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.

Summary

  1. The sitting began at 16.00 BST, when MEPs debated and approved the week's agenda.
  2. After this, they debated a forthcoming UN conference on AIDS research, and the coherence of the EU's development policies.
  3. They then debated safety standards at a nuclear power plant under construction in Belarus.
  4. The sitting finished with short debates on six "own initiative" advisory motions on various subjects, and one-minute speeches.

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

Goodnight - and don't forget to join us tomorrow...

European Parliament

Strasbourg

And with that, tonight's sitting comes to an end.

MEPs are back tomorrow at 08.00 BST, when they will first be debating anti-tax avoidance measures announced by the EU Commission in January.

After this, they will debate legislation that would delay implementation of new EU trading rules - known as MiFID II - for the financial sector by one year.

After the lunchtime voting session, the afternoon sitting begins at 14.00 BST with a debate on a proposed EU migration policy with African countries.

MEPs will also debate a revision to the "blue card" migration scheme, and an EU co-operation agreement with the Philippines that faces a ratification vote on Wednesday.

In the evening, they will also discuss what involvement EU states had in facilitating alleged human rights abuses by the CIA, and the future of EU space policy. 

Topical speeches begin

One-minute speeches

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Finally this evening, there will be a round of short one-minute speeches from backbench MEPs.

This item of business, traditionally held during the Monday plenary sitting, is normally used by MEPs to make points about topical issues or stories of interest to their country or region. 

MEP presents motion on unfair trading in the food industry

Debate on "own initiative" motions

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Edward Czesak, from the ruling Law and Justice Party in Poland, has prepared a motion which says the Commission’s actions to clamp down on unfair trading practices in the food industry have not been “sufficient”.

Such practices include late or withheld payments, cancellation of contracts or adding charges for non-existent services.

He tells MEPs that initiatives taken in this area so far "have not been effective" and that more should be done to improve relations between suppliers and supermarkets. 

Edward Czesak
BBC

MEP outlines motion on EU involvement in UN operations

Debate on "own initiative" motions

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Conservative MEP Geoffrey Van Orden’s motion calls for an “evaluation and rationalisation” of UN peacekeeping operations in Africa.

The draft motion calls on the EU to focus on “where it can best add value” in these operations, avoiding duplicating work or missions.

He tells MEPs that African countries "need help" to build security in their continent - but that the EU must avoid repeating "the work of others".

He adds that the EU could also be more "selective" in where it takes international action. 

Geoffrey Van Orden
BBC

MEP outlines motion on accounting standards

Debates on "own initiate" motions

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Theodor Dumitru Stolojan, a centre-right MEP from Romania, has prepared a motion urging further action from the Commission to solve shortcomings in EU accounting standards.

It comes after a review of how the International Financial Reporting Standards have been implemented in EU countries.

The text also calls for the EU to promote greater convergence of standards at an international level.  

Theodor Dumitru Stolojan
BBC

MEP urges more transparency at development organisation

Debates on "own initiative" motions

European Parliament

Strasbourg

German Green Maria Heubuch’s motion criticises implementation of a programme seeking to increase investment in agricultural projects which aim to reduce poverty in 10 African countries.

The motion criticises the lack of consultation of African NGOs and charities in the development of the New Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security in Africa – to which the EU is a partner.

The draft text also says that small farmers, fishermen and indigenous peoples have been excluded from the national “co-operation frameworks” which set the terms to promote investment.

She says that she wants such agreements to contain greater transparency, and a "complaint mechanism for communities on the spot". 

Maria Heubuch
BBC

Debate on advisory motions begins

Debate on Ostrovets nuclear power plant

European Parliament

Strasbourg

That’s the debate on safety standards at the Ostrovets nuclear power plant in Belarus finished.

Next this evening there will be short debates on six “own initiative” motions prepared by MEPs on the Parliament’s committees.

These motions are not binding on either the Commission or national governments, and effectively serve as ideas for future policies.

MEPs raise safety concerns

Debate on the Ostrovets nuclear power plant

European Parliament

Strasbourg

French Front National MEP Gilles Lebreton also highlights the legitimacy of safety concerns, but adds that the Ostrovets site should not be "exploited by the Union to attack Russia yet again". 

Hungarian Green Benedek Javor highlights concerns about the pending construction of two Russian-type nuclear sites in Hungary, whom he says has shown a "flexible" regard for EU standards. 

He also says that there are question marks about the transparency of the tendering process for the sites, as well as for the respect of EU state aid law.

Benedek Javor
BBC

UKIP MEP: EU 'hungry for influence and power'

Debate on the Ostrovets nuclear power plant

European Parliament

Strasbourg

UKIP's Bill Etheridge says that international standards should "obviously" be respected in the construction of nuclear plants. 

However, he is critical of the EU's monitoring role, telling MEPs that respect for international norms should be a matter for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which reports to the UN. 

He says the involvement of the Commission is reflective of an EU "hungry for influence and power". 

Bill Etheridge
BBC

Belarus 'making savings at price of safety' - MEP

Debate on the Ostrovets nuclear power plant

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Lithuanian Liberal Petras Auštrevičius, whose country is closest to the Ostrovets site, says Russia's participation in the construction of the plant reflects its desire to "keep an energy interest" in the region.

He says he is "frightened" by declarations from Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko that the plant will be the cheapest nuclear plant ever built. 

He adds that some parts of the construction are "illegal", and that Belarus is "making savings at the price of safety". 

He tells MEPs that he is not happy with the Commission's statement, which he considers inadequate.  

Petras Auštrevičius
BBC

Commission aiming for 'highest level of standards' at Ostrovets

Debate on the Ostrovets

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Commissioner Stylianides tells MEPs that the Commission will ensure the "highest level of safety standards" are enforced at the Ostrovets site. 

He says that Belarus has improved the "human and technical capacity" of its safety staff, but that the Commission still feels the independence of safety regulators "has to be further strengthened". 

On the matter of stress tests, he says the Commission has no powers to legally enforce this in non-EU Belarus but that this is encouraged. 

He says that there is, however, a political commitment from Belarus to do so, and that a legal instrument to do this there has been agreed. 

Commissioner Stylianides
BBC

Debate on Belarusian power plant begins

Debate on the Ostrovets nuclear power plant

European Parliament

Strasbourg

That’s the debate on co-ordination of EU development policy finished.

MEPs have now been joined by Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides to debate the construction of the Ostrovets nuclear power plant in Belarus.

The plant, which is being built near to the border of EU member Lithuania, is due to enter the first stage of operation this year and become fully operational in 2018.

The European Commission has played an observer role in the contraction, to ensure that the plant complies with nuclear safety standards.

A group of MEPs has tabled an oral question asking the Commission how it hopes to make sure the plant undergoes proper stress tests before it becomes operational. 

Ostrovets power plant
Reuters
The Ostrovets plant will be the first ever to be built in Belarus

'Still difficulties' with EU policy co-ordination - MEP

Debate on EU development policy

European Parliament

Strasbourg

German Christian democrat Joachim Zeller says that there are "still difficulties" in the EU when it comes to co-ordinating development measures, despite it having been codified within the EU's treaties. 

He says that policy in this area should not be "one-off" or simply reactive to crises, but have long-term objectives in areas like health and agriculture. 

Joachim Zeller
BBC

Labour MEP stresses tax loophole links

Debate on EU development policy

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Labour MEP Linda McAvan, who chairs the Parliament's Development Committee, says that development funding is closely linked to the issue of closing down tax loopholes, which she says allow a flow of money out of poorer African countries. 

She says that this would ensure that poorer countries are better able to "raise their own financing for development". 

To that end, she gives her support to the Parliament setting up an investigatory committee into the Panama Papers leak - a final vote on the proposal is due on Wednesday at lunchtime. 

Linda McAvan
BBC

UN goals will bring 'fundamental change' - Commissioner

Debate on EU development policy

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis says that better coherence of development policy is "not only common sense, but a necessity".

He says the UN's updated development goals will mark a "fundamental change" and will require policy to be met "across a very broad range" of sectors.

He says that the Commission is currently working on a review of the European Consensus on development, for which a public consultation was launched last week. 

Vytenis Andriukaitis
BBC

MEP: Development policies 'need to be consistent'

Debate on EU development policy

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Romanian MEP Christian dan Preda, from the centre-right EPP group, says that various EU institutions "need to be consistent with one another" so that development policies do not undermine each other. 

He adds that there is a need for development policy to move away from what he calls the "donor-recipient paradigm". 

He says that putting the issue on the agenda of a future European summit would be a good way of raising awareness about the issue. 

Christian dan Preda
BBC

Debate on EU development policies begins

Debate on EU development policy

European Parliament

Strasbourg

That’s the debate about this week’s UN meeting on Aids/HIV finished. MEPs move on to their next debate, which is on how the EU co-ordinates its sustainable development policies.

Tomorrow, MEPs will vote on a draft motion which says that “little progress” has been made in establishing coherent policies in this area.

It also says that the UN’s latest development targets will present a “new challenge” for how the EU runs development measures in poorer countries.

The draft also says that the drive to reduce poverty in non-EU countries should play a bigger part in the bloc’s attempts to reduce migration, which should “not focus only on security concerns”. 

Liberal MEP: HIV sufferers 'must lead dignified life'

Debate on UN Aids conference

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Portuguese Liberal MEP Jose Inacio Faria says that more must be done to ensure that those who have been diagnosed with HIV "can lead a dignifed life".

He adds that a "huge number" of sufferers still don't have access to medicines. 

Another member of his Liberal ALDE group, Spanish MEP Izaskun Bilbao Barandica says the infection rates show the need not to cut money from development schemes for poorer countries. 

Jose Inacio Faria
BBC

Spanish MEPs respond on HIV plans

Debate on UN Aids conference

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Enrique Guerrero Salom
BBC

Spanish Socialist Enrique Guerrero Salom says there is a need for "co-ordinated national strategic plans" to increase diagnosis and treatment rates for HIV. 

He says such a plan in Spain has been "watered down" in its ambitions. 

His compatriot Lola Sanchez Caldentey, from the left-wing Podemos party, says that more must be done to ensure antiviral drugs are affordable for those in poorer countries. 

She adds that this should be done regardless of the intellectual property patents of multinational drugs companies, which she blames for raising prices. 

Commissioner: EU 'has role to play' in action against HIV

Debate on UN Aids conference

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis tells MEPs that the EU has a "role to play" in trying to lower HIV infection, which he says is "still on the rise" in some parts of Eastern Europe. 

He adds that the EU will be making a renewed pledge for funding to UN-sponsored projects in this area in September. 

He says the new UN development goals marked a "welcome shift" to the need to address health needs, and says additional support must in particular be concentrated on low and middle-income countries. 

Vytenis Andriukaitis
BBC

Debate on HIV/Aids summit begins

Debate on UN Aids conference

European Parliament

Strasbourg

With the agenda approved, MEPs move on to today’s first debate which is on the EU’s role at a UN meeting this week on research into HIV/Aids.

Political leaders, NGOs and charities will meet this week to discuss how the UN can meet its pledge to end Aids as a threat to public health by 2030.

The commitment was made as part of the organisation's new set of development goals to tackle global problems agreed last year. 

New York UN headquarters
AP
The conference is taking place at the UN headquarters in New York

MEPs reject change to Thursday's agenda

European Parliament

Strasbourg

However, a request from Romanian MEP Christian dan Preda from the centre-right EPP group to move Thursday's short debates on human rights motions to the afternoon is defeated by 205 votes to 96. 

MEPs add motion vote on Japanese whaling

European Parliament

Strasbourg

On behalf of the left-wing GUE group, Dutch MEP Anja Hazekamp proposes that Wednesday evening's debate on Japanese whaling activities is followed up with a vote on a motion at a plenary session next month. 

The proposal is approved by 183 votes to 114. 

Anja Hazekamp
BBC

Good afternoon

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Hello and welcome to coverage of today’s plenary sitting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, which will begin shortly.

The sitting will begin with administrative announcements, after which MEPs will have the chance to request additions or changes to this week’s agenda or make points of order.

Proposals to add a debate to the agenda have to be made to the President at least one hour before the sitting opens, and can be tabled by one of the Parliament’s committees, one of its political groups, or a group of 40 MEPs.

In order to be formally added, an item must be approved by a simple majority – and can be done on a show of hands.