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French minister slams commissioners over Strasbourg

By Toby Vogel  -  28.02.2013 / 11:06 CET
Bernard Cazeneuve attacks Karel De Gucht, Neelie Kroes and Olli Rehn over call to scrap European Parliament's seat in Strasbourg.
Bernard Cazeneuve, France's minister for Europe, has attacked three European commissioners – Karel De Gucht, Neelie Kroes and Olli Rehn – for supporting a call for the European Parliament to move to a single seat in Brussels.  

“It is surprising that office-holding European commissioners should support an initiative that questions provisions of treaties of which the Commission is the guardian,” Cazeneuve said in a statement this morning (28 February).  

The three commissioners had signed a statement by senior members of the Liberals and Democrats Party meeting in Amsterdam on Monday (25 February) which said that “EU leaders and institutions should explore and set out priorities for EU-wide institutional reforms, including options to move to a single seat for the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers in Brussels”.  

The Parliament holds 12 plenary sessions a year in Strasbourg while the Council of Ministers meets in Luxembourg in April, June and October.  

Other signatories of the statement include Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister and host of Monday's meeting, Nick Clegg, UK deputy prime minister, and Philipp Rösler, Germany's economy minister and vice-chancellor.

“France is very attached to the respect of the treaties, which have set Strasbourg as the seat of the European Parliament,” Cazeneuve said. “This decision is untouchable and non-negotiable.”  

Any treaty change would require unanimity among the EU member states.  

This article was amended on 28 February. It originally said that Werner Hoyer, president of the European Investment Bank, was one of the signatories of the statement. The EIB says: “The joint statement was issued by European liberal ministers in government and commissioners. President Hoyer is neither a minister in government nor a commissioner.”
© 2014 European Voice. All rights reserved.

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