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Covid second wave sparks European parliament bust-up

Covid second wave sparks European parliament bust-up
The European Parliament building in Strasbourg, France (Getty images)
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The Covid second wave is hitting Europe, so the European parliament has decided not to up sticks from Brussels and decamp to Strasbourg next week. Instead the parliament's president David Sassoli has announced that the meeting will be a virtual one. He said: 'The situation in France and Belgium is very serious and travelling is not advised.' 

Given that the move involves thousands of people commuting from one city to another, it seems like a sensible step in the middle of a pandemic, not least because France's president Macron has just declared a curfew in cities, including Paris, in an attempt to curb the spike in cases. What's more, Belgium – where MEPs would be travelling from – has one of the highest number of Covid cases in terms of its population in Europe.

So does France's government welcome this step? Non, non, non. Macron's Europe minister Clement Beaune has reacted furiously to the announcement: 'France will not relax its fight for a rapid return to the sessions in Strasbourg,' he warned on Twitter. 

Oh dear. Mr S is glad to see the EU doing what it does best – and coming together to deal with a crisis...

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk.

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Topics in this articleInternationalcovid-19eu