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Summary

  1. MEPs approve their final report into the emissions test-rigging scandal
  2. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier addresses MEPs
  3. Debate this afternoon on latest negotiations over Greek bailout
  4. In evening MEPs debate new EU inspection rules for medical products

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

Goodnight & coming up tomorrow

And with that, tonight's debates come to an end. 

MEPs will be back tomorrow from 08.00 BST, when they will first be debating their red lines for the Brexit negotiations.

The European Parliament will not participate directly in the Brexit talks but must approve the final deal.

Later they will debate an EU-wide cap on the wholesale price of mobile roaming data.

They will also debate whether to approve an EU visa waiver for Ukrainians.  

MEPs discuss changes to investment document rules

Finally tonight, MEPs are debating a proposed revision of the EU rules for the “prospectus” documents businesses have to compile when seeking investment.

The changes are aiming to make the process less burdensome for businesses to comply with, particularly for smaller firms.

Under a compromise agreed with member states in December, new rules will not apply to issues of securities with a value below €1m.

They will also create a new simplified category for prospectus for small businesses. 

Documents
SPL

Commissioner: Legislation 'strikes right balance'

Debate on money market funds rules

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Euro Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis says the legislation to be voted on tomorrow are the product of more than three years of "difficult and contentious negotiations".

He says the final text strikes the right "balance" between making MFFs more secure whilst maintaining them as a viable form of financial product. 

Valdis Dombrovskis
BBC

MEPs debate new EU fund rules

MEPs are now debating changes to the EU rules governing so called money market funds (MMFs).

MMFs are funds that invest in short-term debt in order to raise capital. They are used by financial institutions, companies and governments.

Following the financial crisis, the European Commission announced in 2013 new regulations for the funds in a bid to bid to make them less risky.

Under the new regulation, MMFs will be subject to more stringent liquidity requirements. MEPs agreed a compromise position on the rules last December which they will vote on tomorrow. 

Skyscrapers in Paris
Reuters
MFFs in the EU are based mostly in Ireland, Luxembourg and France

MEPs debate flexibility in EU budget

Next up, MEPs are debating changes to the legislation that governs the EU’s current long-term budget, which is due to run until the end of 2020.

The revision would increase flexibility within the budget and increase the spending cap on parts of the budget relating to emergency aid.

The changes are designed to make it easier for the annual budgets to reflect unforeseen political priorities in areas such as migration.

Tomorrow MEPs will decide whether to back a compromise on the changes to the legislation agreed by national ministers last month.

Euro banknotes
Reuters

Flemish MEP: EU should take 'limited number' of refugees

Debate on international migration response

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Flemish nationalist Helga Stevens says she will be voting against the motion tomorrow, adding that it fails to "recognise" the distinction between people fleeing war and economic migrants. 

The only solution to the crisis for Europe, she says, is to close the EU's external borders and "keep people in safe third countries". 

Europe should take a "strictly limited" number of refugees that are "entitled to be here", she adds.  

Helga Stevens
BBC

Green MEP: Development 'must not be migration instrument'

Debate on international migration response

European Parliament

Strasbourg

German Green Barbara Lochbihler gives her backing to giving greater legal access to Europe for migrants and refugees.

However, she says that development policy "must not be used as an instrument for controlling migration flows". 

Barbara Lochbihler
BBC

Spanish MEPs outline motion

Debate on international migration response

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Elena Valenciano
BBC

Socialist Elena Valenciano, one of two Spanish MEPs to have drafted the motion, says the EU needs to "change the narrative" about migration to the continent. 

Calling for easier legal routes for refugees to make their way to Europe, she says the EU should not "pass on its responsibilities" to other countries. 

Centre-right MEP Agustín Díaz de Mera gives his backing to a UN scheme to change the "negative mindset" that he says can characterise refugees and migrants. 

He also gives his backing to greater protection for the most vulnerable refugees - including children and those with disabilities.

MEPs debate motion on migration response

European Parliament

Strasbourg

MEPs are now debating a non-binding motion urging a more “multilateral” response to the issue of mass migration around the world.

The draft text calls for increased cooperation between the EU and relevant UN bodies and development banks.

It also says the European Parliament should be given a greater role to scrutinise the migration “compacts” the EU signs with African and Middle Eastern countries.

The compacts try to get countries to take a greater number of failed asylum seekers in return for greater humanitarian and development aid. 

Migrants in Hungary
Getty Images

British MEPs split on vote

Debate on rules for medical products

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Julie Girling
BBC

Conservative MEP Julie Girling says that she is often the first to warn of the dangers of over-regulation but that greater surveillance of health products is "vital". 

She says the Parliament has "got the balance right" in its compromise over the new rules, and she will be backing the text at the final vote tomorrow. 

However UKIP MEP Julia Reid says that whilst she agrees with the aims of the new legislation, she will vote against because member states are "best placed" to act in this field. 

MEP: New rules will help industry

Debate on rules for medical products

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Irish Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness will help the medical products industry to thrive by providing more "certain" regulation for the future. 

She adds that it will be important for the European Parliament to "keep a watching brief" and ensure that the rules are followed. 

Mairead McGuinness
BBC

Analysis of German president's speech

The Guardian tweets

MEPs debate new rules for medical products

European Parliament

Strasbourg

MEPs are now debating a revision to the EU safety and inspection rules for medical products such as breast or hip implants.

They are also debating a revision to the rules for so-called “diagnostic” medical devices, used for example in pregnancy or DNA testing.

The new rules would beef up the mandatory level of inspection of products that have been placed on the market.

They would also create an EU-wide ID scheme for tracing devices that have been used on patients.

MEPs have agreed a position on the legislation with member states that they will put to a final vote tomorrow. 

Breast implant
Reuters
The rules were introduced following a scandal over faulty breast implants

Dutch Labour MEP criticises Dijsselbloem

Debate on Greek bailout programme

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Paul Tang
BBC

Dutch MEP Paul Tang is the latest member today to say that Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem should apologise over comments  he made last month about indebted southern European states. 

Anyone demanding EU solidarity also had obligations, he said. "I can't spend all my money on liqueurs and women and then go and ask for your support."

Mr Tang, who like Mr Dijsselbloem is from the Dutch Labour party, adds that his comments "ignore the fact that people have made sacrifices" in the country. 

Tsipras 'must respect commitments'

Romanian centre-right MEP tweets

Syriza MEP criticises 'absurd demands' from creditors

Debate on Greek bailout programme

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Dimitrios Papadimoulis
BBC

Greek Syriza MEP Dimitrios Papadimoulis says that Greece has made "real progress" in fulfilling the conditions demanded of it by creditors. 

He says that the "continuing delay" in agreeing the latest bailout review is doing damage to Greece and the eurozone as a whole.

This, he says, is being held up by "absurd demands" from the IMF and German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. 

MEP warns on length of budget surplus

Debate on Greek bailout programme

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Roberto Gualtieri
BBC

Italian social democrat Roberto Gualtieri, who chairs the economic and monetary affairs committee, says Greece deserves a "swift" conclusion of the current second review of the bailout programme. 

He says the IMF shoould not "play with fire", and should "play their part" in helping the negotiations. 

He adds that the 3.5% budget surplus demanded by creditors is sustainable, but only for "a very limited period of time".  

Moscovici: EU 'somewhat behind' on review

Debate on Greek bailout programme

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Pierre Moscovici
BBC

Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici tells MEPs that the Greek economy has "shown great resilience". 

He says that the eurozone is "somewhat behind" in closing the current review of the programme, but acknowledges that the Greek government has made "significant efforts".  

He adds that he would like to encourage the Greek government to maintain the "impetus" behind privatisation measures, which he says the country needs in order to attract international investment. 

Good afternoon

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Hello and welcome back to coverage of this plenary sitting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The sitting will resume shortly, when MEPs will debate the state of play in negotiations over the next phase of Greece’s bailout.

Eurozone ministers are under pressure to agree on the latest tranche of payments due under the country’s third bailout package, agreed in 2015.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has so far refused to sign on to the plan, arguing that Greece should be granted debt relief.

There have been reports that creditors are moving closer to a deal with Greece after having agreed new pensions cuts and changes to the law against collective redundancies.

MEPs had requested that Dutch finance minister and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem now them for the debate, but he has said he cannot take part. 

Street with Greek flags
AFP

Voting session finishes

European Parliament

Strasbourg

And with that, today's voting session comes to an end. MEPs will now have the chance to make short speeches to explain how they voted.

This will be followed by a break, after which the sitting will resume at 14.00 BST, when MEPs will debate continued negotiations between the EU and IMF over Greece’s bailout. 

MEPs back report into emissions scandal

Voting session

European Parliament

Strasbourg

MEPs also give their approval to the final report from the Parliament’s inquiry committee into the emissions tests rigging scandal.

The committee was set up after German carmaker VW was accused by US regulators in 2015 of using “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests on diesel engines.

The report accuses the EU Commission and national authorities in EU countries of not following up on the evidence they had about the discrepancies between laboratory and real-road testing. 

MEPs call for phasing out of certain palm oils

Voting session

European Parliament

Strasbourg

MEPs also overwhelmingly approve a motion from the environment committee that calls on the EU to begin to phase out the use of palm oils linked to deforestation in biofuels. 

They debated the non-binding text yesterday afternoon.

It also calls on the Commission to introduce an EU-wide scheme for certifying “sustainable” palm oils.

It adds that the various different certification schemes that exist at the moment carry different criteria and can be “confusing for consumers”.

Palm oil
AFP
Palm oil can be used in biodiesels

MEPs take initial position on new EU car testing rules

Voting session

European Parliament

Strasbourg

MEPs take an initial position on a proposed revision of the EU rules governing the car test approval procedures that they debated earlier this morning.

The new rules would shorten the validity of so-called “type approval” certificates and increase the number of spot-checks national regulators would have to carry out.

MEPs on the internal market committee want to amend the plans to oblige national regulators to publish more of their test information.

However they decide not to put this position to a “first reading” vote at this stage, instead giving the Parliament’s negotiators on the legislation a mandate to start negotiations with national ministers.

This is because after first reading stage, negotiation time becomes time-limited.

Cars on a motorway
PA

MEPs begin votes

European Parliament

Strasbourg

With the speech from the German President finished, MEPs move to today's voting session. 

Steinmeier calls for 'European Germany'

Address from President of Germany

European Parliament

Strasbourg

President Steinmeier dismisses remarks from President Trump that the EU is a "vehicle for Germany" as a "misunderstanding" 

"We Germans want to keep the European Union together", he says, calling the Union the "only answer to our history and our geography". 

Switching into English, he adds: "we want to be a European Germany". 

Steinmeier: 'New fascination' with authoritarianism in Europe

Address from President of Germany

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Frank-Walter Steinmeier
BBC

Frank-Walter Steinmeier says he would like to defend the EU from "wailing prophets of doom and gloom". 

The "peaceful offsetting of different interests" in the Union, he adds, is a "complex" task - and that a "new fascination with the authoritarianism" is "on the prowl". 

Referencing a recent interview with Lord Heseltine, he says that outside the EU, European countries could well become the "plaything of other powers". 

President Steinmeier: 'bitter thing' to address MEPs shortly after Brexit begins

Address from President of Germany

European Parliament

Strasbourg

President Steinmeier
BBC

President Steinmeier tells MEPs that he finds it a "bitter thing" to be addressing the Parliament shortly after the UK has officially begun its exit proceedings with the EU.

He adds that over the last 60 years, Europe has gone from a "shortage economy" to being a "standard-bearer for a fairer and more peaceful world".

However, he says that it is clear it was a "mistake" to think there would be no going back on the path to further integration. 

Who is Frank-Walter Steinmeier?

German President to give speech

Former German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was elected president by a parliamentary assembly.

The Social Democrat, 61, is one of Germany's most popular politicians.

The post is largely ceremonial, but the president represents Germany abroad and is seen as carrying moral weight.

During the US election campaign, the usually circumspect ex-lawyer described Donald Trump as a "hate preacher" and predicted more challenging relations with Washington.

He has also criticised those who "make politics with fear", and spoken out against right-wing populism.

Read more here.

MEPs to hear speech from German President shortly

Frank-Walter Steinmeier
AFP

That’s the morning’s debates finished – MEPs will are taking their seats for today’s voting sessions, which will get underway from 11.30 BST.

Before that, however, MEPs will hear a speech from newly-elected German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier from 11.00 BST. 

The former foreign affairs minister was elected to the post in February by a parliamentary assembly and took office last month. 

In 2009, he stood unsuccessfully against Angela Merkel in the federal election.  

UKIP MEP: National authorities should 'learn from mistakes'

Debate on new EU car testing rules

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Margot Parker
BBC

UKIP MEP Margot Parker says that consumers "expect and deserve better" in the wake of the scandal.

However, she criticises the approach taken by some MEPs, whom she says are not prepared to let national authorities "learn from mistakes". 

Instead, she adds, they seek an approach which will "engulf us in legislation".  

New EU rules: state of play

Debate on new EU car testing rules

MEPs on the internal market committee have suggested a number of amendments to the Commission’s plans, including greater requirements to publish test information.

Later today they will take an initial position on the legislation, and are likely to give the Parliament’s negotiators a mandate to start talks with national ministers.

However these talks will only begin once national ministers have come to a position. 

Car exhaust
Reuters

MEPs back additional EU oversight

Debate on new EU car testing rules

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Pascal Durand
BBC

French Green MEP Pascal Durand says the scandal has shown the need to "cut the umbilical cord" between testing agencies and funding from car makers.

He says he backs the idea of a new EU agency in this area, telling MEPs that the scandal revealed "clear failings" from national regulators and the European Commission. 

Marco Zullo, from Italy's Five Star movement, says the EU should consider setting up a regulatory authority "using existing structures". 

He suggests that a levy of €10 per vehicle on car makers could be used to pay for the new body. 

What's on this week?

European Parliament tweets

Vella: Commission 'discarded' idea of new EU agency

Debate on new EU car testing rules

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Karmenu Vella
BBC

Representing the Commission, Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella tells MEPs the EU executive did contemplate the idea of a new EU agency when drafting the new testing rules. 

However, he says the idea was "discarded" because of budgetary implications and a desire to pass the legislation more quickly. 

Despite this, he notes that some national regulators have been effectively "making the case" for a new agency by not acting in the wake of the scandal. 

He adds that the idea was mooted in a recent Commission recent white paper, and the discussion will be "taken further". 

MEP: Emissions scandal 'tip of the iceberg'

Debate on new EU car testing rules

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Daniel Dalton
BBC

Conservative MEP Daniel Dalton, who has acted as Parliament's lead negotiator on the legislation, says the emissions cheating scandal was simply the "tip of the iceberg".

The legislation he says, will level the regulatory playing field and lower the risk of so-called "forum shopping" - when companies take cases to a country most likely to find in their favour. 

He says he is "not against" the idea of creating a new EU agency, but so far has not seen the evidence to suggest that it will be of benefit. 

As well as been expensive to set up, a new agency would be "just as susceptible to political pressure as the Commission or member states", he adds. 

MEPs debate new EU car testing rules

European Parliament

Strasbourg

MEPs stay on familiar territory, moving to their next debate which is also on a revision of the EU rules governing the car test approval procedures.

Under EU law, national authorities test and approve new cars but their decisions are recognised by other countries within the single market.

Last year the EU Commission tabled proposals that would shorten the validity of so-called “type approval” certificates and increase the number of spot-checks national regulators would have to carry out.

The new measure would also give the Commission the power to directly fine car manufacturers up to €30,000 per vehicle for non-compliance with testing rules. 

Cars on a motorway
PA

MEP raises scrutiny concerns

Germany Pirate Party MEP tweets

MEP calls for European Parliament to admit 'own failings'

Debate on emissions scandal report

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Bernd Lucke
BBC

German Conservative Bernd Lucke says the European Commission "turned a blind eye" to defeat devices, which he says were known about "for twenty years".

However he says the European Parliament should own up to its own "failings" in this area - including approving relevant legislation that was so "vague" that it was an "open invitation to fraud".

The Parliament's shortcomings, he adds, does not receive enough attention in the final report. 

MEP: Case shows 'maladministration' at Commission

Debate on emissions scandal report

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Seb Dance
BBC

Labour MEP Seb Dance says the scandal showed "clear instances of maladministration" in both the European Commission and regulators.

He adds that it also showed "widespread fraud" was prevalent in the industry.

Conservative MEP Julie Girling says regulators "knew for some time" about the differences between laboratory and on-road testing. 

She adds that a new EU surveillance agency is the "only way to enforce proper oversight" at a European level. 

Dutch MEP: Scandal 'could have been prevented'

Debate on emissions scandal report

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Bas Eickhout
BBC

Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout says the sandal "could have been prevented" with better oversight from the European Commission and national regulators. 

He says the scandal has led to a "lack of trust" in European car markers.

He tells MEPs that the report identifies 7 counts of maladministration from the Commission, and 5 breaches of EU law by regulators.  

This shows that "something needs to happen" within the European Commission, he adds.