Events so far in the campaign for a Single Seat
European Parliament Votes
The Single Seat campaign began after the introduction of the Lisbon Treaty. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have repeatedly and consistently voted for a Single Seat for the European Parliament.
A supermajority of MEPs – 78% – have urged governments to revise the issue of the parliament’s official ‘Seat’ – Strasbourg. This is a majority in all of the parliament’s political groups.
EU budget 2013: Voting on the EU’s budget, 78% of MEPs specifically urged governments to revise the issue of the parliament’s official ‘Seat’ – Strasbourg. 74% demanded that EU governments deliver a Roadmap towards a Single Seat. These important votes represent a majority of MEPs in all political groups and from all EU countries except France and Luxembourg.
To see how your MEP voted in these two votes click here.
The ‘Calendar’ vote: on 9 March 2011, the European Parliament voted by a secret ballot to merge two Strasbourg sessions into a single week in October 2012 and October 2013. France and Luxembourg contested this decision in the EU Court of Justice. The court ruled that the decision was contrary to the existing EU treaty, but suggested that the European Parliament should use its new powers to propose treaty change. This is now under way.
Single Seat events
23 April 2013:
‘A Roadmap towards a Single Seat: Countdown to the 2014 European elections’
Public Hearing in the European Parliament, Brussels.
Event materials: Event video; Press conference video; Video statements: Green/EFA co-President Daniel Cohn-Bendit; UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Former EU commissioner Margot Wallstrom; President of Austrian Institute for International Affairs and former Austrian Secretary of State Casper Einem; Coordinator of South-Eastern Cooperative Initiative and former Vice-Chancellor of Austria Dr Erhard Busek.
24 October 2012:
‘Towards 2014: A Single Seat and the European Parliament elections’
Seminar organised by the Single Seat campaign in Strasbourg
Event materials: Event video; Video statements: Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radek Sikorski; UK Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander; Finnish Defence Minister Carl Haglund. Presentations: Votewatch, Sidley Austin LLP, Burson Marsteller; Seminar video; Media coverage; Seminar photos; MEP photo pledge.
Reports about the Seat issue
The most comprehensive analysis of the issues raised by the multi-seat European Parliament is the February 2011 report for the cross-party Brussels-Strasbourg Seat Study Group of MEPs: ‘A Tale of Two Cities: The political, financial, environmental and social impact of the European Parliament’s ‘two-seat’ arrangement.’ Click here
The most recent analysis, in June 2012, of the additional cost of Luxembourg and Strasbourg (some €180 million a year, including depreciation on buildings) can be found in a report by the European Parliament’s administration to its Bureau (President and Vice-Presidents) and its Budget Committee: click here (p 7-12)
A 2002 report on the three places of places of work by the European Parliament’s administration was a more comprehensive analysis, but pre-dated enlargement of the EU: click here
MEPs have repeatedly asked for up-to date and consistent figures on the financial, environmental and social costs of the multi-seat arrangement. See votes here.
Brussels is a candidate for the 2015 European Green Capital award.
Green MEPs Caroline Lucas and Jean Lambert commissioned an analysis from independent consultants in 2007: European Parliament two-seat operation: Environmental costs, transport & energy
Green MEP Monica Frassoni: For a more (energy) efficient parliament
An online petition organised by the OneSeat campaign has had 1.27 million signatures from EU citizens since 2007 who want a Single Seat of the European Parliament in Brussels. European Parliament President Martin Schulz confirmed in 2012 that the petition remains valid and will be examined by the Parliament’s Petitions committee.
A 2010 analysis by Belgian academics compared a number of European cities as to their fitness as an EU capital (diplomatic representation, population etc) Brussels Studies: ‘Brussels, capital of Europe: a sustainable choice?’
The co-chairs of the Single Seat campaign, European Parliament Vice-Presidents Edward McMillan-Scott and Alexander Alvaro, prepared an analysis in 2011 on the European Parliament’s capacity for self-determination for a seminar: The autonomy of the European Parliament after Lisbon
Former MEPs Nick Clegg (now UK Deputy Prime Minister) and Michiel Van Hulten (now Managing Director of Votewatch) wrote a pamhlet in 2003 for London’s Foreign Policy Centre: Reforming the European Parliament (p.6)
Former MEP Lousewies van der Laan wrote a pamphlet in 2003 for the Centre for European Reform: ‘The case for a stronger European Parliament’ (p.29)
The European Parliament contributes about €20 million a year to the city of Strasbourg, whereas the Council of Europe, based permanently in the city since 1949, contributes about €177 million, says a study by French firm Enterprises et Development Regional (EDR): read press report here
Many argue that there should be an examination of alternatives for the European Parliament’s Strasbourg buildings. The Brussels-Strasbourg Seat Study Group of senior MEPs prepared a discussion paper: Strasbourg: Is there life after the European Parliament?
The Secretary-General of the European Parliament, Klaus Welle, has authored a comprehensive analysis of the parliament’s future arrangements. He says clearly:
“The issue of three places of work for the EP, a situation that comes with environmental, social and symbolic costs in a period of scarce resource, cannot remain a taboo for the political leadership of the Institution.”
See page 230 of the report ‘Preparing for complexity European Parliament in 2025: The Answers’