Ashley Fox launches Whitehall petition to end Strasbourg farce
Posted, September 21, 2012 @ 10:00
Campaigning MEP Ashley Fox has launched an e-petition to end theridiculous "travelling circus" that sees the European Parliament shuttling backand forth between Brussels and Strasbourg on a monthly basis.
The South West Conservative MEP is leading a drive to end the wastefultrek, which costs taxpayers millions of pounds and needlessly pumps tonnes ofcarbon into the atmosphere.
Today he said: "This wasteful madness has to stop. However, there arepowerful vested interests wanting to keep the whole costly farce going.Therefore we need our own Government to take action. That is why I have launchedthis petition."
Most of the European Parliament's work is done at its huge complex ofoffices and debating chambers in Brussels, but once a month 754 MEPs, 3,000staff and 25 trucks carrying documents and equipment all decamp to Strasbourg inFrance.
MrFox's e-petition - at www.stopthestrasbourgcircus.com - aims to persuadethe UK Government to intervene on this key issue by pressing the EuropeanCouncil to ditch the dual-seat farce. Earlier this year the European Parliamentvoted by 429 MEPs to 184 to call for a single seat. There is vocal and growingmajority in the Parliament to stop the yoyo travel schedule - but that will needa treaty change.
Such a move would require a unanimous decision of the European Council -the gathering of leaders from all the EU member states.
Said Mr Fox: "We need the British Government to table a proposaldemanding a change in European law to allow us to meet in only oneplace."
Last year Ashley Fox gave his name to the so-called Fox Amendment whichhe successfully saw through the Parliament. It reduced the number of trips toStrasbourg this year from 12 to 11 by amending the diary to put two separateplenary sessions into one week in October.
However, both France and Luxembourg - foremost among the "vestedinterests" mentioned earlier - have appealed to the European Court of Justice tohave even this small reform overturned as "unlawful".
The European Parliament is the only assembly in the world that cannotdecide where it sits. The financial cost of the two-seat system stands at €200ma year. With 20,000 tonnes of CO2 being pumped needlessly into the atmosphereevery year.
MrFox stressed: "I have not met a single, ordinary member of the public who canunderstand why this ridiculous situation ever came about in the first place,still less why we can't just stop it.
"Now those citizens can do themselves a favour by logging onto thepetition and sending a clear message to Whitehall, as well as to Brussels, thatenough is enough."