For the first time in 15 months, the European Parliament will meet again in Strasbourg. The coronavirus pandemic has made this impossible for some time. For some time, France has been trying to get members of the European Parliament to return to the country.
“This is a good day for democracy,” said Fabienne Keller, the former mayor of Strasbourg. She is now in the European Parliament. “I am very happy that the Parliament is home.” Unlike many other European Parliament members, she favors holding meetings in the city.
France has launched a real vaccination charm offensive to return members of the European Parliament and their staff to Strasbourg. Invite Pfizer vaccines for those who want it.
A young Bulgarian employee of the European Parliament was pleased to accept this proposal. “Yes, I came here because I can get the vaccine. It is not my turn to be in Bulgaria yet.” He declined to give his name. “It can still be seen as if I was stabbed here or broke in as a bribe. In fact, this may be the case.”
Polish MEP Ryszard Czarnecki has less trouble getting vaccinated. “I think this is a very good idea from France. In the next few days, I can calmly recover from any side effects of the jab,” he said. “In Poland, I have never rested for four consecutive days.” free? But shouldn’t he work here? “Yes, but the plenary meeting lasts four days. Then I can relax.”
Despite generous vaccinations, the corridors of the European Parliament are still fairly quiet. Less than half of the members of the European Parliament came to France. Less than half of the Dutch members.
“Usually this is a beehive”
Most political groups send one or at most two people, and they will not stay in Strasbourg all week. The rest of the votes came from another place, digitally. Sophie from D66’s Veld did come. “Usually here is a group of people. I go against my will because I am opposed to Strasbourg as a seat in the European Parliament,” she said.
Voting and speaking in Parliament can still be done remotely. Therefore, you don’t have to be in Strasbourg for this. It is not clear whether this is still possible after the pandemic. Isn’t this mixed option a good and permanent way to meet, so that everyone does not have to travel between Brussels and Strasbourg every month? In’t Veld doesn’t think so. “You can’t participate in politics remotely. If you want to negotiate, you can do it face to face, not through a screen. Democracy and parliamentary control are more important than ever, and that’s why I am here.”
According to the treaty, members of the European Parliament must meet twelve times a year in France. The vast majority of members of the European Parliament want to get rid of the monthly mobile circus.
But these are not about it. This is impossible without a treaty amendment, which requires the support of all member states, including France. Now the meeting has finally restarted, which makes me very satisfied. French MP Fabienne Keller was enthusiastic: “Did you hear the bell? We are about to start the next debate. What a wonderful voice to hear again!”