Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.


  1. Click the 'Key Video' tab for on-demand coverage of the day's proceedings.
  2. Thursday's second day of the mini-plenary session from Brussels began at 08.00 GMT.
  3. After a morning debate, MEPs voted to ratify a free trade deal that EU leaders agreed with Moldova back in June.
  4. They also passed resolutions relating to the peace process in Northern Ireland, current tensions between Cyprus and Turkey and the humanitarian situation in South Sudan.

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

The session ends

Fine Gael MEP Seán Kelly, explaining his support for the resolution in South Sudan, closes today's session with the final speech.

MEPs will next meet in plenary in the full session, to be held in Strasbourg between 24-27 November.

The session will be broadcast on BBC Democracy Live. We hope you can join us then.

'One sided' resolution

Czech Conservative Jan Zahradil explains that he did not back the resolution on the tensions between Turkey and Cyprus due to his belief that it was "one sided" in favour of Cyprus.

Northern Ireland economy

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy asks for EU support in developing the economy in Northern Ireland, as a vital part of ensuring the continuation of the peace process.

Matt Carthy

Criticism of EU response to Russia

British Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan says the way the EU has responded to the "revanchism" of Vladimir Putin's Russia has been an unfortunate and ineffective "middle way", whose consequences will not be felt in the Parliament but in those countries themselves.

Daniel Hannan

Vote explanation

Latvian Socialist Andrejs Mamikins explains that he voted in favour of the Moldova deal to press the political elite in the country to carry out "important" economic and political reforms.

He adds that he can remember a similar deal achieving this in his native country.

Andrejs Mamikins

Final resolution passed

MEPs have also backed today's final resolution, calling for peace and a continuation of humanitarian efforts in South Sudan.

MEPs will now have the opportunity to make short speeches to explain the way in which they voted.

Resolution on Cyprus and Turkey

MEPs have also approved the next resolution, on the recent tensions that have developed between Cyprus and Turkey.

The resolution deplores recent actions by a Turkish research vessel, that Cyprus considers has encroached on an area off its southern coast, where it is currently conducting operations to search for gas.

Northern Ireland resolution adopted

MEPs are now voting on a resolution calling on all sides to work constructively during the peace process in Northern Ireland.

The resolution is approved.

EU-Moldova trade deal agreed

MEPs have voted to ratify the free trade deal with Moldova, greeted by applause in the chamber.


The first application seeks to give around €1.5m to retrain 171 workers who have been laid off at a jewellery-making plant in Ireland.

Applications are normally only accepted when over 500 workers have been laid off at a single company, but the report seeks to make an exception in this case due to the very low level of unemployment in the region.

The second seeks for money to retrain 761 workers who were recently laid off at a clothing manufacturer in Greece.

Both reports are carried.

Global Adjustment Fund

First, MEPs are voting on applications to the EU's 'Global Adjustment Fund'.

The scheme gives money to provide re-training for people who have lost their jobs at companies that are struggling due to "changes in world trade patterns due to globalisation".

New chair

We have a change of acting president, as Italian MEP and vice-president Antonio Tajani takes the hot seat.

Antonio Tajani

MEPs urged to approve deal

Liberal Lithuanian MEP Petras Austrevicius, Parliament's "rapporteur", or lead negotiator, on the deal, closes the debate by urging his colleagues to back the deal.

He says the deal is a "confirmation of commitment to further economic and political reforms", and is not a text that is "against any third parties", responding to criticism from some MEPs during the debate that the agreement risks aggravating relations with Russia.

Petras Austrevicius

Voting will begin shortly

As you can see, the chamber and the gallery are filling up for today's voting session, which will begin soon.

The two reports endorsing ratification of the deal are scheduled to be the first items to be put to the vote.

Parliament gallery

Catch the eye

That's the end of the scheduled speakers in this debate, and we now move on to the "catch the eye" procedure.

MEPs not on the speaking list can make a brief contribution if they can get the attention of the acting President, who is chairing the debate.

Call for 'more consistency'

Spanish Socialist Clara Eugenia Aguilera Garcia asks for "more consistency" between the various free trade deals that the EU is negotiating and its agricultural policies.

Although Moldova mainly exports machinery and mineral products to the EU, the countries of the Union buy a lot of vegetable products, and other foodstuffs and beverages from the country.

Clara Eugenia Aguilera Garcia

Response to criticism

Polish centre-right MEP Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski responds to critics of the deal, saying that they represent the "voice of Russia in this chamber".

UKIP MEP Stephen Woolfe uses the Parliament's blue card procedure to respond to his comments, saying that it is "insulting" to suggest such a thing.

Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski

' A great example'

Estonian liberal MEP Urmas Paet

tweets this morning that Moldova "has worked hard for the integration with the EU and is a great example for the rest of the Eastern Partnership countries."

Trade partner

The EU is Moldova's biggest trade partner, with around 45% of its trade taking place with the EU, followed by Russia (25%) and Ukraine (12%).

Key exports are machinery and appliances, mineral products, transport equipment, and chemical products.

'New colonialists'

UKIP MEP Steven Woolfe becomes the latest eurosceptic in the chamber to voice his opposition to the deal, saying he takes it as evidence that those who favour expansion of the EU's borders are "new colonialists".

However, his intervention is dismissed by Polish Conservative MEP Kosma Zlotowski, who says that the agreement is being entered into by Moldova by its own volition, and that the country sees European integration as a "more attractive option" than closer ties with Russia.

Kosma Zlotowski

Russian energy supplies

Polish centre-right MEP Michał Boni says it should be a priority for the EU to help develop the economy of Moldova, and particularly to make it "independent of Russian energy".

Michał Boni

The country is indeed heavily dependent on Russia for energy supplies, and Russia has not hesitated to take advantage of this fact in the past as a way of exerting economic pressure on Moldova.

The Russian gas giant Gazprom cut the gas supply to Moldova in January 2006 and January 2009 - for several weeks on the latter occasion.

EU 'should be destroyed'

Bow-tie wearing Polish MEP Janusz Korwin-Mikke, who just finished speaking, asks why it would not simply to be easier to "incorporate" Moldova into Romania, and EU member state with whom it shares close economic and historical ties.

Romanian border

As is his custom, he ends his speech by stating, "moreover, I think the European Union should be destroyed".

Energy efficiency

Finnish Green MEP Heidi Hautala urges members in the centre-right EPP group to support an amendment to the deal that asks Moldova to use energy more efficiently.

As she mentions, the deal will also grant preferential trading terms on the condition that certain judicial and human rights standards are maintained, which she says she strongly supports.

Heidi Hautala

Territorial dispute

As Polish centre-right MEP Jacek Saryusz Wolski mentions, Moldova is currently in the throes of one of the longest ongoing territorial disputes in Europe.

Pro-Russia separatists have controlled Transnistria - a long strip of land in eastern Moldova - since the early 1990s, although the EU and the international community still consider it an integral part of Moldova.

A 'dangerous' move

UKIP MEP James Carver says that although he acknowledges that the deal has been "properly debated" in the Parliament, it has by no means received unanimous support in Moldova, where some people have been holding protests against it.

He says he regrets the fact that the text represents "one more step in the EU's eastward expansion" and signals that he thinks it is a "dangerous" move that risks worsening EU relations with Russia even further.

James Carver

Deal being imposed?

German Left MEP Helmut Scholz, however, says he cannot give "unconditional support" to the deal, which he says is not being discussed by ordinary Moldovans and is rather a text being "imposed" upon the country by the "political elite".

He says he would have approved of a more collaborative approach in drawing up the terms of the agreement.

Helmut Scholz

'Not a vote against Russia'

"This is not a vote against Russia," says German Socialist Knut Fleckenstein, adding his support to approving the deal.

Last month, Russian president Vladimir Putin said he wanted Moldova to postpone a free trade deal - which would bring the country politically and economically closer to the EU - until 2016, as Ukraine had agreed to do recently.

Russia has selectively blocked imports of food and drink from Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine in recent years, moves seen by Western politicians as efforts to exert political control. Russia mostly justified the measures by alleging hygiene violations.

Putin in Moldova

Sending a signal

Opening the round of speeches on behalf of the political groups, German centre-right MEP Michael Gahler says a vote this morning to approve the deal would send a "positive signal" to the Republic of Moldova.

He adds that he would like to see this reflected in the upcoming elections in the country, set to take place at the end of this month.

Michael Gahler

Committee approval

It is expected that MEPs will vote to ratify the Association Agreement later this morning.

The deal has already been approved by the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, who

backed it last month by 44 votes to 3.

Trade deal 'instrumental'

Speaking on behalf of the Commission, Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn says Moldova is the first country of the co-called Eastern Partnership to have visa-free access to the EU.

The Partnership is the EU's instrument aiming at enhancing co-operation with six neighbours of the EU: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, first proposed in 2007 by the Swedish and Polish governments.

He finishes his opening speech by adding that the Agreement being voted on today would move relations with Moldova "beyond where they were" and that ratifying the deal is "instrumental" in supporting sustainable development and unlocking the "economic potential" of the country.

Johannes Hahn

'Positive vote'

Liberal Lithuanian MEP Petras Austrevicius, who has acted as the Parliament's "rapporteur", or lead negotiator, on the deal, opens the debate by praising Moldova as "a front-runner among our European partners".

He adds that in ratifying the deal, MEPs will be helping Moldova to take greater steps towards a "market-based economy", and says he looks forward to a "positive vote" later this morning on the deal.


report is urging MEPs to vote to ratify the deal.

Petras Austrevicius

Formal approval needed

The deal was signed by EU leaders on 27 June and ratified by Moldova on 2 July.

Although the deal's trade clauses, and many of its political ones, have applied provisionally since 1 September, the rest can only take effect once they have been given formal approval by the Parliament.

It is expected that MEPs will vote to ratify the deal - officially called an "Association Agreement" - later this morning.

The session begins

After some opening remarks by Spanish MEP and acting president Ramon Luis Valcarel, we move on to the first item on this morning's agenda: a debate on whether to approve a free trade deal that EU leaders signed with the state of Moldova in the summer.

Ramon Luis Valcarel

Good morning

Hello and welcome to BBC Democracy Live's coverage of the second and final day of this mini-session of the European Parliament from Brussels.