Turning back on StrasbourgPosted: February 10, 2011
Following this article in the FT I react a little on the geographical duality of the European Parliament.
As a reminder, (and to state it in simple terms), the Parliament seats normally in Strasbourg. But the Commission and the Council are in Brussels, that where all the preparatory work for the parliamentary session happen. Consequence: the monthly trip to Alsace. This geographic split of the institutions dates back when the number of member states was small and allowed to give to each one the opportunity to host an institution. Now, with 27 members that is not possible anymore.
Renounce to Strasbourg ? That won’t be easy : the buildings are there, and the MEPs and their staff strongly contribute to the city economic life. It would be irresponsible to just turn EU’s back to Strasbourg without having a plan that will help the town deal with this major change.
Arguments in favor of Strasbourg and the parlementary migration are mostly historic and politic: France won’t agree to loose the European Parliament on its territory – however stupid this reaction can be.
There is of course a risk to gather even more the EU institutions in Brussels : reinforcing the euro-ghetto, a growing feeling of eurocrats nest among skeptics, …. However centralizing the institutions is what creates a Capital and can be a strong symbol of a European Union that is trying to get stronger.
“For” or “against” the parliamentary sessions in Strasbourg ? The points of view are not that much divided. But nonetheless, this is a delicate issue and it will take time to properly address it.