What's up, Europe? Gender, media and European integration. The story of a a young Dane exploring the continent.

Monday, September 18, 2006

One million Europeans have signed against Strasbourg

Each year 200 million Euro are spend on moving the European Parliament between its two seats in Brussels and Strasbourg in France.

Today the European campaign 'Oneseat' reached its goal: one million Europeans have signed a petitition for a permanent seat in Brussels.

Now it will be interesting to see what will happen. The webpage of Cecilia Malmström (Swedish member of the parliament), who started the petition, explains:

"... when commissioner Margot Wallström said that she, in the framework of her plan D (for democracy, dialogue and debate), hopes to see a few citizens’ initiatives land at her desk, the idea of letting the Strasbourg issue become subject to a campaign started to grow. The citizen’s initiative, as described in the article 47 on participatory democracy in the proposed Constitution, allows for the EU citizens to become more active and to participate on European issues. If any petition collects one million signatures, the commission promises to raise the question. Mrs Wallström’s statement that she considers this initiative valid, independently of what happens to the constitution, is to be welcomed."

In spite of good will there is a limit to what Wallström can do. Legally, the Council of the European Union has the final say in the debate about Strasbourg. Meaning, it will be Europe's heads of states that will make the decision in the end. And whether they will be able to reach an agreement on the matter is doubtful. For sure Chirac will oppose the idea. Strasbourg is the symbol of peace between France and Germany and the seat is far to prestigious for the French to let go of it.

The monthly Strasbourg trips are a waste of time and money. Even a waste of space if you consider the suggestion that the Strasbourg building could accomodate a prominent pan-European university.

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