One Seat

London MEP rejects legal opinion on Strasbourg ‘travelling circus’



London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford has rejected the advisory opinion of EU court’s top legal adviser (‘Advocate-General’) who wants judges to reject MEPs’ bid to reduce the number of European Parliament sessions in Strasbourg.


EU states must support end to 'travelling circus'

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford has joined a majority of MEPs in again demanding a single workplace for Euro-MPs instead of the absurd trek between Brussels and Strasbourg that they are currently condemned to because of decisions by the 27 EU governments.

MEPs made the call during a vote on the EU's spending in 2010. A single seat for the European Parliament in Brussels would save around £145 million (€180 million) a year on the EU budget. 

EU budget proposals

Dear Editor,

The European Commission's recent proposal for the EU's budget in 2013 is out of touch and unacceptable. London taxpayers cannot afford to help finance a 6.8% increase on the 2012 level of spending.

The vast majority (94%) of EU budget spending is in fact on the ground in the 27 member countries, not on administrative costs in Brussels. The national governments need to engage with Euro-MPs in a serious effort to cut spending, not least on the Common Agricultural Policy.

Campaigns supported by Sarah

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MEPs must set lead on savings

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford has welcomed a vote by Euro-MPs on the European Parliament’s 2013 budget but called for even more Brussels belt-tightening.

In a first stage before further negotiations with the other EU institutions, MEPs backed savings of 9.3 million Euros (£7.8m) in order to achieve a real terms freeze in the Parliament's budget for next year, rising only in line with the rate of inflation of 1.9%.

Sarah Ludford commented:

"In times of economic hardship and national austerity measures, the whole European Parliament must tighten its belt. This certainly means freezing MEP allowances, capping travel expenditure and cutting planned funding for political parties as a first step."

MEPs vote for thrift and single seat

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford has welcomed the endorsement by a majority of MEPs for the European Parliament to end the 'travelling circus' to Strasbourg in favour of one permanent seat which would be in Brussels.

Voting on EU budget guidelines for 2013 MEPs also decided to freeze their own allowances until mid-2014 and cap their travel budget at its present level in line with their demand that all EU institutions cut their administrative spending.

Sarah Ludford commented:

"MEPs must tighten their own belts. But to ensure taxpayers are getting maximum value for money we need an independent evaluation of the EU budget to point up scope for cuts."

MEPs should tighten own belts

London Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford is calling for the European Parliament to freeze MEPs' allowances until the end of the legislature in 2014 as well as to seek freezes on travel costs and administrative spending in all EU institutions.

Commenting ahead of tomorrow's vote in the European Parliament on the 'guidelines' for the EU's budget in 2013 Sarah Ludford commented:

"At this time of national austerity the EU's budget also needs to be shaken up to get rid of waste. MEPs must lead the way in tightening our own belts. Freezing our allowances and capping our travel budget at its present level is a good start."

European Parliament must not spend fortune on Strasbourg madness

Liberal Democrat London MEP Sarah Ludford has called for the blocking of plans by European Parliament bosses known as the 'bureau' to spend £26 million (€30 million) on improving MEP offices in the Parliament's Strasbourg building.

The Parliament is currently obliged under the EU treaties - fixed by the 27 national governments - to sit in both Brussels and Strasbourg in a 'travelling circus'. But in June a majority of MEPs voted in favour of maintaining a single seat in Brussels which would save 19000 tonnes of CO2 every year as well as a great deal of money given that the estimated cost of maintaining Strasbourg is €180 million a year.

Sarah Ludford said:

Strasbourg Plenary scandalous""

I am glad to be able to raise this matter in the presence of the Commissioner for Transport Mrs de Palacio because it is scandalous that the French Government obliges us to come to Strasbourg and has exercised political and emotional pressure - some would say blackmail - to keep us here but fails both to get a TGV line built and even as owner of Air France to ensure decent air services to this beautiful but inconveniently located city.

Mr President I commend you for recently taking up the question of Air France services to Strasbourg from London as reflected in today's Financial Times. Thank you.

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