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Summary

  1. MEPs debate EU Commission suggestions for future of Europe
  2. Afternoon sees debates on next week's EU summit and missing migrant children
  3. Evening debate on the right of EU citizens to get residency rights in the UK
  4. MEPs also debate greater EU powers to oversee energy contracts

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

Goodnight

And with that, tonight's sitting comes to a close. 

MEPs will be back tomorrow at 07:30 GMT, when they will open with a debate on the Creative Europe programme for supporting cultural activities. 

Short speeches begin

That's the debate on access to medicines finished - the vote on the resolution will take place tomorrow morning. 

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

This item of business is normally used by MEPs to make points about topical issues or stories of interest to their country or region. 

MEPs begin debate on access to medicines

Bottle of pills
PA

MEPs move on to their next debate tonight, which is on ways to improve access to expensive medicines.

A motion from the assembly’s public health committee to be voted on tomorrow calls for the EU to do more to increase the transparency of pharmaceutical costs.

It says that the “high level of public funds” used for research and development is not reflected in the price of medicines because of patenting and licensing regulations.

The draft text adds that this can hamper getting a “fair public return on public investment”. 

Commissioner hoping for 'strong backing' of law

European Parliament

Brussels

Miguel Arias Canete
EP

Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete tells MEPs that in recent years around a third of inter-governmental energy agreements have been found non-compliant with EU law. 

However, he says that not a single such agreement has been renegotiated after having been signed - hence the need for the new law. 

He says he is confident that the compromise position on the legislation will receive "strong backing" at the vote tomorrow. 

He adds that the new rules will ensure greater compliance, which will improve the "functioning" of the EU's internal market. 

MEPs begin debate on energy contract oversight

European Parliament

Brussels

MEPs are now debating legislation which would require EU governments to submit draft energy contracts with non-EU countries to the Commission before they are signed.

The Commission would then assess whether the draft complied with EU law. At the moment, countries only have to inform the Commission after deals are signed.

The new law is part of EU plans for an “energy union” which reduces the reliance of certain member states on energy imports from Russia.

MEPs will vote tomorrow on a compromise position on the law agreed with member states in December.

Under the agreement, only oil and gas contracts will have to be seen by the Commission before being signed – with an exemption for electricity contracts.  

Gas pipelines
AFP

MEPs begin debate on EU court of Justice

European Parliament

Brussels

MEPs are now debating the gender composition of judges at the EU’s Court of Justice.

At the moment the Court has 32 male judges and 7 female judges.

An EU regulation adopted in late 2015 says that EU states should aim to nominate one woman and one man when replacing judges, so as to promote a better gender balance.

Court of Justice in Luxembourg
Reuters

UKIP MEP criticises EU response

Debate on EU citizens' rights in UK

European Parliament

Brussels

UKIP MEP Raymond Finch calls MEPs in the chamber "elitists" and not willing to acknowledge that the Brexit vote was about controlling immigration. 

He says the future of EU citizens is being held in the balance by the EU itself, which he calls an "absolute disgrace".

"May you all suffer for what you're doing to those people", he adds. 

Raymond Finch
EP

Labour MEP: UK using EU citizens as 'pawns'

Debate on EU citizens' rights in UK

European Parliament

Brussels

Labour MEP Richard Corbett accuses the UK government of using EU citizens as "pawns" in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. 

He says that MEPs should refer the final Brexit deal to the European Court of Justice if it does not provide appropriate protection for EU citizens' rights. 

Richard Corbett
BBC

EU and UK citizens 'deserve to know what their rights will be'

Debate on EU citizens' rights in UK

European Parliament

Brussels

Vera Jourova
BBC

Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova tells MEPs that EU citizens in UK and British citizens elsewhere in the EU "deserve to know that their rights will be" after Brexit. 

She says the matter should be addressed "as soon as possible" but says negotiations can only begin after the UK has triggered Article 50. 

She says the Commission is not able to answer the specific questions in the oral question, as EU rules do not oblige national governments to collect and share data in this area. 

There has only been "limited" progress in improving the collection of these statistics, she adds, due to reluctance from member states. 

She adds that there are currently eight infringement proceedings against EU states for breaches of free movement rules, of which two have been filed against the UK.

Green MEP warns of 'targeted administrative efforts' against EU citizens

Debate on EU citizens' rights in UK

European Parliament

Brussels

Barbara Spinelli
BBC

Left-wing Italian MEP Barbara Spinelli says the UK should remain "accountable" to EU law until such time as it departs. 

UK Green MEP Jean Lambert says that the UK "is not the only state" where there are issues with the application of EU residency rights. 

She adds that the lack of certainty for EU citizens about whether they will have the right to stay after Brexit is a matter of "huge concern". 

She says there has been a "shift in position" from the UK government on the matter of medical cover - and evidence either of incompetence or "targeted administrative efforts" to delay applications. 

Labour MEP: 'Delays and panic' at application forms

Debate on EU citizens' rights in UK

European Parliament

Brussels

Catherine Bearder
EP

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder says EU citizens in the UK should not be "political bargaining chips" in the Brexit negotiations. 

She says the UK government should immediately guarantee the right of EU citizens to stay. 

Labour MEP Claude Moraes, who chairs the assembly's civil liberties committee, says 28% of permanent residency applications since the referendum have been rejected or declared invalid. 

He adds that the 85-page form for demanding the right to stay often instills "delays and panic". 

MEPs begin debate on EU citizens' rights in UK

MEPs are now debating the requirements for EU citizens to get the right to permanently live in the UK.

An oral question expresses concern about reports that the UK is "restrictively" applying the rules for gaining residence status.

Currently, the UK insists certain EU citizens must have personal health insurance in order to qualify as legally resident after three months. 

The Home Office says that having the right to use NHS services does not count.

It comes as many EU citizens apply for the permanent right to stay following the Brexit vote last year. 

Red London bus near an EU flag
Reuters

MEPs debate Russia domestic violence law

Justice and Gender Equality Commissioner Vera Jourova remains with MEPs to debate a law recently passed in Russia to decriminalise some forms of domestic violence.

Under the proposed legislation, first-time offenders who do not cause serious injury will face a maximum of 15 days police custody instead of up to two years in jail.

Under the bill, the first offence would be considered administrative rather than criminal and punished with a fine of up to 30,000 rubles (£400; €470), detention of up to 15 days or compulsory community service up to 120 hours. 

Woman with her head in her hands
PA

MEP: Wage projections a 'call to action'

Polish centre-right MEP tweets:

'Bleaker' situation with pensions - Maltese presidency representative

Debate on average salaries of men and women

European Parliament

Brussels

Representing Malta's EU presidency, Maltese Parliamentary Secretary Chris Aguius says that gender discrimination has been illegal for some time but this is not the same as "real equality". 

He says a gender pay gap exists and is over 20% in some EU states, with an "even bleaker" situation when it comes to pensions.

He adds that some of the lowest wages are seen in jobs where women are dominant, such as cleaning and care work.  

Chris Aguius
EP

MEPs debate 'gender gap' in average salaries

MEPs are now debating average salaries of men and women in the EU.

Figures from Eurostat suggest that women's gross hourly earnings were on average 16.7% below those of men in 2014.

This difference in the average figure does however differ substantially in different EU states. 

MEP calls for special child units at reception centres

Debate on missing migrant children

European Parliament

Brussels

Monika Hohlmeier
BBC

German Christian democrat Monika Hohlmeier says that there are "some areas where we can do something" at an EU rather than national level. 

She asks the Commissioner to consider getting EU border agency Frontex to set up special units for children in the so-called "hotspot" reception areas. 

Hungarian social democrat Peter Niedermuller says draft legislation proposed by his country's government will increase the chance that children get "stuck in transit zones".

Why are 10,000 migrant children missing in Europe?

By Helena Merriman, Presenter, The Inquiry, BBC World Service

BBC World Service

Europol, the EU's police intelligence unit, estimates that around 10,000 unaccompanied children have gone missing in Europe over the past two years.

The BBC World Service Inquiry programme asks why so many have disappeared.

Read more

UKIP MEP: Schengen has created 'asylum racket'

Debate on missing migrant children

European Parliament

Brussels

Gerard Batten
BBC

UKIP MEP Gerard Batten says that the criminal gangs who are smuggling children into Europe will often have been paid by their parents. 

He says this is a consequence of an "asylum racket", which he says is linked to the Schengen area - with parents sending their children first, so they can follow later. 

Commissioner urges 'better use' of reporting measures

Debate on missing migrant children

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Dimitris Avramopoulos
BBC

Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos says securing the safety of migrant children is a "top priority" for the European Commission. 

He says that last year around 26% of arrivals in Europe by sea were children, which represents an "almost tenfold increase" on the figure for 2010. 

He says that "many actions" are ongoing to better protect children, and that "better use" needs to be made of existing hotlines to report missing children. 

He adds that national police forces should record missing children and register them with the  Schengen Information System

MEPs begin debate on missing migrant children

MEPs are now debating the disappearance of child migrants in Europe.

Europol, the EU's police intelligence unit, estimated last year that around 10,000 unaccompanied children have gone missing in Europe over the previous two years.

In December last year, MEPs backed a motion calling on the EU Commission to produce a dedicated strategy for identifying the whereabouts of missing children. 

Tory MEP calls for security co-operation post-Brexit

Debate on EU summit

European Parliament

Brussels

Geoffrey Van Orden
EP

British Conservative Geoffrey Van Orden says that its "clearly" in the interests of both the UK and the EU to agree a future economic relationship for after Brexit "as quickly as possible".

He says the agreement should go for the maximum possible "market access".

He adds that the UK has world-leading security and intelligence capabilities and operational relationships should be maintained in the future. 

EU unemployment 'still too high' - Katainen

Debate on EU summit

European Parliament

Brussels

Investment Commissioner Jyrki Katainen says the Commission's number one priority for next week's summit will be measures to promote jobs and growth.

He says that joblessness levels are the lowest since 2009 but are "still too high".  

Jyrki Katainen
BBC

MEPs debate Brussels summit

European Parliament

Brussels

MEPs are now debating next week’s EU leaders’ summit in Brussels.

During the two-day meeting, leaders are due to discuss EU migration measures, the economic situation in Europe and security co-operation.

They are also expected to vote on whether to extend the mandate of current European Council President Donald Tusk.

Theresa May has said she will not stay for the second day of the summit, when leaders from the remaining 27 EU countries are due to discuss the future of the bloc.

Commission 'postponing' decision about future - MEP

Debate on EU White Paper

European Parliament

Brussels

Tanja Fajon
BBC

Slovenian MEP Tanja Fajon says the Commission's decision to simply lay out options for the EU's future amounts to "postponing" a decision about the course to take. 

She says that the EU currently needs political leadership "more than ever". 

MEP backs Commission options

Debate on EU White Paper

European Parliament

Brussels

Paulo Rangel
EP

Portuguese centre-right MEP Paulo Rangel says he thinks Mr Juncker's strategy of presenting five different options is a "good idea".

He says it means national governments will have to "say what they want" and will therefore be "confronted with their own responsibility".  

UKIP MEP: EU's solutions 'always the same'

Debate on EU White Paper

European Parliament

Brussels

Gerard Batten
BBC

UKIP MEP Gerard Batten says the EU still "fails to understand" that many of the problems it currently faces have been "created by the EU in the first place". 

In particular, he singles out the creation of the euro as the "single biggest reason" for high rates of youth unemployment in parts of the continent. 

He says that he solutions offered are "always the same" - offering greater integration.

Verhofstadt: 'Crazy' to blame Juncker for Brexit

European Parliament

Brussels

Guy Verhofstadt
BBC

Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian prime minister who leads the Liberal ALDE group, says it would be "crazy" for MEPs to blame Mr Juncker for the Brexit vote. 

He comments on the role played by the so-called "founding fathers" of the EU - adding that Winston Churchill could be added to the list and accusing foreign secretary Boris Johnson of "forgetting" his pro-Europe role in his biography of the ex-prime minister. 

He says the first three of the five options should be forgotten, with discussion focusing on options four and five - which advocate greater integration. 

He says the reliance on unanimous decisions has meant the EU only delivers solutions that are "too little too late", and should be lessened.

EU 'must leave wishful thinking behind'

Debate on EU White Paper

European Parliament

Brussels

Ulrike Trebesius
EP

German conservative Ulrike Trebesius says that the menu of options presented by the Commission contains some flexibility. 

She says that if Jean-Claude Juncker had shown similar flexibility with David Cameron during the negotiations before the EU referendum then they "may not have been a Brexit". 

She adds that the EU must leave "margin for manoeuvre" for its future direction and must "leave wishful thinking behind". 

Pittella 'disappointed' with Commission paper

Debate on EU White Paper

European Parliament

Brussels

Gianni Pitella
BBC

Spanish centre-right MEP Esteban Gonzalez Pons says the the EU may have forgotten "where it comes from".

The leader of the Socialist and Democrat group, Italian MEP Gianni Pitella says that his group is "disappointed" with the Commission's failure to specify which of its five options it prefers. 

Speaking - unusually - in English, he says the need to advocate a single plan is a "necessity", because the Commission is a political, and not just "bureaucratic" body. 

He adds that he thinks the fifth option - advocating greater EU integration across the board is the "only viable option". 

'Round one to Donald Trump'

UK Conservative MEP tweets

Juncker calls for end to 'Brussels bashing'

Guardian Brussels correspondent tweets

Juncker: EU states 'will need to increase military budgets'

European Parliament

Brussels

Jean-Claude Juncker
BBC

Jean-Claude Juncker says it is clear that in the future, the EU states will "need to increase their military budgets". 

However he says that promoting greater stability is not just about military spending alone, but also spending on development aid and fighting climate change. 

He confirms that he will be stepping down as Commission President in 2019 when his current term ends, but denies that he is either "tired" or "running out of ideas".

He had said that he would not standing for a second term in an interview with German broadcaster Deutschlandfunk earlier this month

Commission 'has no preference' on EU options

European Parliament

Brussels

President Juncker
EP

President Juncker says that the Commission will not be expressing an "absolute preference" as to which of the five suggested paths it prefers. 

"I'm not a dictator," he says - before adding that it will not just be him making the final decision. 

However, he does repeat that he personally is opposed to "reducing" the EU simply to the concept of a free trade zone. 

He adds that a "series of debates" will be held before the final direction is determined. 

White Paper published

European Commission tweets:

Quiet as Juncker lays out plans

Conservative MEP tweets

EU 'more than a trade area' - Juncker

Debate on EU White Paper

European Parliament

Brussels

President Juncker
EP

President Juncker says the new plan for the EU should "say clearly what the EU can and cannot do", noting that the EU institutions should concentrate on areas where they can "provide specific results". 

He adds that the Commission's paper sets out five visions for the future of the EU of varying levels of integration which are "all under discussion".

He adds that the EU is "more than a trade area", and says he is "strictly against" the idea of reducing the role of the Commission to an "administrator" of single market rules. 

He says the paper's fourth option - more integration for some countries but not others - "could bring great progress" but could also make it harder to "understand" the EU. 

New moment

AFP deputy bureau chief tweets

Juncker: Brexit 'will not stop future of EU'

Debate on EU White Paper

European Parliament

Brussels

President Jean-Claude Juncker
EP

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says this month's Rome summit should mark the birth day of the "European Union at 27".

He says the time has now come to lay out the "vision" that the remaining EU states should adopt in the future, and that the challenges it faces are "not impossible to overcome".

He describes last year's Brexit vote as "painful and regrettable", but notes: 

It will not stop the EU as it moves to the future"