Irrespective of the energy crisis, the head of the European Parliament is sticking to the idea of having the EU Parliament shuttle between Brussels and Strasbourg. In a letter to Green MP Daniel Freund, President Roberta Metsola rejected calls for the time-consuming back and forth to be ended.
Unlike at the peak of the corona pandemic, one is not in a situation in which one has to hold the conferences "due to extraordinary and unforeseeable circumstances" in the sense of the rules of procedure in Brussels or from afar, according to the letter from the Germans press agency is available. She will continue to ensure that Parliament works in accordance with the EU treaties and "recognizes its presence in Strasbourg as an important symbol of European integration". Freund had asked Metsola about four weeks ago to forego the monthly commute during the energy crisis.
In her letter, Metsola now refers to increased efforts by Parliament to save energy. The responsible body has already discussed "a series of short, medium and long-term measures". Short-term steps include reducing the temperature of heating in Parliament buildings by one degree and increasing that of air conditioning by one degree. Lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning should be adjusted outside of office hours. Parliament is also examining how it can reduce its CO2 emissions for the trip to Strasbourg.
Friend these steps do not go far enough. "In the current energy crisis, it's not enough to turn the thermostat down one degree," he told dpa. "All of Europe is being forced into massive austerity measures to reduce dependence on Russian energy." Parliament should not act half-heartedly. "A stop of the traveling circus to Strasbourg would now be a strong sign."
The back and forth has been debated for years. Parliament's headquarters are in Strasbourg. In the French city, MEPs meet for twelve plenary sessions a year. All other meetings, including those of the committees, are in Brussels, Belgium. France in particular insists on the seat in Strasbourg, which is stipulated in the EU treaties. That's why a convoy with thousands of employees and tons of files travels to Alsace on a regular basis. The EU states could only decide unanimously on a change.