French European Affairs Minister Laurent Wauquiez announced in an email to the press that his country would seize the Court of Justice of the European Union over the vote on 9 March, which rubber-stamped plans to merge two plenary sessions into the same October week in both 2012 and 2013 (see 'Calendar of the part-sessions for 2012' and 'Calendar of the part-sessions for 2013').
France claims that MEPs disregarded Protocol No. 6 on the location of the seats of the EU's institutions.
The protocol annexed to the Lisbon Treaty states that Strasbourg is an official seat of the European Parliament and 12 four-day plenary sessions per year must take place there, including the budgetary session.
With the Lisbon Treaty granting more power to the European Parliament, merging two sessions in a single week would have a negative impact on the effective functioning of parliamentary work, France argues.
Guaranteed by the EU treaties, the seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg is the concrete representation of a Europe close to its citizens and a Europe proud of its symbols, Wauquiez insists in his message.
Continuous travelling between Strasbourg (the European Parliament's official seat) and Brussels (its de facto seat) has long been a bone of contention among MEPs (see 'Background').
The vote on 9 March saw 357 MEPs vote in favour of the move, while 253 voted against amid 40 abstentions.
Marjory Van Den Broeke, head of the Parliament's press unit, told EurActiv that for the time being, the EU assembly was waiting for the France's declared intention to actually materialise. Only then will the Parliament's legal services follow up, she added.