EP seats: one stop away from a treaty change

On Monday, 14/10, the report on the locations of the EU institutions was approved by the Constitutional Affairs Committee with a majority of 22 votes in favour, 4 against and no abstentions.

The adopted report reaffirms the call of Members of the European Parliament, the only directly elected EU institution representing over 500 million EU citizens, to decide on the location of its seat and its internal organisation.

It also reiterates our demands to stop the wasteful spending in order to ensure a more effective and responsible environment in both budgetary and environmental terms. According to the text adopted, the annual costs resulting from Parliament’s geographic dispersion, are estimated at an amount that varies between €156 million and €204 million. This sum is equivalent to approximately 10% of Parliament’s annual budget. The CO2 emissions associated with moving among the three working locations have been estimated at between 11,000 and 19,000 tonnes.

To determine the exact costs of the Parliament’s multiple seats, the adopted report also asks from the court of Auditors to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the potential savings for its budget “if the Parliament had only one place of work, in Brussels”. So far we have had several analyses conducted by the Parliament’s administration as well as by the political groups (see a tale of two cities http://www.brusselsstrasbourgstudy.eu/resources/A+Tale+of+Two+Cities.pdf and the EP’s two-seat operation:  www.greens-efa.eu/fileadmin/dam/Documents/Studies/EP%20two-seat%20operation%20-%20Environmental%20costs%20Transport%20and%20Energy.pdf); these different studies produced different estimates of the costs of the Parliament’s seats; therefore it’s important to have an independent analysis carried out by an independent institution.

Finally, the result of the vote yesterday is a great success for our Single Seat campaign. For the last several months we, Members of the Single Seat Alliance, have been submitting amendments to the opinion of the Committee on Petitions (adopted on 17/9) and to the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (adopted on 26/9), both compliment the report by the Constitutional Affairs Committee. We also ensured that members of the Single Seat Alliance were present during crucial votes.

Next steps:
The report on the location of the EU institutions will be put to a vote by the Parliament as a whole at the November plenary session.

If successfully adopted we can then initiate an ordinary treaty revision procedure to propose the changes needed “to allow Parliament to decide the location of its seat and its internal organisation”. Under Article 48 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the European Parliament can submit proposals to the Council for the amendment of the EU treaties.

With the continuous support of the EU citizens in our efforts for One Seat, we might have a pretty good chance of achieving that!

Greetings from the European Parliament,

Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg

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Related documents to the report on the location of the EU institutions is available in the following link:  http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/afco/draft-reports.html?linkedDocument=true&ufolderComCode=AFCO&ufolderLegId=7&ufolderId=11302&urefProcYear=&urefProcNum=&urefProcCode=#menuzone

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