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Summary

  1. The session began at 16.00 GMT with a statement from Parliament President Martin Schulz on the terror attacks in France last week, followed by speeches from political group leaders.
  2. This was followed by a round of one-minute speeches from backbench MEPs.
  3. Text can be slow to load on these pages. Please hit refresh (F5) if live text does not appear below.

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

Session ends

Spanish Socialist MEP Clara Eugenia Aguilera Garcia brings the evening's one-minute speeches to a close by mentioning current efforts in her native country to find dead victims of the regime of General Franco.

Clara Eugenia Aguilera Garcia
BBC

And with that, Vice-president Lunacek bring's today's short session to a close.

Tomorrow's session, which begins at 08.00 GMT, will see debates with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, new European Council President Donald Tusk, and a vote on an EU law to allow EU countries to ban genetically-modified (GM) crops on their territory.

New deal?

In the context of the

upcoming Greek parliamentary elections later this month, Greek MEP Georgios Kyrtsos says the government there must stick to austerity policies agreed with the EU and international creditors.

The radical left Syriza bloc - currently leading the opinion polls - has rejected EU bailout deals negotiated by previous governments and has promised, if elected, to renegotiate the deals which it blames for high employment and rising poverty.

Water charges

Irish Sinn Fein MEP Matt Carthy brings up a subject about which he has chosen to speak in the past - the Irish government's proposed

introduction of water charges, which he says is targeted disproportionally at those on low incomes.

Matt Carthy
BBC

Threatening law

Croatian MEP Marijana Petir brings up the case of a Serbian war crimes law which she says is "threatening the interests" of some Croatians on trial in Serbia in unrelated circumstances, and calls on the European Commission to put pressure on Serbia to get rid of the law.

Round of speeches

We have a change in the President's chair, as Austrian MEP Ulrike Lunacek - one of the Parliament's 14 vice-presidents - arrives to take control of proceedings.

The only remaining item on this afternoon's agenda is a round of one-minute speeches from MEPs.

Ulrike Lunacek
BBC

Nigeria debate

On a show of hands, MEPs vote to hold a debate about the Nigeria attacks this Wednesday, before voting on a resolution at the plenary session next month.

Forthcoming week

MEPs will now discuss the week's agenda.

On behalf of Parliament's Green group, Finnish MEP Heidi Hautala tables an amendment to this week's agenda for a statement this Wednesday from EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini on the attacks in Nigeria this weekend which left 23 people dead.

The weekend attacks come after reports that hundreds of people were killed last week during the capture by Boko Haram of the town of Baga in Borno state.

'Fifth column'

On behalf of the Euroscpetic EFDD group, UKIP leader Nigel Farage tells MEPs that it is "not enough" for the politicians at the solidarity rally in Paris over the weekend to "use the the language of unity and solitary".

He says he thinks "our political decisions have led to much of what has happened", highlighting mass immigration at home and foreign policy abroad as policies that have made it "impossible" for certain groups to integrate in European society.

Although the "vast majority" of Muslims were appalled at the attacks, he adds, he says MEPs should acknowledge that there is a "fifth column" living in EU countries that are opposed to European values.

Nigel Farage
BBC

Key to change

French left-wing MEP Patrick Le Hyaric uses his chance to speak to underline that "we cannot sacrifice liberty on the alter of security", and says that the key to resolving radicalisation is ending poverty and "austerity policies" at home, as well as a "new dialogue" with the countries south of the Mediterranean.

'We are Charlie'

"Here in the hemicycle, we are Charlie, because we are all European," says liberal group leader and former Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt.

He continues to say that the home-grown nature of some of the attackers must lead European politicians to recognise that "there has been a failure" in preventing certain groups from being radicalised.

He adds, however, that any policy response to the attacks "must safeguard our civil liberties" - telling the chamber that a restriction on freedom is "exactly what the terrorists want".

Guy Verhofstadt
BBC

'Dared to laugh'

French MEP Alain Lamassoure urges Europe-wide solidarity following the attacks, and gives his own tribute to the Charlie Hebdo journalists, who he said were killed simply "because they dared to laugh".

@EPPGroup

EPP Group tweets: Minute of silence for the Paris victims #jesuisCharlie #CharlieHebdo

Picture from EPP Group
other

Response

He continues by adding that MEPs must fight to prevent hatred and fear being stirred up in response to the murders.

"Together, we must fight not to be contaminated by the hatred of the terrorists," he adds, before continuing to pay tribute to the victims of last weekend's attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria.

He joins the rest of the chamber in observing a minute's silence.

Minute's silence
BBC

Victims' names

Parliament President Martin Schulz opens this week's session, and begins by reading out the names of the 17 victims of last week's terror attacks in France.

He adds that he would like to express his "sincere condolences" to the families of the victims, and tells MEPs that those who died "defended and embodied what fanatics don't want to accept" - namely criticism, humour and the freedom of the press.

Martin Schulz
BBC

@C_Stihler_MEP

MEP Catherine Stihler ‏tweets: Arrived in Strasbourg to an increased armed police presence and the French and EU flags flying at half mast #EP

Good afternoon

Hello and welcome to BBC Democracy Live's coverage of the opening day of this month's plenary session in Strasbourg.

Today's short session does not include any legislative business, and the only scheduled item of business is a round of one-minute speeches from backbench MEPs.

However, Parliament President Martin Schulz will be making a statement to the chamber about the terror attacks in France last week, which left 17 people dead.

After this, there will be a round of speeches on behalf of the political groups.