In a landmark vote, the European Parliament today took a major step towards scrapping the notorious Strasbourg Travelling Circus.

A plenary session of the parliament approved by 483 votes to 141 a report setting out a roadmap for reform, jointly authored by Conservative MEP Ashley Fox.

In her speech in the debate on a single seat for the European Parliament, Marina said: “When Strasbourg was established as a seat of the European Parliament, it was a symbol of hope: a beacon for a new world without war

“It saddens me to say that Strasbourg today has become a symbol of despair, representing an internal war between the few who wish to keep the seat and the many who can no longer justify its existence.

“It now represents all that is wrong with the European Union: the waste, the bureaucracy, the absurdity – so much so that Parliament’s presence here is often referred to as a ‘travelling circus’.

“MEPs must again make it clear that we want a single seat. And who needs to listen? Let us face it – and to extend the circus metaphor – the elephant in the room is France. France needs to let go of the old dream and move towards a new Europe. If the travelling circus continues, the big top may collapse on the European Union once and for all.”

Most of the European Parliament’s work is done at its huge complex of offices and debating chambers in Brussels, but once a month 766 MEPs, 3,000 staff and 25 trucks carrying documents and equipment all decamp to Strasbourg in France to sit there for three days.

A report by the Parliament Secretary General recently put the annual cost at €102 million, but Conservative MEPs say “invisible” costs such as the ongoing costs of the buildings, andmoney wasted on unused floor space make the true cost much higher. It also needlessly pumps 20,000 tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.

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