Knowing how much politicians like a freebie, it’s a miracle that it has taken this long for an MEP to come off side and start a campaign to rebuff the ‘One-seat’ campaign, because the benefits are clear: every session henceforth spent in Strasbourg will be like one long party.
Such is the case for Brigitte Fouré, founder of the ‘One City‘ campaign to retain Strasbourg as home of the European Parliament, who must surely now be looking forward to free meals, drinks and theatre tickets from the grateful citizens of Strasbourg, who know which side of their bread is buttered.
Just as soon as they finish fixing the roof of course.
Seriously though, and less cynically perhaps, I am glad that at least one politician is not afraid to demonstrate her belief that the founding fathers of Europe made the right choice, and that the current quarrel is the result of a number of things for which the people of Strasbourg should not be punished.
The ‘circus’ would not be such an issue if:
- there were better/faster direct transport links between Strasbourg and Brussels
- MEPs learned to operate a paperless office – which would eliminate the need to transport truck-loads of paperwork across the continent; (it would also free up a lot of office space in Brussels)
- MEPs learned, like the rest of us, to use teleconferencing and video conferencing facilities, skype, PDAs/blackberry’s, mobile phones and (god forbid) their own laptops .. then the actual location of the occasional face-to-face meeting would not be that important
- the ‘second seat’ had never been built
The oneseat campaign claims that it would save 200m a year by eliminating Strasbourg from the calendar. Returning to my cynical self, however, I would bet my arse that (if they succeeded) most of that 200m would get swallowed up in fat pay rises for everyone.
So I say – leave it as is, if anything 200m is a small price to pay to remind that bunch of whingers, who lets face it have it pretty cushy most of the time, that democracy and diplomacy often result in compromise.