Strasbourg in decline

Is the capital of Strasbourg doomed in the long term as the seat of the European Parliament?

(Archives B2) If it has not yet lost the war, Strasbourg has, in any case, lost many battles. For lack of real political and economic support, of development of rapid links, decommissioning seems to be winning over people's minds.

Most parliamentary committee meetings and some plenary sessions already take place in Brussels. And the secretariats of the political groups and the administration are largely housed in the Belgian capital. And yet… Inaugurated in 1999, the new building in Strasbourg was intended as a mark of attention. We hadn't skimped on the expense. 460 million euros for 200 square meters. Wasted effort ! The defects of construction, vices of youth, marked the spirits and sharpened the bad mood of the deputies forced to carry out this transhumance once a month.

Migration expensive since it causes, according to the Dutch deputy Michiel van Hulten, nearly 200 million euros of expenditure each year. All for a building deserted 25 days a year, that's a lot. As to " rail and air links with Strasbourg, far from improving, [they] have worsened he observes. And, indeed, the airport with only 10 European cities served, none of which are in the new Member States, pales in comparison to Brussels-National airport, which serves all countries apart from Estonia!

Certainly Strasbourg has a situational annuity. The heads of government having decided that the Parliament would hold 11 plenary sessions there per year. But the duration of the sessions has not been fixed. As a result, each year, the fixing of the calendar gives cold sweats to the French. The arrival of around a hundred deputies from central Europe risks tipping the vote definitively. Three then two days… France should then throw down the gauntlet. Additional sign of this desertion? For the first time, a real election evening is organized at the European Parliament… in Brussels. What a sin of pride! Because, in fact, the Alsatian capital would benefit more from a real European establishment, for example in a booming sector such as common defence, justice and internal affairs, or even a European university, a European Harvard. Who will be the French leader who will dare to say chick!


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).