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European Parliament Seat: Vice-Presidential candidates call on Schulz to show his hand

December 14, 2011 11:28 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

At a press conference in Strasbourg, UK Liberal Democrat MEP Edward McMillan-Scott, Chairman of the Brussels-Strasbourg Seat Study Group, said that in 2012 a new campaign to involve the public would begin, possibly including the launch of a petition under the new Citizens' Initiative. This process allows more than one million citizens to achieve legislative changes through the European Commission and would build on the OneSeat legacy, which secured more than 1.2 million signatures within a short time.

McMillan-Scott said: "Under the Lisbon Treaty, the EP now has the right formally to propose Treaty changes. The new President of the European Parliament should accept this and speak out on behalf of the majority of its members and European citizens. It is time the EP had an open debate about this". In June MEPs voted by an absolute majority of 373 - 285 for a single seat in a non-binding motion.

McMillan-Scott added: "I am also delighted to have the support of Burson-Marsteller working on the campaign for a single seat. Burson-Marsteller is a top international firm with massive scope and experience. This arrangement complements the legal advice we already receive from Sidley Austin, one of the largest law firms in the world".

Alexander Alvaro (FDP, Germany), Vice-Chair of the Parliament's Budgets Committee, who today convened a well-attended seminar on 'The autonomy of the European Parliament after Lisbon', commented: "The EP has a great deal of autonomy within the existing yearly budget process, but its democratic rights are still limited when it comes to the power to decide its own working arrangements.

McMillan-Scott also announced that a leading public affairs and communications agency, Burson-Marsteller, will support the campaign for a Single Seat for the European Parliament.The firm has previously provided services to the Campaign for Parliament Reform, which embraced the OneSeat campaign.

David Earnshaw, CEO of Burson-Marsteller Brussels, added: "It is a privilege to be retained to work on this campaign, which addresses one of the key EU institutional issues of our time: the right of MEPs to choose their working arrangements".