Here’s an interesting photo I found today, the hemicycle or, simply said, the seat of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France. It has a special regime, the members of the European Parliament are not working here every day, there are twelve sessions a year lasting about four days each. In the rest of the time, the members are working in their personal cabinets, most of them in Brussels or Luxembourg, or in their respective countries. But, as already mentioned, they gather every month in Strasbourg, in this huge hemicycle, to vote and discuss projects and laws applicable all over Europe.
What’s interesting about the hemicycle is that members of the Parliament cannot take their seats wherever they want. They sit according to their political groups those seats are well defined on the map, mainly from left to right. While independents have their places at the back or extreme right side. Voting is done electronically as each desk is equipped with electronic voting equipment as well as microphone and headphones for interpretation. Interprets are also present there, their interpretation booths are located behind the seats of the members of the Parliament and along the sides of the chamber.
There are also public galleries located above the chamber for those who want to assist the debates, mainly press representatives, you can see the public galleries just under the roof.
The members were lucky to spend their time outside this hemicycle most of their time, on August 7, 2008 part of the ceiling collapsed, about 10% of it. The Parliament was not meeting at the time so no one was injured but repair work proved to be more difficult than previously expected because the damage was more serious than thought, with many sessions moved temporarily to Brussels.