EU Parliament chauffeurs drive over a hundred near-empty vehicles to Strasbourg monthly
Share article:
Share article:

EU Parliament chauffeurs drive over a hundred near-empty vehicles to Strasbourg monthly

Over a hundred vehicles are driven to Strasbourg every month, with most occupied mostly by the parliamentarians' chauffeurs. Credit: © Belga

The European Parliament is facing a fresh round of scrutiny over reports that its plenary session in Strasbourg sees over a hundred near-empty cars hit the road every month.

A spokeswoman for the parliament told German agency dpa news that a number of MEPs flew from Brussels to Strasbourg while their chauffeurs drove their function vehicles there.

The drivers embark on the 450-kilometre ride in order to bring the parliamentarians from the airport to the hotel, according to De Morgen.

The convoy is made up of 120 cars, the majority of which are occupied solely by the driver, as only a limited number of MEPs choose to make the trip by car.

For the November plenary session, only 25 of the 751 EU lawmakers drove to Strasbourg while the rest go there by plane or train.

The unidentified spokeswoman said that the choice was in the interest of “sound financial management,” noting it was not advisable to park vehicles in Strasbourg.

While she also said that most of the vehicles being driven there monthly were either hybrid or electric, the news provides fresh fodder to critics who see the monthly relocations as wasteful and environmentally irresponsible.

The plenary sessions in Strasbourg are enshrined in the EU treaties, which defined the French city as the official siège of the parliament, where most plenary sessions are carried out.

MEPs themselves in 2013 called for a revision of the treaties in order to allow parliament to choose where it sits, arguing that having a single location would help improve the parliament’s image as it would be “more cost-effective.”

A EU court of auditors report in 2014 found that the monthly move, which sees MEPs occupy the Strasbourg building for roughly four days each month, has an average yearly cost of €109 million, with all related expenses taken into account.

A previous internal report by the European Parliament carried out a year prior had found that up to €103 million could be saved each year if the Strasbourg plenary trip was scrapped, a figure corresponding to about 6% of the parliament’s budget and only about 0.1% of the whole EU budget.

In the run-up May’s European election, a majority of MEPs backed the idea of having a single seat, an option which was less popular against French MEPs, with some saying it was an important symbol of a decentralised EU.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

Latest news

European Council: Decisions on Covid-19 and energy and debate on other issues
At the two-days summit which ended on Friday, the European Council adopted conclusions on COVID-19, digital, energy prices, migration, trade and ...
Flanders ‘water bomb’ could cause €2 billion in damages and affect thousands
The next "water bomb" or heavy rainfall over Flanders could cause damages estimated at around €2 billion, and could affect up to 100,000 people in ...
Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine 90% effective in 5 to 11-year-olds
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 90.7% effective in preventing symptomatic forms of the coronavirus in children aged five to 11, Pfizer announced on ...
Belgian airport named best for cargo in Europe
Brussels Airport has been named the best airport in Europe in a 2021 roundup of the best cargo airports across the world. The Asian Freight, ...
NASA plans first return mission to Moon in February 2022
The United States space agency, NASA, has announced that it will be aiming to launch its first, uncrewed mission to the moon, Artemis 1, in February ...
New, reportedly more contagious Delta mutation being monitored
A new mutation of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which is reported to be more contagious, is being monitored by health authorities in the ...
Angèle releases new single: ‘Bruxelles je t’aime’
Belgian singer Angèle has unveiled her latest song ahead of the release of her new album, due later this year. 'Bruxelles je t'aime' (Brussels I ...
23 million chickens and 1.7 million pigs: Climate experts call for livestock cut
Flander's livestock needs to be drastically cut to save the climate and reach the emission reduction targets, according to the latest advice from the ...
Vaccination uptake surges in Wallonia following CST announcement
The number of people getting vaccinated against the coronavirus increased fourfold in Wallonia after it was announced that the Covid Safe Ticket ...
Guilty by association
BRUSSELS BEHIND THE SCENES Weekly analysis and untold stories With SAM MORGAN Other Brussels behind the scenes stories: Brussels' bid to make ...
Health minister supports use of Covid Safe Ticket in workplace
As the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) has been expanded in Brussels and is set to in Wallonia, federal health minister Frank Vandenbroucke has ...
Maggots show Conings may have lived longer following disappearance
Former army soldier Jürgen Conings, whose disappearance in mid-May resulted in a month-long manhunt, may have been alive for longer than has been ...