After a 15-month absence due to the restrictive corona measures, the European Parliament has returned to the eastern French city of Strasbourg for its monthly plenary session.
President David Sassoli said, “it’s an important day to be back,” he said at the session’s opening. “We have had a terrible time,” the Italian referred to the thousands of European Covid-19 deaths. “Strasbourg is the symbol of unity and diversity in Europe”.
Due to the coronavirus, the 705 politicians and their staff are not yet obliged to come to Strasbourg and, as in the months since the outbreak, and they can participate in the meeting by video link and vote remotely.
Most politicians, including the Dutch, attend the session at home or in the office of the parliament in the member states. A number had asked in a letter not to reopen the sessions in Strasbourg until after the summer holidays. Then the curfew will probably be lifted from 9 p.m.
ACCORDING TO THE EU TREATY, the EU parliament is officially based in Strasbourg, meets a maximum of twelve times a year for four consecutive days in the city in Alsace and a maximum of six times for two days in Brussels. The parliamentary committees meet in Brussels. France insists that this arrangement, which was established in 1997, is respected. Paris has also put pressure on Sassoli to comply with the meeting requirement. A large majority of parliament has long been against the monthly move to France in normal times.
Due to the absence of parliament, the economy in Strasbourg, especially the catering industry, has suffered serious blows.
Various topics will be debated on Monday, and in the evening, a vote will be taken on EU support of 5 million euros for 1,851 redundant KLM employees. That money can be used to help them find a new job or set up a business through career advice, retraining or employing coaches for entrepreneurship. The voting results will be announced on Tuesday morning.