South West Conservative MEP Ashley Fox has been chosen to spearhead the fight by MEPs to stop the Parliament's travelling circus of meetings switching between Brussels and Strasbourg.
Senior members of the Parliament's Constitutional Affairs Committee
yesterday appointed Mr Fox, who is a vice-chair of that committee, as one of two rapporteurs on a report on the controversial issue of where the Parliament should sit.
In a rare move that signifies the important the Parliament attaches to the subject matter of the report, Mr Fox will share the task of drafting the report on the issue with a German Green MEP, Gerald Hafner.
Mr Fox has been a leading voice in the campaign for a single seat and his ‘Fox Amendment’ removed one of their monthly plenary sessions from the 2012 parliamentary calendar in a vote conducted in March 2011
, which subsequently was (successfully) challenged by France before the European Court of Justice
A series of votes by MEPs since then has reaffirmed the increasing majority of members in favour of scrapping the wasteful and costly twin-seat arrangement, although it is currently enshrined in the EU treaties.
In a statement on his website
, Mr Fox said he was honoured to have been chosen to lead the work on this important report. “The Parliament will never claim any credibility for responsible handling of taxpayers' money until this waste is stopped,
” he said. “Strasbourg was a symbol of peace when the EU was formed in 1958. Now it is a symbol of all that is wrong with Europe.
“I want to build on the growing consensus in Parliament that we need to change the European treaties. I think the European Parliament should have one seat and that the European Parliament should decide where that is.”
“Ordinary members of the public find it incredible that we are locked into this ridiculous arrangement that MEPs cannot make their own decisions about where they meet and how much it costs the poor old taxpayer. Through authoring this report, I hope to help the Parliament steer the way to a saner way of doing things.
Further updates on the report's progress will follow in due course.
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