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Europe

European Parliamentarians Want To Abandon Strasbourg

Members of the European Parliament on Tuesday petitioned EU governments, currently negotiating a new Constitution, to scrap the European Parliament's seat in Strasbourg. A letter signed by 126 MEPs called on member states to "reconsider the question of the seat of the European Parliament and change the Protocol on the location of seats of the institutions." They argue it is difficult to justify the expense to EU citizens particularly because, after enlargement, the "additional cost to the taxpayer will be over €200 million per annum." Citizens "rightly ask themselves why taxpayers' money is spent on unnecessary travel costs and a building in Strasbourg that stands empty for over 300 days a year," the letter stated. "Strasbourg is difficult to get to from most European capitals, many working hours are spent on travel and the arrangement is especially unfriendly to MEPs and staff with small children." The issue has long been a bone of contention with MEPs who want to be able to decide themselves whether the parliament should have one or two seats. ( EUobserver.com)