German members of the European Parliament (EP) criticised their institution for continuing to operate in two locations – in Brussels, Belgium, and in Strasbourg, France – despite the skyrocketing energy prices.
“Until spring, we should only meet in Brussels,” Peter Liese, member of the European People’s Party (EPP) group in EP, told Bild newspaper on Tuesday. He also raised his concern in a letter to EP President Roberta Metsola.
“Heating and lighting two building complexes at the same time in Brussels and Strasbourg is a mockery of taxpayers,” Moritz Koerner of the liberal Renew Europe group said, arguing that the Strasbourg offices should be sent into an “energetic hibernation immediately.”
Although Strasbourg is the EP’s official seat, its committees and political groups meet in Brussels. Only 12 four-day plenary sessions are held in Strasbourg each year.
The European Commission is currently discussing binding requirements for member states to save energy. “There is a global scarcity of energy. So, whatever we do, one thing is for sure: We have to save electricity,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said last month.
In view of the energy crisis, the EU has just decided that benefiting energy companies will have to pass on part of their surplus profits in the future. This is intended to curb electricity price increases. “We have agreed on good and effective instruments to curb the rise in electricity prices,” Germany’s Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck said last week.
“Hopefully, the current crisis will lead to a rethink,” the General Secretary of the Taxpayers Association of Europe, Michael Jaeger, told Bild. The commute between Brussels and Strasbourg is a “traveling circus” and “an ecological and economic disaster.”