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Mary Lou McDonald - European Parliament use in Strasbourg a monstrous waste of EU funds

19 September, 2006

Sinn Féin National Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald MEP has today called for the European Union to permanently locate its political business in Brussels. She called the use of the Parliament building in Strasbourg as a "monstrous waste of European funds".

Ms McDonald made here comments after one million people signed an online petition calling for the European Union to quit using the French city of Strasbourg for the European Parliament's monthly sessions.

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"The online petition signed by one million people is the latest indication of the massive opposition to monthly sessions of the European Parliament being conducted in the French city of Strasbourg. European Commission Vice President Margot Wallstrom has praised the petition, proving that even the EU Commission is split on this issue.

"In the past I have consistently called for an end to this practice which consumes approximately 15% to 20% of the European Parliament's 1,272 million euro annual budget. This is a monstrous waste of EU funds which would be better diverted into health promotion strategies or tackling social need for example.

"It makes no practical sense to relocate MEPs, their staff and a sizeable section of the EU's bureaucracy to move the entire operation to Strasbourg at tremendous expense. It comes as no surprise that many people regard the European Union as a bureaucratic entity and an over inflated white elephant. The massive opposition to the use of Strasbourg is borne out in this online poll." ENDS

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