These are daunting times for many Europeans. Those who do have a job feel the pressure of a shrinking and dormant economy, with more uncertainties about the future than hopes. Those who are in school, cannot really think of what they'll do when they "grow up" because the world around them has changed from what their parents used to portray. And those who are looking for employment but in vain (as it has been covered extensively on our Youth Unemployment research on The Guardian) are discovering new geographies, starting new migrations and pilgrimages to countries where jobs are still a daily perspective. This is our Europe, in the end of 2013. Fragmented more now than ever, disillusioned of what 2014 will bring and scared. Scared to be losing that epicenter of intellectual and commercial attention that made the Old Continent the fulcrum of our world.
While the above may lean towards a pessimistic assessment of things, there is always something that nullifies all of the above into some sort of grotesque satire, in the tragicomedy that unfolds to us, every day.
Since months, a large number MEPs in Brussels (78%) are advocating for the abolition of the dual seat, which is the dual representation of the European Parliament in both Brussels and Strasbourg. For only 4 days per months, MEPs and their staff need to travel from Brussels to Strasbourg, once a month to run the parliamentarian works as usual, but from a different location. It is like asking the Congress in Washington, to move once per month to Boston to carry out their usual duties.
This is stupid and costly, but moreover stupid.
Every year, 180 million are spent by the European Parliament to play the dual act Brussels/Strasbourg. This is only the monetary cost. There is an environmental cost (like indicated in the SingleSeat initiative), which sums up to 19000 tons of CO2, which are wasted for nothing. To this, we need to add the myriad of those hidden costs that include time (pre and post move), personal motivation, distraction, fatigue (Strasbourg can only be reached, in reasonable logistical terms mainly by car in a stretch of 350km in a straight line) just to name a few...
If we discontinued the use of the Strasbourg parliament we should consider that the city of Strasbourg would lose about 20 million in revenue and that would be the only serious consideration to make when thinking of converging to Brussels. Thus said with such a state of the art facility, there are so many opportunities to use the very same infrastructure as a drive for a new development (education, research, conferences, institutions for collaborations, etc.), which would generate new growth for the French city. During a simulation done this summer by a group of students at Harvard University, it was proposed to convert the facilities into the European Institute of Technology, to echo the legendary success of the MIT in Boston. Yes, of course, just students' ideas in the end, but with more economic and social sense, than the current set up.
Reasonable solutions can be found but it is important that we bring this to the attention of everyone. We can't continue to act irresponsibly against our own future. Those funds, which are taxpayers' funds, can be better utilized to support the various grassroots initiatives to boost and foster youth entrepreneurship. That same amount of funds would be instrumental to the facilitation of entrepreneurial incubators, accelerators or simply hubs, to ease the convergence of ideas, to drive for innovation and excellence and to design with passion our future.
And who knows, maybe Strasbourg would be the new "siege" where European youth entrepreneurship could interface with the new prerogatives of a new Europe.
The SingleSeat initiative needs to be supported because it is much more than a matter of principle or fairness and it is also even more important than just the shedding of money that are wasted annually. It is one of those Zeitgeist opportunities for us to shape Europe towards a new model of governance, one that prioritizes the European People ahead of the political treaties or the historical legacy of idle things, this generation never contributed to support.
Time for a disruptive construction-beside the oxymoron... time to turn Waste into Energy....
Are you ready?