Poll reveals 89% of MEPs want end to ‘travelling circus’

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A large majority of MEPs wish to end the monthly ‘travelling circus’ between Brussels and Strasbourg, and have called for a single-seat European Parliament, when polled by a group of fellow MEPs. 

Furthermore, according to the poll, 84% said that Parliament should have the right to decide on its own seat, and 81% wanted that seat to be in Brussels. These figures were subsequently made available to MEPs and European press.

CPR said that Parliament’s administration attempted to conceal the potentially uncomfortable information from fellow MEPs, following similar accusations made last year that the same EP internal news service had been rebuked by the administration for asking a similar question online, in a poll that was open to members and staff.

The poll comes in conjunction with a European Parliament Bureau decision to commission a ‘Carbon Footprint’ study to measure the Parliament’s carbon-dioxide emissions, with a view to reducing them significantly.  

On 18 June 2007, the Parliament’s  Bureau approved the environmental actions taken so far, decided to commission a carbon footprint study and also approve a list of “key actions” and environmental objectives, including more economical use of water, a reduction in paper use, as well as efficient transport and awareness-raising. The EP Secretariat was requested to establish a detailed action plan and create a working group to follow CO2 emissions.

CPR Chairman Alexander Alvaro (FDP/ALDE)  said: "Each deputy had a chance to voice his real opinion on the multiple seats of the Parliament, without paying heed to neighbourhood politics in this sensitive issue. This is a representative result." Concerning suggestions that the poll results were initially suppressed, he added: "It is hard to believe that the Parliament's administration should not allow its own internal news service to report on the initiative of a group of members. It isn't as if subversive material was about to be published, but is simply about reporting on the free expression of members' opinions." Alvaro indicated that CPR would "investigate this matter further".

Concerning suggestions that the upcoming 'Carbon Footprint' study would not include MEPs' monthly journey to Strasbourg, a DG Information spokesperson told EURACTIV: "It is not true that the monthly travel of Parliament to Strasbourg will not be taken into account. The study will be performed by an outside company, which will be selected by means of a public tender, and it will research CO2 emissions. No restrictions will be imposed."

According to Campaign for Parliament Reform's (CPR) Alexander Alvaro, the chairman of the 130-strong group of MEPs, the poll was conducted anonymously among 785 of his Parliamentary colleagues. 

CPR distributed 785 ballot sheets in total for the poll, and 306 were returned, representing a 39% participation rate from MEPs. Despite CPR receiving seven blank ballots and not all respondents answering every question, 299 MEPs gave an opinion concerning the two seats. 284 gave an opinion concerning the location of the EP and 286 gave an opinion if the EP should decide itself where to be located. 

  • March 2008: European Parliament 'Carbon Footprint' study results expected.

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