France has reacted with fury at a 'snub' to the European parliament in Strasbourg
In a move the most mischievous of script writers could not have penned Paris complained to the EU’s own court over what it sees as an unacceptable snub by eurocrats.
France is jealously defensive of the EU parliament’s second base in Strasbourg, insisting that MEPs go through the laborious process of relocating their entire operations there once a month.
European politicians have repeatedly voted to abolish the ridiculous travelling circus and centralise operations in Brussels, but the French have a veto on the issue creating an impasse.
One prominent French MEP described his own government’s move as “pathetic and absurd” and said it neatly encapsulated why the EU is suffering a popularity crisis with citizens.
Paris complained to EU judges after the budget was passed in Strasbourg instead
France jealously guards its EU base, which is widely considered a waste of money
The row erupted after MEPs were asked to adopt the yearly EU budget for 2017 in a mini plenary session in Brussels, a task which is traditionally carried out during a larger hearing in Strasbourg.
France’s move has sparked outrage amongst europhiles who implored the country to look at the bigger picture and appreciate that Brussels is currently firefighting multiple crises.
But that did not wash with French pen pushers, one of whom told euractiv: “Europe is first and foremost a community based on the rule of law. Current affairs must not be allowed to shake the solidity of its legal foundations.”
And a number of French politicians applauded the legal action taken by their government, railing against what they called “insidious” attacks designed to undermine the future of the seat in Strasbourg.
It is important for France to send a strong political signal by upholding the rules.
Get Quotes on Home Insurance
Republican MEP Anne Sander
Republican MEP Anne Sander said: “Respecting the treaties is a source of stability, especially when the EU is in danger.
“Voting on the budget is an important democratic act, so it is important for France to send a strong political signal by upholding the rules.
“Attacks on the Strasbourg seat are insidious. The critics never take on the issue directly but always approach it through some other subject.”
New £270m home of the European Council
Thu, December 8, 2016
This will become the new home of the European Council from January 2017, almost 13 years after EU bosses first decided they needed a bigger meeting-place due to the bloc’s growing size
1 of 11
But in a furious tweet fellow French MEP Jean Arthuis raged: “EU in crisis. France goes to the Court of Justice to know if the budget will be voted on in Strasbourg on Brussels. Pathetic and absurd!”
In response, a spokeswoman for the EU Parliament said that the vote had been taken in Brussels because there was not time for it during the packed agenda slated for the two-day Strasbourg sitting.
The farcical situation paints an extremely unflattering picture of the EU and will infuriate eurocrats who have been desperately trying to demonstrate that Brussels is capable of focussing on the big issues.