Awhen the session which was to open on Monday in the Alsatian capital was moved to Brussels due to the coronavirus epidemic, the Secretary of State expressed his determination to “fight for a rapid return of plenary sessions to Strasbourg as it should be, to work together on compensation and to project Strasbourg as a European capital in the months and years to come ”.
“Different very concrete tracks”
Regarding possible compensation, “we are exploring various very concrete avenues (…) so that the European Union unambiguously expresses its attachment to its presence in Strasbourg,” Clément Beaune explained during a press point at the end of the meeting. a meeting with the prefect of Bas-Rhin, Josiane Chevalier, the mayor of Strasbourg, Jeanne Barseghian, deputies and representatives of local authorities.
Without going into details, he mentioned the possibility for certain work of the Conference on the future of Europe, which is due to start soon, to be held in Strasbourg as well as discussions on “tracks such as duration, number”. plenary sessions of the European Parliament.
According to the European treaties, the institution is headquartered in Strasbourg, where twelve plenary sessions of three and a half days per year are usually held. But the rest of the time, MEPs work in Brussels, which has been a source of debate for years. Any change of treaty would however require the approval of all member states.
Financial and ecological cost
The many supporters of a single headquarters, which would be established in Brussels, regularly denounce the financial and ecological cost of this monthly transhumance of about 2,500 people, and the fact that the immense Strasbourg complex is only used four days a month.
While major renovations are needed in the European Parliament building in Brussels, the Strasbourg headquarters “is not only a legal obligation enshrined in the treaties, (…) it is not just a defensive battle and it is even less a holdover from the past, ”Clément Beaune insisted.
Asked at the end of the press conference of the Secretary of State, the ecological mayor of Strasbourg, Jeanne Barseghian, hoped that the next plenary session, scheduled for October 5 to 8, would take place in her city, which would be a first since February. “We must go even further in strengthening the European dimension” of Strasbourg, she said.
Reaffirm the European role of Strasbourg
“Reaffirming Strasbourg’s European role cannot be limited to great speeches! Important and tangible, concrete and decisive acts must be undertaken as quickly as possible by the President of the Republic, Head of State ”, criticized, in a motion adopted unanimously, the standing committee of the Lower Departmental Council. -Rhin, calling for “an emergency meeting” with Emmanuel Macron.
“The health situation is no better in Belgium than in France and the deputies are already circulating in their constituencies throughout Europe”, argued in a forum Frédéric Bierry, president of the departmental council, criticizing “a maneuver of the opponents in Strasbourg who seek to take advantage of the situation to permanently install the seat of the European Parliament in Brussels ”.