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Summary

  1. MEPs debate this week's G20 summit
  2. Estonian PM leads debate on his country's forthcoming EU presidency
  3. MEPs set out legislative wish-list for 2018 in lunchtime vote
  4. Turkey's EU accession talks debated during afternoon

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

Goodbye & coming up

That's all from today's plenary sitting.

MEPs are back tomorrow at 08.00 BST, when they will be debating new copyright rules for making books available to blind associations.

Three motions on topical human rights cases voted on at lunchtime.

MEPs will also decide whether to set up a new committee to examine EU anti-terror measures.

MEPs debate ruling on EU-Singapore trade deal

Singapore skyline
AFP

Finally tonight, MEPs are debating a recent ruling from the EU’s Court of Justice (ECJ) that elements of an EU trade deal with Singapore will need approval from national parliaments.

The court said areas in the deal covering indirect "portfolio" investments and commercial arbitration would require national approval before they could come into force.

The European Commission negotiates trade deals on behalf of the EU.

The Singapore deal is not as wide-ranging as the EU-Canada trade deal (Ceta), whose signing was threatened by objections in Wallonia, the mainly French-speaking part of Belgium.

MEPs debate new 'double taxation' rules

MEPs are now debating proposals to change the legal frameworks for settling cross-border disputes on “double taxation” within the EU.

Most member states have bilateral tax treaties with each other in this area – but EU rules are limited to transfer pricing disputes.

New legislation announced last year would extend the scope of the current rules, and introduce a legal obligation for disputes to achieve a result.

MEPs will take an initial position tomorrow, ahead of negotiations with national ministers.

Commissioner outlines EU response

Debate on forest fires in Spain and Portugal

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Christos Stylianides
EBS

Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides says that Portugal requested help through the EU's civil defence mechanism and received assistance from France, Spain and Italy.

He says that 7 aircraft, 29 vehicles and 135 fire-fighters were sent.

In addition, a total of 61 maps from the EU's Copernicus satellites were sent to the Portuguese authorities to help fight the fires.

A dozen maps were sent to Spain as well, he adds, with a further 14 "in the making".

Debate on forest fire response begins

Forest fire damage in Portugal
EPA

Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides stays with MEPs to debate the EU’s response to recent forest fires in Portugal and Spain.

The blazes in Portugal claimed dozens of lives, with Prime Minister Antonio Costa calling it "the greatest tragedy we have seen in recent years in terms of forest fires".

MEPs debate support for 'outer regions'

View over Madeira
BBC

MEPs are now debating a report from the regional development committee on ways to boost the development of the EU’s “outer regions”.

Areas included under this definition – to which EU treaties apply – include the Azores, the Canary Islands, French Guiana, Guadeloupe and Madeira.

These regions get around €13bn in total EU funding as part of the current long-term EU budget.

Italian MEP: Travel cost 'an insult to taxpayers'

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Italian Five Star MEP Marco Valli also favours the single seat idea, branding the money spent on the monthly travel an "insult to people who struggle to pay their taxes".

Former UKIP MEP and shortlived party leader Diane James says that Strasbourg would be a "totally inappropriate" location for the two UK-based EU agencies.

Moving them to the French city would not lead to any operational cost savings, she adds.

Diane James
EBS

Belgian MEP backs agency swap idea

Debate on single seat of the European Parliament

Frederique Ries
EBS

Belgian Liberal MEP Frederique Ries also gives her backing to the single seat idea, which she says has public support even in France.

She gives her backing to an idea which has reportedly been floated among MEPs of moving the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to Strasbourg in exchange for agreeing to lose the Parliament.

The EMA is currently based in London but the EU says it should leave the UK after Brexit and has even published criteria for selecting the next location.

It is "now up to President Macron", she says.

Tory MEP: 'Travelling circus' costs €114m a year

Debate on single seat of the European Parliament

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Ashley Fox
EBS

British Conservative Ashley Fox says that although the Strasbourg seat was a symbol of reconciliation, it has now become a symbol "all that is wrong with the EU".

The "endless travelling circus" costs €114m a year, he says, and means MEPs are "held in contempt by our citizens".

He says the first two speakers in the debate do not represent the position of their political groups overall, where he says a majority of members approve of having a single seat.

French MEPs defend Strasbourg seat

Debate on single seat of the European Parliament

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Commissioner Vella makes a perfunctory statement explaining to MEPs that the locations of the European Parliament are enshrined in the treaty and are for EU governments to change.

French centre-right MEP Anne Sander is the first MEP to speak, branding the debate "ridiculous" because MEPs do not have the power to decide themselves where they sit.

Moving the Parliament from Strasbourg would mean "having to talk about the seats of all the institutions".

Another French MEP, the Socialist Christine Revault d'Allonnes-Bonnefoy says to move out of Strasbourg would mean losing a "symbol of Franco-German reconciliation".

Anne Sander
EBS

MEPs debate single site for European Parliament

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Person outside the European Parliament in Strasbourg
EPA
MEPs decamp to Strasbourg once a month

Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella stays with MEPs to debate whether the European Parliament should be based in a single city.

At the moment, the Parliament holds week-long plenary sittings in Strasbourg once a month, with MEPs meeting for the rest of the month in Brussels.

MEPs themselves have repeatedly called for this practice to end due to the cost and inconvenience of shuffling to and from the two cities.

However such a change would require unanimous approval from all EU countries to change the bloc’s treaties – and France is opposed.

MEPs debate ways to implement UN goals

Next this afternoon, MEPs are debating a non-binding report from the environment committee about how the EU can implement the UN’s new sustainable development targets.

The recommendations include incorporating the targets into the EU’s budget monitoring process and its external relations with non-EU countries.

The committee’s report has been drafted by the British Labour MEP Seb Dance.

MEP welcomes green spending pledge

Debate on EU development fund

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Arne Lietz
EBS

Italian social democrat Daniele Viotti says the EU can have no true commitment to security "without a commitment to stabilise one of the most unstable regions in the world".

Money paid should come with conditions attached on democracy and human rights standards, he adds.

Another social democrat, German MEP Arne Lietz, says he welcomes the commitment in the legislation that 28% of the money must go towards supporting green projects.

Commissioner: Fund will boost private funds

Debate on EU development fund

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Neven Mimica
EBS

International Development Commissioner Neven Mimica says the new fund will allow a "focused and effective manner" to get more private funds for development projects in Africa.

He says the EU wants to leverage €44bn in private investment before 2020.

He adds that scrutiny will be afforded by regular reporting to the European Parliament as well as a new web portal where investments will be listed.

MEPs debate EU development fund

European Parliament

Strasbourg

MEPs are now debating legislation to set up a new EU sustainability fund to finance development projects in African and Middle Eastern countries.

The fund, which uses money from the EU budget as guarantees to secure private investment, is part of a broader strategy to combat what the EU calls the “root causes” of migration to Europe.

MEPs have agreed a position on the new law with national ministers, which will be voted on tomorrow.

As part of the talks they pushed for a greater amount to be spent on climate policies, and for the European Parliament to get observer status on the fund’s management board.

Changes will give Erdogan 'Sultanese role' - MEP

Debate on Turkish EU application

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Charles Tannock
EBS

Conservative MEP Charles Tannock says the changes would grant President Erdogan the "Sultanese role" he has craved.

The situation in the country is "too important" to ignore, he says.

He adds that the EU should ensure its relationship with Turkey is dictated by its "common values" as well as by diplomatic necessity.

MEP: Turkish visa liberalisation 'out of the question'

Debate on Turkish EU application

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Fabio Massimo Castaldo
EBS

Italian MEP Fabio Massimo Castaldo lends his support to the calls in the report to suspend accession talks with Turkey if the constitutional changes are implemented.

Such a move is a "duty of ours", he adds.

He also says the EU should make it clear that granting Turkish citizens visa-free travel rights is now "out of the question".

The EU pledged to speed up Turkey's long-standing application for visa liberalisation as part of its controversial agreement with the country on migration.

However, with deadlines having come and gone, travel rights have not yet been granted.

EU 'will not ignore developments' - Commissioner

Debate on Turkish EU application

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Johannes Hahn
EBS

The commissioner responsible for EU enlargement negotiations, Johannes Hahn, says the Commission "shares the concerns" of MEPs about the state of Turkish democracy.

He says the EU "will not ignore" developments, but wishes to keep an "open dialogue" with the country, with which he says the bloc shares a number of strategic priorities.

He adds that the EU immediately declared its support for the Turkish government after last year's failed coup.

At the same time, he says the EU should make it "crystal clear" that further improvements are expected if the accession process is to progress.

Silence 'worst strategy' for EU - MEP

Debate on Turkish EU application

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Dutch social democrat Kati Piri - who drafted the committee's report - says that, one year after the failed coup, Turkey has seen a "serious decline in democratic standards".

However, she says the large numbers of people who have joined marches against the referendum result show many in the country are still opposed to the government's "authoritarian drift".

She adds that for the EU, silence "would be the worst strategy" - since it not only leaves people in Turkey in the cold, but also fuels Euroscepticism.

Kati Piri
EBS

Welcome back

Protesters in Istanbul
Reuters
People in Turkey's three biggest cities rejected the changes

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

First up this afternoon, MEPs are debating a report from the foreign affairs committee about Turkey’s stalled EU membership application.

Turkey started EU accession talks in 2005 but have been strained by a government crackdown on journalists and public officials after a failed coup last year.

The draft report – which will be voted on tomorrow – says accession talks should be suspended if the new constitutional changes to increasing the president’s powers are “implemented unchanged”.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan narrowly won backing for the changes in a controversial referendum in April.

Short speeches follow

That’s today voting session finished – MEPs will now have the chance to make short speeches to explain how they voted.

This will be followed by a break, before debates resume at 14.00 BST.

MEPs ratify EU-Cuba co-operation agreement

Voting session

Cuban foreign minister signing an EU co-operation agreement in Brussels
AFP
The agreements was signed in Brussels last December

By 567 votes to 65 and 31 abstentions, MEPs vote to ratify an EU co-operation agreement with Cuba.

The agreement, signed in late last year, has created a new legal framework for diplomatic relations but will not create a free trade zone or cover investment protection.

The EU had suspended its relations with Cuba after scores of dissidents were imprisoned in 2003 – although some EU nations such as Spain and France never severed ties.

Cuba agreed to normalise relations with the United States in 2014.

Votes begin soon

That’s the debate on the Estonian EU presidency finished – MEPs are now taking their seats for today’s voting session.

Estonian MEP: Small countries 'better at compromise'

Debate on Estonian EU presidency

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Yana Toom
BBC

Estonian Liberal Yana Toom says she hopes her country's presidency is "friendly and fruitful".

She says that smaller EU countries are normally "much better" at finding compromises between states during meetings over policy and legislation.

Commissioner hails focus on digital issues

Debate on Estonian EU presidency

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Andrus Ansip
BBC

Estonian Commissioner Andrus Ansip says that Estonia's presidency is "well prepared" and the agenda reflects EU citizens' political priorities.

Mr Ansip, who is responsible for improving the single market for digital goods, says there is a need to make digital competitiveness "part of Europe's DNA".

He says he is glad that expanding 5G wireless internet coverage is part of the presidency's priorities - and reiterates the European Commission's target that at least one major city in each member state should be covered by 2020.

This will be the case in the Estonian capital Tallinn by the end of next year, he says.

Ratas: Brexit talks 'will not dominate our work'

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Juri Ratas also tells MEPs that he is "sad" to see the UK withdraw from the EU.

He says that a "constructive" attitude should be struck in Brexit talks, and that he hopes the UK will "remain a close friend" of the EU.

However, he vows that Estonia will not let Brexit negotiations "dominate our work" in the Council of Ministers over the next six months.

Estonian PM in defence spending plea

Debate on Estonian EU presidency

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Juri Ratas
BBC

Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas says he would like to thank Malta for the "excellent work" conducted during its presidency, which has just ended.

He says over the next six months the EU should concentrate on three priorities: lowering unemployment, improving security and migration.

He adds that the EU must "assume greater responsibility for security around Europe" - and that member states need to spend more and "spend better" on defence.

Estonia is one of only four EU states meeting a Nato target to spend 2% of national income on defence, according to Nato's 2016 report.

"Better use" should also be made of existing EU-wide defence structures such as battlegroups and the newly-launched defence research fund, he adds.

MEPs to debate Estonian presidency

European Parliament

Strasbourg

MEPs have now been joined by Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas to debate his country’s forthcoming time in charge of the EU presidency.

Estonia has taken over the role from Malta, which has been chairing meetings of the EU’s Council of Minsters for the past six months.

Swedish MEP: Free trade 'has defeated poverty'

Debate on the G20 summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

There's a defence of free trade from centre-right Swedish MEP Gunnar Hokmark, who says that it has "defeated poverty in region after region".

The EU, he adds, should support the system of "multinational governance" that has supported this trade and the consequent bigger market for European exports.

Gunnar Hokmark
BBC

UKIP MEP: G20 countries 'eyeing up' trade with UK

Debate on the G20 summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Raymond Finch
BBC

UKIP's Raymond Finch says the summit will give EU leaders a chance to assess the "post-Brexit landscape".

He says the non-EU countries at the meeting will be "eyeing up" how to "grab a bigger slice" of the EU's current exports to the UK.

The bloc, he adds, is shaping up to "exclude the UK from fair access to the single market" in the Brexit talks.

Other G20 countries will be "licking their lips" at the prospect of increasing exports to the UK - prompting a smattering of laughs in the chamber.

MEP: Stop blaming NGOs over migration crisis

Debate on the G20 summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Sophia in't Veld
BBC

Dutch MEP Sophia in't Veld, who is the deputy leader of the Liberal ALDE group, takes aim at EU governments for their response to mass migration.

She says the reaction of member states has been to say that it is "tough luck" for Italy - which has warned the influx of people into the country is unsustainable.

She says the lack of relocation of asylum seekers is a "shame", and says MEPs should stop "blaming" NGOs for their role, adding that they are rescuing people and saving lives.

Danish MEP: 'Unregulated markets' have failed

Debate on the G20 summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Jeppe Kofod
BBC

Danish social democrat Jeppe Kofod says the EU should acknowledge that the "free and unregulated" market has "to some extent failed us".

For certain workers such as those in the steel sector, he adds, globalisation has brought "unfair competition" and pressure on wages.

Belgian conservative Helga Stevens says the EU should work with international institutions to clamp down on terror financing and people smuggling.

Timmermans: EU 'getting its mojo back'

Debate on the G20 summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Frans Timmermans
BBC

European Commission deputy chief Frans Timmermans says the EU should use the summit to showcase the "positive contribution" it is now making to global economic growth.

The EU is projected to grow by "nearly 2%" this year, he says, adding: "we're getting our mojo back".

He tells MEPs that migration will be an issue for decades to come, but that it would make a "world of difference" if EU states "lived up to" their commitments to resettle asylum seekers from frontline states.

"We cannot leave Italy alone with this", he tells MEPs, adding:

the people there have their limits - we need to show the rest of Europe understands this"

Paris agreement 'cannot be renegotiated'

Debate on the G20 summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Matti Maasikas
EBS

On behalf of the Estonian EU presidency, Estonia's deputy minister for EU affairs Matti Maasikas says the EU should send a "strong signal" at the summit in favour of free trade.

He says Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement is "highly regrettable" but the EU must step up to see the deal is enforced.

"It cannot be renegotiated", he adds.

He says that Estonia also welcomes the inclusion of digital issues on the summit agenda.

Good morning

Protesters
Getty Images
Protesters have been out in Hamburg before the summit

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

The sitting will be getting started soon, when MEPs will discuss this week’s G20 summit in Hamburg, which begins on Friday.

They had been due to also debate last month’s EU leaders’ summit with European Council President Donald Tusk – but he is in Paris today to attend the funeral of former MEP Simone Veil.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is also attending the funeral.