One of the topics you might be interested in when looking at the options you have at the European Parliamentary Elections in May 2014 is what is your chosen party’s position on the Single Seat issue. What is this issue and does it affect you directly, you could learn from the few contemplations below — or even better — by watching our today’s live webcast from the European Parliament.
The Single Seat issue may not sound primary at first hearing, but it becomes more intriguing when discussed in figures. It defines the destiny of more than ten percent of the parliament’s entire annual budget- about 180 million euro — and ensures a contribution of 19,000 tons CO2 emissions each year. The last two (and some more) accompanied by serious doubts for their necessity.
What comes into question is the present practice of the European Parliament to hold plenary sessions at both Brussels and Strasbourg. The Strasbourg ones happen once a month and are a legal obligation ensuing from the early EU treaties. The custom has been employed to ensure the democratic basis of the European Union. How relevant is it in the present context of the EU, however?
One week of every month 750 members of the European Parliament(EP), thousands of staff and also trucks of materials and papers have to travel down to Strasbourg and back by plane, train or car.This is in order to spend one working week at Strasburg’s Parliamentary building. During the rest of the month, the same buildings stay empty but still air-conditioned and lit.
A few factors which have changed since the idea of a double seat was justified: 21 more states joined the EU, the European Parliament gained new lawmaking powers, the financial crisis set in. Presently, the question of separation of powers among member states looks “a bit” more complicated and requires maybe a more inventive, up-to-date solution; one that doesn’t involve such costs. It somehow makes sense the Parliament, being given already a more active role by the Lisbon Treaty, to share the same location with the other key EU institutions. Yet, ‘thank you, Strasbourg, and goodbye’ is not something that could work.
If you want to learn about the path which needs to be walked in order the single seat to become a fact, watch our live webcast form the European Parliament today. You will have the chance to hear the opinion of the initiators of the Single Seat campaign, as well as the one of experts from important companies as Burson-Marsteller and SidleyAustin LLP. You will also be able to get to know the positions of some of the European Parliamentary groups on the issue and maybe choose to vote for their members at the 2014 elections, in case they represent your vision on the matter.
Click HERE to watch the live webcast. We begin at 12:45 CET