France slams Britain's 'aggressive' stance on EU parliament

13th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

France accused Britain on Friday of adopting an "unfriendly and aggressive" stance by giving its backing to lawmakers seeking to move the seat of the European Parliament from Strasbourg to Brussels.

France's minister for European affairs Laurent Wauquiez reacted furiously to what he called the "unacceptable attacks" on Strasbourg, and called his British counterpart David Lidington to denounce London's intervention.

At present, the work of the EU parliament is divided between administrative offices in the Belgian capital and a parliamentary chamber in the French city of Strasbourg, with deputies and officials commuting between the two.

Many European politicians think the arrangement is a waste of money and would like to see the body's work concentrated in Brussels, but France has vowed to keep the parliament on its territory in Strasbourg.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg recently wrote to British members of parliament from their Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties in support of moves to reduce Strasbourg's role.

"The minister conveyed his surprise and deep displeasure in regard to an unfriendly and aggressive gesture towards France," said Wauquiez's office, calling for the EU treaty siting the parliament to be respected.

"France will use all the means at its disposal to defend the seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg against these unacceptable attacks."

© 2011 AFP

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