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Summary

  1. MEPs debate EU funding for research scheme for Mediterranean countries
  2. They also debate EU money for infrastructure projects after 2020
  3. Law change to allow increased lending to Italy after earthquakes also discussed

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

Goodnight

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

MEPs will be back tomorrow from 08.00 BST, when they will first be debating a new EU system for labelling the energy efficiency of household appliances.

Short speeches begin

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 outlines report on statelessness

Presentation of own-initiative reports

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Amjad Bashir
EP

Conservative MEP Amjad Bashir has drafted a report on behalf of the foreign affairs committee expressing concern about the number of legally stateless people in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

He says that the committee is "appalled" by the number of children in south and south-east Asia who are at risk of becoming stateless.

Report on pension gender gap presented

Presentation of own-initiative reports

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Agnieszka Kozlowska-Rajewicz
EP

Centre-right Polish MEP Agnieszka Kozlowska-Rajewicz presents a report from the women’s rights committee on the gap in pensions between men and women.

The report recommends that the European Commission works with national governments to draw up an EU-wide strategy for reducing disparities.

It also urges “systematic” monitoring of how member states are applying EU gender discrimination laws, with legal action to be taken against states for non-compliance.

MEP presents report on research spending oversight

Presentation of own-initiative reports

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Spanish Socialist MEP Ines Ayala Sender outlines a report from the budgetary control committee about spending on the 7th framework programme for funding research projects.

The report expresses concerns from the EU’s Court of Auditors about budgetary supervision systems which the court said were only “partially effective”.

It also wants the European Commission to give the court more detail about 10 grants that which accounted for around 77% of the errors in 2015.

Ines Ayala Sender
EP

MEPs to present policy reports

Next tonight there will be short debates on “own initiative” reports from two of the assembly’s committees.

These reports are non-binding and in practice serve as policy suggestions for the European Commission, which has to initiate new EU legislation.

MEPs debate status of Mediterranean fishing zone

Fishing boats in Sicily
BBC

Next up is a debate on a report from the fisheries committee, which says the Mediterranean should continue to receive differential treatment under the EU’s common fisheries policy (CFP).

The report says that this is because much of the sea is made up of international waters, in which non-EU fleets can have a “decisive” impact on fish stocks.

It also says that the EU needs to come up with a “common, detailed definitions” for small and artisanal fisheries in the CFP.

UKIP MEP criticises spending on 'dead-end' projects

Debate on EU cohesion funding

European Parliament

Strasbourg

James Carver
EBS

UKIP MEP James Carver criticises those who have spoken up in favour of cohesion projects as wanting to waste money on "dead-end projects".

He picks up on a statistic quoted in the report that only 34% of EU citizens have heard of infrastructure projects co-financed by the EU.

This statistic "underlines how these projects are not doing much to help at all", he adds.

Green MEP: Parliament should 'pick fight' over cohesion funds

Debate on EU cohesion funding

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Matthijs van Miltenburg
EBS

Dutch Liberal Matthijs van Miltenburg says the EU will need to focus cohesion spending "even more" on results, given likely budget reductions after Brexit.

The European Parliament's youngest MEP, German Green Terry Reintke, says the assembly should be prepared to "pick a fight" with member states that want to get rid of cohesion spending.

"We should stand up and say, bring it on", she says.

Polish MEP: Cohesion funding must not drop

Debate on EU cohesion funding

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Krzysztof Hetman
EBS

Centre-right Polish MEP Krzysztof Hetman says that it was thanks to EU cohesion spending that central and eastern European countries "managed to cope" with the consequences of the financial crisis.

Cohesion spending should occupy the "same or bigger share" of the EU's next long term budget after 2020, he says.

However, he says rules must change to allow cohesion funds to be spent more flexibly.

Cohesion spending 'under attack' - Commissioner

Debate on EU cohesion funding

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Regional Policy Commissioner Corina Cretu says the Commission agrees with "most" of what is in the committee's report.

She says that EU cohesion spending makes sure every region of the bloc is "better resilient against globalisation".

However, she says that cohesion spending is increasingly "under attack", and there is a need to better communicate the benefits of new projects.

She says that "success stories" from the funding scheme should be shared more widely.

Corina Cretu
EBS

Debate on EU infrastructure spending begins

Building site
Reuters

MEPs are now debating two reports from the regional development committee with recommendations for improving EU cohesion spending.

Cohesion funding goes towards funding infrastructure projects in poorer regions, in a bid to reduce economic disparities across the EU.

The first report says the EU should not “scale down” its cohesion spending when the current programme ends in 2020.

The second contains a series of recommendations for how the EU could more to publicise and promote its cohesion spending.

Remembering the victims

President tweets

MEP urges urban focus for EU spending

Debate on Horizon 2020 programme

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Conservative Polish MEP Kazimierz Michał Ujazdowski says the scheme should be more heavily focused on cities in order to deliver better results.

This is where there are a greater number of universities and greater innovation, he adds.

Swedish centre-right MEP Gunnar Hokmark says that the amount spent on science and research in the EU should be doubled, to put the bloc "at the centre" of world innovation.

Gunnar Hokmark
EBS

MEP critcises cuts to Horizon programme

Debate on Horizon 2020 programme

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Lieve Wierinck
EBS

Belgian Liberal Lieve Wierinck says there needs to be the "right equilibrium" between funding the different stages of research.

She also says there should be more involvement from industry in "applied" research.

Left-wing Portuguese MEP Marisa Matias says that "proper public investment" should not be cut "every time you need money for whatever".

Money for the Horizon scheme has been diverted to be used in the European Commission's flagship investment plan, which was set up in 2015.

Commissioner urges more 'communication' of EU-funded research

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Carlos Moedas
EBS

Research and Science Commissioner Carlos Moedas tells MEPs that 83% of the projects funded under the Horizon programme "would not have gone ahead" without EU funding.

The scheme is on track to meet its targets for "knowledge creation" in academia, he adds - but says more could be done in the area of innovating in industry.

More could also be done to better "communicate" the results of research, he says, to help "people in the street", understand their impact.

MEP backs greater funding in 'underrepresented' regions

Debate on Horizon 2020 research scheme

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Spanish Socialist MEP Soledad Cabezon Ruiz, who drafted the committee's report, says Horizon 2020 is the "biggest publicly-funded research programme in the world".

Participation in the scheme in "underrepresented" regions should be boosted, she adds.

Soledad Cabezon Ruiz
EBS

MEPs debate report on main EU research fund

Next up, MEPs are debating a report from the assembly’s industry and research committee about Horizon 2020, an EU budget line for research projects.

The budget is €80bn – it started in 2014 and will finish after 2020.

The report urges EU countries to do more to meet a target of spending 3% of GDP – which currently only Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Austria are doing.

Commissioner: Research scheme will fill 'critical gap'

Debate on PRIMA research scheme

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Carlos Moedas
EBS

Commissioner Carlos Moedas, who has responsibility for research, says that the PRIMA scheme is an "excellent example" of co-operation between EU institutions.

He notes that the scheme will "fill the critical gap" in research into issues such as water supplies and developing efficient food production.

These issues are difficult for any single country to address on its own, he adds.

MEPs debate EU funding for research programme

Laboratory researcher
AFP

Somewhat unusually, there are no requests to change this week’s agenda, so MEPs move immediately to their first debate.

This is on whether to sign off on EU funding for PRIMA, a scheme to encourage research collaboration between 11 EU and 8 non-EU countries located around the Mediterranean.

The scheme could see the EU contribute up to €220m over a period of 10 years – the same amount pledged by the 19 participating states.

Following amendments suggested by the industry and research committee, the scheme would cover farming techniques and water management.

MEPs will vote tomorrow on whether to approve the spending.

Sitting opens with minute's silence

MEPs observe minute's silence
EBS

At the request of Parliament President Antonio Tajani, MEPs observe a minute's silence to remember the victims of the recent terror attacks near London Bridge and in the Iranian capital Tehran.

Good afternoon

Welcome to live coverage of today’s plenary sitting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, which will be getting underway shortly.

The sitting will kick off 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.