Friday, December 20, 2013


This palatial edifice is the European Parliament building in Strasbourg.    Once a month, on a Friday afternoon, about 30 trucks leave Brussels to make the 270-mile journey to Strasbourg.   The fleet carries over 4,000 trunks full of office documents for Members of the European Parliament, along with officials and interpreters.   This monthly circus generates over 20,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions, but by EU treaty law the Parliament must sit for four days a month in Strasbourg (except August when the whole thing shuts down anyway), which means that the Parliament buildings, which cost close on £500million to build not that long ago, are  unoccupied for something like 300 days a year.

The costs involved with maintaining this daft arrangement are huge - and all borne by the taxpayer of course.   It`s estimated that the monthly removals cost about £170million a year;  then there is the £12million a year spent on maintaining the buildings, never mind the travel costs for the 766 Members, the staff and assorted entourage.  And there`s an interesting statistic associated with all of that, which is that when the MEPs are sitting in Strasbourg the bill for a three-night stay in the Hilton hotel is £700 each, whereas when the MEPs are not in town, the same hotel bill is reduced by 60% to £300.   

Now, any sensible organisation, faced with this kind of expenditure especially in difficult economic times, would do the obvious thing and simply stop doing it and retreat to the EU `Headquarters` in Brussels.   Trouble is, we`re dealing with the EU here and so France is very likely to veto a move to do just that, claiming that the seat in Strasbourg `represents Franco-German reconciliation after the Second World War.`   The French Ambassador to the EU has declared that, "France will defend Strasbourg very strongly and I urge you not to engage in polemics that will damage Europe`s standing.  That would play into the hands of the Eurosceptics."

Well he`s not wrong, but here`s a suggestion to enable France to insist on maintaining its precious pose as a `founding nation` of the EU......make them pay the costs of maintaining this nonsensical arrangement, because the vast majority of delegates to the EU all think it`s high time this vast expense and inefficiency was brought to a swift end. 

Encore !!

1 comment:

Ray Turner said...

I completely agree, again...