European Parliament in Brussels (Photo: European Parliament)


The European Parliament must meet for 12 sessions a year in Strasbourg, otherwise in Brussels. It must also maintain its secretariat in Luxembourg with at least 2,000 employed in that country. 

The decision of seats were decided in a Protocol in a summit in Edinburgh in December 1992. This protocol is now attached to the treaties and is also a part of the Lisbon Treaty

Most employees of the parliament are, however, placed in Brussels, where the European Parliament has immense buildings. 

Six times a year two-day "mini-sessions" are held in Brussels in a special plenary room. Meetings of the political groups and of the Committees of the Parliament, for most part, also take place in Brussels. There are also smaller plenary meetings in Brussels on different topics according to need. 

The Council of Ministers meets in Brussels for nine months a year and in Luxembourg in April, June and October. (The ten-rule, because April is the fourth month and June the sixth = October the 10th.) 

The seats can only be amended unanimously. The question of whether this should be altered was raised in the Convention on the Future of Europe, but it remained unchanged. 

It costs European taxpayers more than 250 million euros a year to move the Parliament between Brussels/Belgium and Strasbourg/France. The extra transports also cost 18,884, 5 tons extra carbon emission per year.

Citizens have protested against this at 21 May 2009 1,263,442 million citizens have protested, with no visible effect. The majority in the European Parliament has refused a debate in the plenary with the argument that the seats are a matter for the governments. The Parliament called for a change before they went for elections in 2014. 

The EU Commission has its main offices in Brussels, but it is also legally bound to maintain offices in Luxembourg. 

The Lisbon Treaty include Protocol no 6 of the seats of the European institutions allowing the "travelling circus" to continue between Brussels and Strasbourg.