Published: Wed, 28 October 2015
MEP for Ireland-South, Seán Kelly, has welcomed a vote today in the European Parliament calling for a single Parliamentary seat in place of the current system that is shared between Brussels and Strasbourg.
Addressing fellow MEPs in Strasbourg today, Mr. Kelly, the leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament, praised the outcome of the vote adding that he hopes that serious discussions will now happen in order to begin the process of eliminating what he called an “unacceptable waste of tax payers’ money”.
“Obliging everyone to travel to Strasbourg every month is a huge drain on public resources. Transporting MEPs, assistants, parliament staff and others to Strasbourg is hugely expensive and is estimated to cost around €180 million each year to the European taxpayer”
“Additionally, I personally need to travel 13 hours to get from my home to the Parliament building in Strasbourg. As an elected representative, I am certain that this time could be used in ways much more beneficial for the public that elected me; I’m sure my colleagues around the EU are of the same opinion.”
“Since my election as MEP in 2009 I have been extremely vocal in my view that this is money wasted that could be used for an infinite number of more important purposes. I am delighted today to see that a resounding majority of MEPs agree with me.”
Today’s Parliamentary vote saw a majority of 522 to 128 in favour of a move to a single seat. The current two-seat situation in which up to 10,000 people are required to travel 12 times every year from Brussels to Strasbourg is extremely unpopular with a number of MEPs and today’s vote is the latest in a number of calls from Parliament for the system to be abolished.
Kerry MEP Kelly, who has been appointed as a Parliament representative for December’s COP21 Paris Climate Conference, stressed that the economic benefits of a single seat are matched by the environmental ones:
“In Parliament we often call for reduced carbon emissions, and for action on Climate Change; yet there is a clear elephant in the room every time we have such a discussion. We as an institution have a huge carbon footprint. Having a single seat would save almost 19,000 tonnes of CO2 every year by getting rid of this huge monthly logistical effort.”
“As we approach the Paris Climate Conference, I call on the French government to begin serious negotiations on working towards a single seat, be it in Brussels or Strasbourg. We need to show that we are serious about tackling emissions and a single seat would be seen as a significant statement of intent from the French government and the European Parliament.”