Strasbourg – AEGEE-Europe | European Students' Forum AEGEE (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe / European Students’ Forum) is a student organisation that promotes cooperation, communication and integration amongst young people in Europe. As a non-governmental, politically independent, and non-profit organisation AEGEE is open to students and young people from all faculties and disciplines – today it counts 13 000 members, active in close to 200 university cities in 40 European countries, making it the biggest interdisciplinary student association in Europe. Wed, 18 Apr 2018 09:33:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Position Paper on Single Seat of the European Parliament /position-paper-on-single-seat-of-the-european-parliament/ Mon, 01 Sep 2014 07:43:09 +0000 /?p=5506


European elections are taking place in May 2014 and with a fresh Parliament on the horizon, we see this as the perfect time to put a stop to the European Parliament’s travelling circus. The European Parliament (EP) works mainly from Brussels, but for fewer than 50 days a year the Parliament moves to its official seat in Strasbourg to vote. This dual seat, in combination with keeping half its administrative staff in Luxembourg, costs an extra €180 million and 19,000 tonnes of CO2 each year[1].

In current times of economic hardship and global warming, these budgetary and environmental costs are no longer justifiable.


When the European Community for Steel and Coal (ECSC) was founded in 1951 it had two seats, one in Strasbourg and one in Luxemburg[2]. The city of Strasbourg has a special meaning, as it was the place where Germany and France met. This is important, since one of the underlying political objectives of the ECSC was to strengthen Franco-German solidarity and cooperation — and thus avoid a new war.

With the Treaty of Rome (1957)[3] the common market was introduced and this enlargement of the cooperation meant there was need for more space for the European institutions. The city of Brussels was appointed as the new capital of the European Union, but the Secretariat-General of the Parliament and the Court of Justice remained in Luxemburg, and the Parliament itself kept its seat in Strasbourg.

At that time the EP consisted of a handful of non-elected representatives of governments, and it had only a fraction of its current influence and responsibilities. Now, it has co-decision power in most areas of legislation and its daily work is done in Brussels, in close contact with other European institutions and civil society organisations. However, MEPs still move to Strasbourg 12 times a year to vote.

Since 2007, 1.27 million citizens have signed a petition[4] demanding that the European Parliament should have a Single Seat in Brussels. Unfortunately, the distribution of official seats of the European institutions is written down in the EU Treaty[5], which means the Parliament does not have the power to decide where it meets. It can, however, under the Lisbon Treaty[6], formally propose Treaty changes to Member State governments — which is what it did with the Single Seat campaign in 2013[7].

The European Parliament clearly agrees with the concerns of these 1.27 million citizens, adopting in 2013 —with a supermajority of 78 percent[8] — a motion stating it wishes to be able to decide when and where it will officially meet. So now it is up to the Commission to decide whether or not to put this motion to the Parliament and the Council, who can then decide on this change to the Treaty.

Position of AEGEE-Europe

We have no preference as to where the European Parliament seats. We do however understand the Parliament itself has shown a preference for Brussels, due to the effectiveness of working close to the other European bodies and institutions, as well as the representatives of civil society and the media.

Also, although we realise the importance of the reasons why the European Parliament was officially seated in Strasbourg, we believe that with the ascension of 22 new Member States since the creation of the ECSC, the importance of a seat in Strasbourg has become mainly historical and does not weigh up to the resources spent on moving the Parliament back and forth.

Therefore, we as AEGEE, share the concerns of European citizens considering the high costs of forcing the European Parliament to maintain its two seats. We also believe the Parliament itself should decide, taking into account both practical issues as well as historical ones, where it wishes to convene. We therefore urge the Commission to initiate the procedure for a Treaty change, giving the European Parliament the right to determine its own seat.


AEGEE/European Students’ Forum was born 29 years ago with the vision of creating a unified Europe, based on democracy and respect for human rights, bringing together students with different cultural backgrounds. Today, AEGEE is Europe’s largest interdisciplinary student organisation: 40 countries, 200 cities, 13 000 friends.

This network provides the ideal platform for young volunteers to work together on cross-border activities such as international conferences, seminars, exchanges, training courses, and case study trips. In line with the challenges young people are currently facing in Europe, AEGEE’s work is focused on three main areas: promotion of youth participation, development of European relations with its neighbours, and inclusion of minorities.


[1] Joint Working Group of the Bureau and the Committee on Budgets on the European Parliament budget, Annex 2:

[5] Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Protocol no. 6, On the location of the seats of the institutions and of certain bodies, offices, agencies and departments of the European Union:

[6] Treaty of Lisbon, Title III, Provisions on the Institutions, Article 9:

Europe on Track 2: The great Finale /europe-on-track-2-the-great-finale/ Thu, 15 May 2014 16:20:37 +0000 /?p=5255 31 days, 25 cities and 16 countries since the departure from Brussels on 9th April, the Europe on Track 2 teams arrived at their last stops: Strasbourg and Budapest, respectively.

Europe on Track, winner of the 2013 European Charlemagne Youth Prize,was asked to present the project to inspire the more than 5,000 young people meeting in Strasbourg for the European Youth Event 2014. The session was moderated by Mrs Katrin Ruhrmann, director for Information Offices of European Parliament, and Mrs Bettina Leysen, vice-chairwoman of the Charlemagne Prize Foundation.

Around a hundred participants during the Europe on Track session in the European Parliament i Strasbourg

Around a hundred participants during the Europe on Track session in the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Réka Salamon, project coordinator, and Mathieu Soete, traveller from the first edition, had the chance to debate the conclusions of the project with a full room of youngsters from all EU member states. The audience proved to be very active, especially regarding the topics of youth participation and youth employment. A secondary school student from Cyprus demanded more complete education on democratic participation to be able to better exercise their right to vote. “The system of our parents’ generation doesn’t work anymore”, remarked one of the participants when asked how to enhance their chances of employment.
Mrs Katrin Ruhrmann ended the fruitful session encouraging the participants to keep voicing their demands and ideas through projects like Europe on Track, ensuring that the input gathered does reach policy makers.


At the same time, the second team of travellers took part in a conference in the Corvinus university of Budapest aiming to raise awareness of the upcoming European Parliamentary Elections and of the importance of active citizenship. AEGEE-Budapest, ESN Hungary, the National Youth Council, the Higher Education Student Organizations Association and GovFaces participated in the presentations that later gave way to a lively discussion. Students raised contrasting opinions on the importance the Hungarian society gives to active participation when living in a reality of economic decay and disillusionment with politics.​

AEGEE will embark now on the last phase of the project, analysing all the input received to support its advocacy work both in Brussels and at local level. Similarly to the previous edition, AEGEE will collect all opinions and recommendations in a results booklet and a documentary giving an insight into how the youth wants to shape the future of Europe, their future.


“We are extremely proud of how far AEGEE´s Europe on Track initiative has reached, how it has been able to mobilize not only AEGEEans all over the continent, but also concerned young people wanting to share their visions and to participate in the construction of a new Europe. Thank you to our partners Interrail, the Open Society Foundation, Youth For Public Transport, Debating Europe and to the team and ambassadors, for allowing to develop this tool for young people from young people to bring a strong youth and student message to the institutions in Brussels.”
Luis Alvarado Martínez, President of AEGEE-Europe.