France expresses regret for cancelling EP session in Strasbourg

EP President David Sassoli

France's Europe Minister Clement Beaune and Strasbourg's mayor Jeanne Barseghian on Wednesday expressed regret for the cancelling of next European Parliament's session in the French city over fears for coronavirus spike. In a joint statement French officials call for a "swift return to plenary sessions in Strasbourg".

EP President David Sassoli announced on Tuesday that the plenary session of the European Parliament, which is scheduled to start on 14 September, will take place in Brussels. "The resurgence of the pandemic in many member states and the decisions taken by the French authorities to classify the entire Lower Rhine department as a red zone obliges us to reconsider the move to Strasbourg," Sassoli said in a statement.

The EU law states that the parliament must hold a four-day session once a month in Strasbourg, a right defended by France, despite regular lobbying by lawmakers to change the rules and meet in Brussels, the assembly's second headquarters. Next week's session has additional prestige as the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen will deliver an annual address to the parliament.

France's health minister Olivier Veran said on Tuesday that the COVID-19 situation in the country was worrying, with daily new cases at record levels, although he said a second wave of infections was avoidable.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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