Brexit Party MEP complains about journey time to Strasbourg
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Politicians and officials that attend next week’s sitting have been invited to book a jab ahead of their travels. The EU Parliament’s Strasbourg seat has been closed throughout the coronavirus pandemic as part of the institution’s measures to curb the spread of the disease. But with cases plummeting, its officials have been pressured by French authorities to reopen the £410 million facility for business.
In an internal email, seen by Express.co.uk, EU Parliament HR boss Kristian Knudsen sets out the French offer of vaccines used to convince sceptical staff to return to Strasbourg.
He wrote: “The French authorities have informed us that they offer vaccination to Members and staff, including accredited parliamentary assistants, who will be in Strasbourg for the June part-session.
“This is in conformity with the French national vaccination campaign, which was opened to all age groups and all persons interested on May 31, 2021.”
MEPs and staff were informed they would be allowed to opt between a number of vaccines, including the one-dose Johnson and Johnson shot.
The jabs will be carried out between June 8-10, while the Parliament is sitting in Strasbourg.
But staff were warned they could be locked out of the building as a result of the potential side effects of the vaccine.
The EU Parliament currently screens visitors for Covid infection by checking their temperatures.
In his email, Mr Knudsen warned: “You should also be aware of possible side effects (mostly fever, muscle pain, malaise and injection site reactions) that can occur after the vaccination and which usually resolve within two days.
“This might have a negative impact on your work (e.g. it will not be possible to enter Parliament’s buildings with an elevated temperature as temperature checks are in place) and for your departure and travel from Strasbourg.”
There are a strict set of rules for MEPs and staff members travelling between Brussels and Strasbourg.
In true form, the travelling circus will even relocate its coronavirus testing centre to ensure they have access to screening.
Before visitors can enter they must have a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before their arrival.
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And returning home to Belgium, the same applies but staff members will also be expected to self-isolate at home in line with national rules.
“Please note that the Belgian national quarantine measures also apply to essential staff from international organisations such as the EP, except for the essential activities directly linked to their function, when so instructed by their DG,” staff were warned.
“In their private and social life, staff are obliged to observe the quarantine rules.
“During quarantine, you are allowed to go to a doctor or pharmacy, or to go to a store to buy essential groceries, whilst respecting all sanitary measures and physical distancing.”
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In another leaked briefing to staffers, Parliament officials said: “To enter France, you will need to carry and present on request the following documents.
“A printed version of your mission order; a certificate stating that you carry out essential functions for the Parliament in Strasbourg.
“The document will be issued by the resource directorate of your DG; a completed sworn declaration; a negative PCR test result; the test should be done no more than 72 hours before arrival in France.”
One sceptical source told the Politico website: “This is mad. Why not wait until September when everyone is vaccinated?
“What essential function is there in Strasburg when the plenary session can be easily held in Brussels, which has been the successful practice over the last 14 months?”
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