The European Parliament today adopted its calendars for 2012 and 2013, including a cross-parliamentary initiative to link two plenary sessions in October of each year, thereby reducing the amount of times the EP has to decamp to Strasbourg. Green MEPs welcomed the decision, which will save taxpayers' money and reduce the environmental impact of shifting the EP to-and-fro on a monthly basis (1). After the vote, Dutch Green MEP Judith Sargentini said:
"Today's vote is a small step towards common sense on the EP travelling circus. By reducing the amount of times the entire European Parliament has to decamp from Brussels to Strasbourg, this decision will save taxpayers' money and reduce the environmental impact of shifting thousands of people and resources to-and-fro.
"One down, eleven more to go: clearly, the whole multi-seat operation is an outdated and wasteful system that damages public perception of the EU. It is scandalous that the chairs of the two biggest political groups continue to prevent the European Parliament debating the outdated arrangement as regards the EP seats. While MEPs cannot decide, it is their role as public representatives to ensure the issue remains on the EU agenda and that member states do the right thing. Today's decision keeps the issue on the radar."
(1) See the study commissioned by the Greens/EFA group on the environmental impact of the multi-seat operation, which leads to an excess 20,000 tonnes of CO2 per year being emitted.