Monday, 9 March 2009


On the coach from Frankfurt airport to Strasbourg, a 2.5 hour section of a 7 hour journey from home to the European Parliament's second building - or is it our first one?

This will, I think, be my 113th journey to Strasbourg since my election nearly 10 years ago. My heart sinks at the thought that we are due to have 4 sessions in the city over the next 8 weeks. Normally we are here for a 4-day period only once per month but the EU treaty requires the Parliament to meet in Strasbourg 12 times a year. The dissolution period caused by the elections in June means that we have to cram in extra sessions now - not that there is any extra business to be done.

The real working home of the Parliament is in Brussels, and many of us complain that we are locked into performing in this ridiculous and expensive travelling circus only because of the weakness of governments to stand up to France, and the 'national honour' associated with having the Parliament meet in that country.

But in truth MEPs have failed to make their own wishes abundantly clear. It's a divisive issue and the party leaders are good at keeping it off the agenda. Reformers must press for a set piece debate and vote on the issue after the elections.

No comments: