff  want the Parliament to have a single place of work. A record number of readers took part in the poll. 

25.04.12
Newshound: 74.2% of EP staff support Single Seat 
A poll on the European Parliament's internal news service found that 83.7% of EP staff in Brussels (4/5), 66.3% in Luxembourg (2/3) and 39.1% in Strasbourg (2/5) were in favour of a single Parliament seat.

23.04.12
Radio Free Europe: From Brussels To Strasbourg: The European Parliament's Traveling Circus
Along the corridors of European Parliament in Brussels, janitors are making their way from floor to floor, pushing trolleys loaded with black plastic trunks. It will take them five hours of work to cart some 6,000 cases down to the basement before loading them on to eight large trucks bound for Strasbourg. The black plastic trunks are essentially the mobile offices of approximately 5,000 staffers. This cycle, which repeats itself every month, has become one of the European Union's odder features.

29.03.12
EU Observer: Single EP Seat wars - It's that time of year again 
When I think of the current ‘three-seat solution’, I’m reminded of ‘Yes, Minister’ and Sir Humphrey Appleby’s withering remark that basing the EU executive inBrusselsand the Parliament in Strasbourg is “like having the House of Commons in Swindon and the Civil Service in Kettering.”
But although the de facto seat of Parliament is in Brussels, the buildings inStrasbourg can still be used well. The Council of Europe sits next door and the Louise Weiss and Churchill building could easily support European Council summits or a European University.

29.03.12
The Strasbourger: Seat For Two
The Single Seat saga continues. Just when the majority of the Members of the European Parliament seem to be in favour of abandoning Strasbourg, President Schulz launches the idea of moving the single seat to Alsace...

27.03.12
Alexander Alvaro MEP: On Seat issue, President Schulz does not speak for the house
Responding to President Schulz's announcement that he prefers Strasbourg for the permanent seat of the European Parliament, co-chair of the Single Seat campaign MEP Alexander Alvaro said: "If President Schulz wants to be able to speak out on this issue, I expect that he puts  this subject on the plenary agenda and brings about a vote on the location of Parliament's seat. I am one hundred percent certain that he will then realize that he does not represent the majority view of the House in this question. "

26.03.12
Göran Färm MEP: When will EU Ministers end the travelling circus? 
European Parliament member and newly appointed board member of the "Single Seat" Steering Group Göran Färm asks why the EU Parliament cannot decide where it meets, and notes that a Single Seat for the EP would result in the biggest saving in the EU administration. 

26.03.12
Jon Worth: Martin Schulz: One step forward and one step back on Strasbourg 
The good news: President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz seems to have confirmed his commitment to a single seat for the European Parliament in a Swedish radio interview. Problem: he wants the seat to be Strasbourg and not Brussels. While such an arrangement may be in the long term interests of Strasbourg, I am sure it is not in the long term interests of the European Parliament.

24.03.12
Europe Online Magazine: European Parliament President favours permanent base
European Parliament President Martin Schulz said he is in favour of a single location for the legislature, thus ending its lawmakers‘ regular commute between Brussels and the French city of Strasbourg. "I think we need one single seat. It not always efficient to travel between two places," Schulz told Swedish radio. 

21.03.12
Press Release: Lib Dems once again vote for a Single Seat 
Today, MEPs in the European Parliament's Budget Committee voted in favour of a  single place of work for the Parliament and once again urged Members States to end the costly travelling circus between Strasbourg and Brussels. Amendments to the European Parliament Budget guidelines from 2013 to 2020 put forward by Liberal Democrat MEPs also called for a reorganisation of Parliament's working methods and an independent evaluation of Parliament's budget in order to identify further savings. In particular, Lib Dem MEPs called for a detailed report on the cost of maintaining three places of work and the financing of the Parliament's building policy.

21.03.12
European Parliament: Parliament's 2013 budget to be frozen in real terms 
Pointing to the substantial savings that could be made by having only one work place instead of three (Brussels, Strasbourg, Luxembourg), a majority of committee members called on the Council of Ministers to act on their repeated demand that Parliament should have only one seat for members and officials. They stressed that Parliament should have the right to decide its own working arrangements, which they believe is not the case at present.

24.02.12
Coulisses de Bruxelles: Strasbourg, une histoire sans fin?
Regrouper l’ensemble des travaux du Parlement à Bruxelles est clairement la seule solution raisonnable. L’idée de faire de Strasbourg l'unique capitale parlementaire n’aurait guère de sens : en démocratie, le Parlement est toujours géographiquement situé près des autres centres de pouvoir afin de pouvoir les contrôler plus efficacement.

15.12.11
The Parliament.com: UK deputy blames 'travelling circus' for decision to quit parliament
Veteran Liberal MEP Liz Lynne has blamed the so-called 'travelling circus' for her decision to quit parliament. Lynne, a deputy for 12 years, will step down as an MEP in February. She told Parliament.com that one of the main reasons for her decision to quit was parliament's "nightmare" split site arrangement which sees it holding monthly sessions in Strasbourg.

14.12.11
Europolitics: ‘Single seat’ campaign back on the attack in Strasbourg
Alexander Alvaro and Edward McMillan-Scott, the (ALDE) MEPs who initiated the ‘Single seat’ campaign aimed at grouping all European Parliament activities at a single working place, announced, on 13 December in Strasbourg, the launch of a new information campaign targeting the general public. They plan to use a petition, in 2012, in the framework of the new procedure for popular initiatives. 

14.12.11
The Parliament.com: Schulz urged to 'show his hand' on EU parliament seat issue
German MEP Martin Schulz, the leading candidate for president of parliament, has been urged to "show his hand" on the controversial Brussels-Strasbourg issue. The S&D group leader has been told to declare where he stands on the single seat campaign before MEPs vote on the presidency on 17 January. Schulz has so far not supported calls to end parliament's two-seat arrangement

02.10.11
The Commentator: Au revoir, Strasbourg
With the eurozone in grave financial risk from very worried markets, the EU ought to take the chance to make a small but meaningful gesture by waving au revoir to Strasbourg. Yesterday morning, the Sunday papers were weighing up the likelihood of the elephant in the room -- also known as the EU – overshadowing Tory party conference.

20.09.11
Europolitics: Strasbourg schedule squeeze likely in 2012 
Following a year of internal research and studies by the cross-party informal Brussels-Strasbourg Seat Study Group, its Chairman has today announced new initiatives to urge governments to allow MEPs to decide how to end the controversial two-seat arrangement. The European Parliament’s March decision to squeeze the plenary schedule in Strasbourg could become a reality in 2012 as France’s action for annulment brought to the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) is not expected to receive a judgement before late 2012 or early 2013. 

16.06.11
Public Service Europe: Strasbourg seat faces 'death by a thousand cuts'
Even French MEPs are voting to get rid of the European Parliament's Strasbourg seat, writes Justin Stares. "I would send you the photo you are after," said the helpful technician from his office in Strasbourg, "but it is on a disk with the rest of my things, which the removal people have left in Brussels". Beyond the well documented cost – more than €200m a year – and life-threatening greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of a small island, the monthly migration of the European Parliament from Brussels to Strasbourg is above all else a hassle.

14.06.11
Public Service Europe: Hope for a single European Parliament seat
June's plenary session in Strasbourg saw what a year ago would have been a momentous event, MEPs voted to support a single seat of the European Parliament. Specifically, they voted for paragraph 127 of the Garriga Report - Multi-Annual Financial Framework - which "points to the significant savings that could be made if the EP were to have a single seat" and was supported by 353 votes, 282 against and 38 abstentions.

20.05.11
BBC News: France-UK row over Strasbourg parliament escalates
British Euro MPs want the UK government to back them in a dispute with France over the number of European Parliament sessions held in Strasbourg.

10.05.11
Europolitics: Strasbourg Seat - France announces counter-offensive
Laurent Wauquiez, French minister for European affairs, convened some 40 elected officials from his country, on 10 May at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, to mark a late but real French reaction to challenges to Strasbourg's role.

23.03.11
EU Observer: MEPs tell Buzek to seek end to Strasbourg seat
MEPs have called for a meeting with EU leaders to discuss the scrapping of the European Parliament's Strasbourg and Luxembourg seats, also opting to delay their approval of the Council of Ministers' 2009 budget until later this year. 

10.03.11
Place Lux: Strasbourg doesn't get it: this isn't personal
But what Strasbourg doesn’t get, is that the European Parliament is no longer the small, part-time consultative assembly it once was. It is a huge international Institution, with hundreds of members and thousands of staff, and many thousands more who actively follow its activities. It is as strong a political force today as the Council of Ministers. It is a full-time Parliament with real powers and real responsibilities. It wants to exercise them in the most efficient and most effective way possible, in the city where the decisions on Europe’s future are conceived and taken, Brussels. That doesn’t mean MEPs don’t like or love Strasbourg. They do. Their opposition to Strasbourg isn’t personal. It just doesn’t make sense to base today’s modern Parliament there. It would be like asking the French Assemblee Nationale to hold one week of meetings in Avignon every month – and getting half of Paris to decamp with them.

10.02.11
Financial Times Blogs: MEPs to Strasbourg: 'We'll take Brussels, thanks'
There are plenty of things to like about Strasbourg – the Christmas market, the soaring cathedral and the ambient spirit of Franco-German reconciliation. But you might not want to visit the place 12 times a year. 

10.02.11
The Parliament.com: New report brands EU parliament's Strasbourg seat as 'bad for health'
A major new report has condemned parliament's single seat arrangement, calling it "wasteful and bad" for the environment and health of staff. The 50-page report, published in parliament on Thursday, says the monthly commute to Strasbourg, the so-called "travelling circus", calls for MEPs to mobilise support for a treaty change. This, it says, would enable the 30-year arrangement to be scrapped so that parliament has just one seat, Brussels.
In a vote in Strasbourg, they pointed to the "economic and environmental savings" of such a move.

The seat of parliament can currently only be changed via an agreement by unanimity in the council.

 

But his likely appearance before deputies is expected to trigger a major protest against French opposition to an end to parliament's split site arrangement.

"I am in favour of Strasbourg because I think the seat of the European Parliament is Strasbourg," he added.


15.12.12
Pakkomatkat tulevat kalliiksi EU:lle
Eu­roo­pan tuo­mio­is­tuin aset­tui tors­tai­na tu­ke­maan Rans­kaa pää­tök­sel­lään, jo­ka kos­ki Eu­roo­pan par­la­men­tin kah­ta is­tun­to­paik­kaa. Tuo­mio­is­tuin mi­tä­töi par­la­men­tin maa­lis­kuus­sa 2011 te­ke­män pää­tök­sen yh­dis­tää kak­si eril­lis­tä is­tun­toa yh­del­le vii­kol­le lo­ka­kuus­sa 2012 ja 2013. Par­la­me.