European Parliament lifts remote working in decision labeled “event of great diffusion” | Politics | New
President David Sassoli is facing the reaction of several MEPs for abandoning the hybrid work system in place for a year and a half in favor of a return to normalcy. The 705 European elected representatives are now invited to attend all working sessions as before the start of the pandemic.
The only difference being the requirement for a Covid passport showing proof of vaccination, negative test or recovery from coronavirus to enter Parliament buildings.
Voting and debate must only take place in person and “physical distancing in plenary session must be lifted”, according to the new rules.
David Sassoli sent an edict to all MEPs on October 28 to announce the end of the hybrid model.
He said that while minimizing the risks of Covid, “Parliament has an obligation to resume operations as usual”.
Delphine Colard, deputy spokesperson for the Parliament, said Sassoli’s decision to change the rules was motivated by a “general desire” by MEPs to return to physical proximity to improve the quality of debates and strengthen democracy .
“The idea was that it was better to represent the citizens to be present somewhere,” Ms. Colard said.
More than 550 MEPs have already physically attended Hybrid Parliament Week last month in Strasbourg, meaning a physical sitting of Parliament has “de facto” returned anyway, she added.
Several MEPs shared their outrage when they realized they could no longer vote online as they had been doing for many months.
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Luke “Ming” Flanagan, an Irish MEP from the left-wing group, attacked the physical presence warrant, saying it was ludicrous to require MEPs to “burn kerosene” when remote participation works well.
He accused the European political class of hypocrisy more broadly, saying that MEPs want to “continue to eat in Place Luxembourg, sitting in first class, plucking our nests, while we ask others to change”.
However, a parliamentary insider from the Socialists and Democrats Group told Politico that MEPs have had it easy: “MEPs are already mollycodled. It is the first parliament in the world to allow people to vote from their living room for 18 months.
“It’s a shame to have to insist that MEPs come and do their duty. One would expect that an obligation to be physically present would hamper anti-European or extremist MPs, and not representatives of a Democratic party.