On Monday, October 16, European Parliament members (MEPs) found themselves with an unplanned trip to Disneyland Paris. This awkward situation unfolded due to a track signal error causing a delay in their train journey.
The train was supposed to take EU lawmakers and staffers to Strasbourg from Brussels. “A signaling error of the French railway SNCF sent our train today to Disneyland instead of Strasbourg,” a European Parliament staffer told the media.
According to a report by BBC, the special train operates once a month to help lawmakers travel between their parliamentary seats in Brussels and Strasbourg.
According to some anonymous sources quoted by Anadolu Agency, some MEPs were disappointed about the fact that they were not allowed to have some fun there.
“Unfortunately, they didn’t let us get out to have some fun there,” said the source, evidently believing that the Star Wars rides and Marvel superheroes found at Disney theme parks might prove more enjoyable than debates at the European Parliament.
However, some lawmakers were not amused at the signal error. “We are NOT a Mickey Mouse parliament,” said an angry MEP.
The monthly necessity for this arrangement arises from the fact that committee meetings, mini-plenaries, and daily administrative activities occur in the EU’s capital, Brussels, Belgium.
However, the European Parliament convenes its plenary sessions in Strasbourg, located in northeastern France, approximately 350 kilometres (217 miles) away.
This complex arrangement, often referred to as a “traveling circus,” is the outcome of compromises made by EU member states several decades ago.
Despite widespread criticism of the considerable financial and environmental strain it imposes, which involves the regular transportation of EU lawmakers, thousands of their staff members, and sensitive documents to France every month, the EU has been unable to reform the system due to staunch opposition from France.