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Summary

  1. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte began the sitting by joining MEPs to review his country's time in charge of the EU presidency.
  2. After this, Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk joined MEPs to discuss last week's EU leaders' summit and their position on Brexit negotiations.
  3. After lunch, they debated the EU's long-term budget, and recommendations from the Parliament's investigatory committee on tax avoidance.
  4. They also debated legislation to set up the EU's proposed Border and Coast Guard force, which will be put to a vote tomorrow.
  5. The evening also saw a debate on the EU's first-ever directive on cybersecurity, which will also be voted on tomorrow.

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

Goodnight & join us tomorrow

European Parliament

Strasbourg

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

MEPs will be back tomorrow morning from 08.00 BST, when Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico will outline his country's plans for its EU presidency, which begins this month.

After this, they will debate what they would like to see in the Commission's legislative programme for next year. 

A motion outlining their wish-list will be put to a vote at lunchtime, as well as legislation to set up the EU's proposed Border and Coast Guard force debated this afternoon. 

After lunch, they will be joined by EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini to debate the future of the EU's common defence policy, the Middle East and relations with China.

In the evening, they will discuss protection for whistle-blowers following the conviction of two men last week for their involvement in the Luxleaks scandal. 

MEPs begin final debate

Debate on OLAF regulation

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Finally tonight, MEPs are debating legislation that would give the Commission the power to provide the secretariat of the Supervisory Committee overseeing OLAF, the EU’s anti-fraud agency.

MEPs have in the past called for such a move, in the name of strengthening the secretariat’s independence.

Commissioner praises agreement reached 'in record time'

Debate on remit of EU maritime agencies

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc tells MEPs that the Commission welcomes tomorrow's vote, and says the text has been negotiated "in record time". 

She says the legislation will allow the fisheries control and maritime agencies to co-operate "on an equal footing" with the forthcoming EU Border and Coast Guard force. 

She adds that this expanded mandate should open up opportunities for jointly planned operations and for greater sharing of information between the three.

Violeta Bulc
BBC

Debate on mandate for EU agencies begins

Debate on remit of EU maritime agencies

European Parliament

Strasbourg

That’s the debate on research and structural funding. MEPs are now debating legislation to give an expanded remit to the EU’s fisheries control and maritime safety agencies.

The Commission has said that giving the two agencies a legal mandate to assist with coastguarding activities will help them to work better with the new EU Border and Coast Guard force.

The new rules foresee the three agencies co-operating more closely, particularly with regard to sharing information and equipment.

The new legislation, which comes in the form of two separate regulations, will be put to a vote tomorrow. 

Debate on research funding begins

Debate on Horizon 2020 scheme

European Parliament

Strasbourg

The debate on the new EU cybersecurity rules is finished – MEPs will hold their vote on the legislation tomorrow.

MEPs are now debating how EU structural funds are spent with regard to the Horizon 2020 research scheme. 

Debate on new EU cybersecurity rules begins

Debate on EU cybersecurity directive

European Parliament

Strasbourg

That’s the debate on a new EU Border and Coast Guard force finished – MEPs will vote on the legislation tomorrow.

They are now debating the EU’s first-ever directive on cybersecurity. Parliament has reached a deal on the new rules with national ministers, which will be put to a vote tomorrow.

Under the new legislation, companies that are designated as providing critical services will have to report serious security breaches to national authorities.

These national authorities would be responsible for determining which firms fall into this category, and would also have to draw up national strategies for dealing with cybersecurity threats. 

Computer cables
EPA

Bulgrian MEP urges greater EU support for eastern states

Debate on EU Border and Coast Guard

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Croatian social democrat Tonino Picula calls on his colleagues to back the legislation setting up the force at the vote tomorrow, and says it should come into force "as soon as possible". 

Bulgarian Conservative Nikolay Barekov says a number of eastern European states - including his own - have become "living shields" against waves of migration. 

He says that additional resources from the EU would allow these poorer states to do a better job of protecting the EU's external border by allowing them to buy more modern equipment. 

Nikolay Barekov
BBC

UKIP MEP: UK 'could be liable' for cost of border force

Debate on EU Border and Coast Guard

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Gerard Batten
bbc

UKIP's Gerard Batten says that although the legislation will not apply to the UK, it could still be "liable to help bear the cost" of paying for the new agency. 

He says that the powers given to the force mean that it "compromises the national sovereignty of member states". 

He adds that a "major factor" in attracting migrants to Europe is the Schengen area itself, because people know that once they enter one member country, it has "free access" to them all. 

Green MEP questions rights provisions of new force

Debate on EU Border and Coast Guard

European Parliament

Strasbourg

German Green Ska Keller says the new force is little more than a version of "Frontex plus" that will not address the long-term causes behind migration to Europe. 

She adds that it will not address the problem of a lack of shelter and medical supplies for refugees, or the "lack of solidarity" between member states when it comes to reallocating asylum seekers. 

She says she fears that given more power to an EU agency without beefing up its fundamental rights provisions risks creating a "pretty dangerous construction". 

Ska Keller
BBC

Force 'will safeguard Schengen area' - MEP

Debate on EU Border and Coast Guard

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Peter Niedermuller
BBC

Hungarian social democrat Peter Niedermuller says the new force is a "good example of what the European Union can achieve" with the right political will. 

He says that the force will "safeguard" the security and free movement of the Schengen area.

Belgian Conservative Helga Stevens says that allowing anyone to cross the EU's borders is "no longer a tenable policy". 

She adds that it is "essential" that the new force is given the powers the properly police the borders. 

What will the new force look like?

Debate on EU Border and Coast Guard

European Parliament

Strasbourg

The new force will have a reserve pool of 1,500 guards provided by national border agencies, with a mandate to intervene if member states are deemed to be failing to protect the EU's external borders.

Under the new text, the agency would only be able to intervene in a country’s territory without its consent after obtaining a qualified majority among the other EU countries, and agreeing the “operational plan” for the mission with the affected country.

Under the original proposals tabled last year, the Commission would have been able to do this using a form of secondary legislation known as implementing acts.

However, it now specifies that if a country opposes the majority decision to sanction an intervention on its territory, the other EU countries may temporarily reintroduce internal border checks.

During the negotiations, MEPs also managed to gain a more important role for themselves in the procedure for selecting the force’s executive director. 

Migrants in Greece
AP
Greece has struggled to cope with the number of new arrivals

Force has 'symbolic dimension' - Commissioner

Debate on EU Border and Coast Guard

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Frans Timmermans
BBC

Commission deputy chief Frans Timmermans says the new force will ensure all areas of the EU's external border will be managed "according to the same high standards".

However, he says this does not remove from member states their own responsibility to police their own borders. 

Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos says the new force has a "symbolic dimension" as well as a legal one, because it demonstrates that Schengen states share a "common European border" for which they all share responsibility. 

He says the views of MEPs have been "taken into account" with a mechanism within the legislation to guarantee the respect for human rights. 

He adds, however, that the Commission has concerns at the role demanded by the Parliament over appointing the force's director - although he hopes the agreement is endorsed at the vote tomorrow.

Lead MEP calls for backing at vote tomorrow

Debate on EU Border and Coast Guard

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Latvian centre-right MEP Artis Pabriks, who acted as the Parliament's lead negotiator on the legislation, says that agreement on the new force "shows that we can make decisions in a speedy way".

He says the new force will "strengthen the existing capacity" of Frontex, with the agreement allowing the new force to avail itself of "modern, necessary equipment". 

He adds that the new force is designed to assist national border forces, not to "replace" them. 

Artis Pabriks
BBC

Debate on EU border force begins

Debate on EU Border and Coast Guard

European Parliament

Strasbourg

That’s the debate on recommendations from the Parliament’s special tax investigation committee finished – a vote on the motion will take place tomorrow.

Next, MEPs are debating legislation to set up an EU Border and Coast Guard force, to replace Frontex, the bloc’s current border management agency.

The new force was proposed by the European Commission at the end of last year as part of an EU drive to curb the record influx of migrants.

MEPs struck a provisional deal on the new force with national ministers at the end of last month, which will be put to a vote tomorrow. 

What are MEPs’ recommendations?

European Parliament

Strasbourg

The draft text approved by the committee calls for tax authorities to have access to a register of all assets held by individuals, companies and trusts. 

It backs plans announced by the European Commission to draw up an EU-wide blacklist of tax havens, for which MEPs say there should be a standard definition that applies across the bloc.

Their draft also endorses the potential use of sanctions against such regimes, including the possibility of reviewing or even suspended trade agreements and access to EU funds.

They also call for “binding union legislation” to try to clamp down on the misuse of patent box schemes, a common technique used by multinationals to shift profits to low-tax jurisdictions. 

MEPs begin tax committee recommendations

Debate on tax committee report

European Parliament

Strasbourg

That’s the debate about this year’s review of the EU’s long-term budget finished – MEPs will set out their position in a motion vote tomorrow.

They are now debating a non-binding motion from Parliament’s special tax investigation committee which sets out a number of recommendations for reforming corporate taxation.

The committee was set up in February to continue the work of a previous inquiry committee established after the Luxleaks revelations about favourable corporate tax deals in Luxembourg.

The motion, which has no legal force and is purely advisory, has been approved by the committee and will be put to a final vote tomorrow lunchtime. 

MEPs to debate EU long-term budget

Debate on EU long-term budget

European Parliament

Strasbourg

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

First up this afternoon, MEPs are debating their initial position on a mid-term review due later this year on the EU’s current long-term budget, which runs from 2014 to 2020.

As well as the review of the long-term budget, MEPs will also have to soon begin work on the budget for next year – for which the Commission announced an initial draft last week.

Tomorrow, MEPs will vote on a draft motion which says the review should set up a permanent EU crisis reserve within the budget to avoid ad hoc solutions to problems such as the migration crisis.

It also requests that the Parliament is “promptly” briefed by the European Commission on the budgetary implications of last week’s vote in the UK to leave the EU. 

Euro notes
Getty Images

Voting session ends

European Parliament

Strasbourg

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

This will be followed by a short break, after which MEPs will return at 14.00 BST, when they will debate their initial position on an upcoming review of the EU’s long-term budget. 

MEPs pass trade and tax motions

Voting session

European Parliament

Strasbourg

MEPs also pass two other non-binding motions they debated yesterday about the EU’s trade strategy, corporate tax avoidance and its development and human rights priorities.

The first, drafted by Italian left-winger Eleonora Forenza, calls for all previous EU trade and investment agreements to be assessed to “identify their consequences on gender equality”.

It also repeats a call made by the Parliament for “compulsory country-by-country reporting” of income and tax payments by private companies in a drive to lower tax avoidance.

The second, prepared by her compatriot and Five Star MEP Tiziana Beghin, calls for trade liberalisation to be “properly conducted to ensure sustainable development”. 

MEPs pass motion on refugee work rights

Voting session

European Parliament

Strasbourg

MEPs pass a non-binding motion calling for both qualified refugees and asylum seekers in Europe to have the unimpeded right to find paid work.

The text notes that allowing them the right to work would ease the cost borne by local authorities and allow them to become “self-sufficient” and gain “recognition in society”.

However it adds that local economic circumstances should be taken into account when refugees are relocated, in order to “maximise their labour-market integration prospects”.

It also adds that national governments should provide “general and work-related comprehensive language courses” for asylum seekers and refugees. 

Migrant camp in Greece
AP

MEPs approve EU-Peru visa waiver

Voting session

European Parliament

Strasbourg

First up, MEPs approve a proposal to give the citizens of Peru the right to travel to the Schengen area for up to 90 days without a visa.

This right has already been granted to citizens of around 60 non-EU countries, including Brazil, Canada, Australia and the United States.

The visa waiver, which has applied provisionally since last March, will be reciprocated for EU citizens travelling to Peru but will not apply to the UK or Ireland. 

Voting session begins

European Parliament

Strasbourg

That’s the debate about last week’s EU leaders’ summit finished – MEPs are now casting their votes during today’s voting session. 

Juncker's stance

European Commission tweets

Tusk: EU 'cannot force' exit talks with UK

Debate on EU leaders' summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Donald Tusk
BBC

Concluding the debate, European Council President Donald Tusk says the EU is "ready to proceed with an amicable divorce, even today". 

He adds that the EU's treaties leave the initiation of formal exit talks to the member state intending to quit the bloc, adding: "We cannot effectively force this decision on the UK." 

However he repeats the Council's position that they will not undertake "any negotiations" before formal negotiation talks are triggered. 

To applause, he says that when there is a "conflict of interest" in the negotiations, the Council will act "in the interests of the EU". 

He also says that the leave vote was also due to political elites that have "for years been building a negative and often unfair vision of the EU". 

Juncker: Commission 'will not bear responsibility' for Brexit vote

Debate on EU leaders' summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Summing up for the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker tells MEPs that the Brexit vote has given some people the chance to "say what they've been wanted to say for a long time". 

However, he adds that issues such as a European Army and the Schengen area should not have been a feature of the campaigns. 

He says the EU has been the victim of "fabrications" in various newspapers about his political positions, adding: "I have never said there should be a United States of Europe". 

In reply to some of those who have called for him to resign in the wake of the vote, he says that he refuses to allow the Commission to be blamed for the referendum result, adding: 

We will not bear that responsibility."

Jean-Claude Juncker
BBC

Leave campaigners 'giving up control' over single market - MEP

Debate on EU leaders' summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Gunnar Hokmark
BBC

Swedish centre-right MEP Gunnar Hokmark says he hopes the EU institutions respect the UK as a full member until the withdrawal process is completed. 

He says the "governmental and political crisis" that has played out in the UK since the vote is "not a very impressive success story, to put it mildly". 

He says that one thing that unites Leave campaigners is that they "want to be as close to the internal market as possible", but they are "giving up control over its development". 

Ulster Unionist: UK vote 'must be respected'

Debate on EU leaders' summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

UUP MEP James Nicholson however says that despite the fact that Northern Ireland voted to remain, the UK's decision "must be respected". 

He says that Donald Tusk has a "massive role" to play in the upcoming talks, but that Jean-Claude Juncker is "part of the problem, maybe not part of the solution". 

He adds: 

It was massive mistake to send David Cameron back to fight a referendum with one hand tied behind his back - don't make that mistake again."

James Nicholson
BBC

Northern Irish voters 'want remain vote respected' - Sinn Fein MEP

Debate on EU leaders' summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson says that the Brexit vote "will damage the north of Ireland more than it will damage anywhere else". 

She says that, given the interlinked nature of the Northern Irish economy with the Republic, Brexit will "turn the north into an economic basket case".

She accuses the DUP of backing a Leave vote "in order to get stronger links with Britain, harder borders and damage the all-Ireland economy". 

People in Northern Ireland who voted to Remain "want that accepted and they want that respected", she adds. 

Martina Anderson
BBC

Brexit camp 'no idea' about how to proceed

Political group tweets

Czech MEPs react to vote

Debate on EU leaders' summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Pavel Telicka
BBC

Czech Liberal Pavel Telicka says that the Council should seek a speedy solution to the Brexit negotiations, although the European Commission "has to play its role". 

In doing so, he effectively reiterates the position of the Parliament in a motion passed after an emergency sitting last week, which called for the Commission to act as chief EU negotiator. 

He says, however, that the EU is still "waiting for the message" from the UK about what it will seek during the negotiations - particularly on the single market issue.   

His compatriot Petr Mach, from the Eurosceptic Free Citizens' Party, says the vote has "given hope" to others around the continent who wish to leave the EU. 

He says his party is now calling for a 'Czexit' referendum to campaign for a "safe, prosperous and free Czech Republic". 

European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, in Strasbourg, 5 July 16

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker says Brexit leaders are "leaving the boat" as things get tough.

Read more

What happens next?

Conservative MEP tweets

Lib Dem MEP calls for general election in UK

Debate on EU leaders' summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Catherine Bearder
BBC
Catherine Bearder is the only British Lib Dem MEP in the Parliament

Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder says that the referendum campaign was "packed with exaggeration, threats and downright lies". 

She says that there "must be a general election soon", as the future direction of the country cannot be decided purely by a contest within the Conservative party. 

Ex-UKIP MEP Janice Atkinson - who now sits as an independent - says that Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker should "take no part" in the negotiations with the UK. 

She says he has proved himself  "unable and unfit" to lead the talks - a task she says should be left to European Council President Donald Tusk. 

Leave camp 'offered completely different positions' - Labour MEP

Debate on EU leaders' summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Richard Corbett
BBC

Labour MEP Richard Corbett says that, although referendums are normally called to settle issues, the UK at the moment "does not seem to me to be calm and settled". 

He adds that he is not taken aback at the uncertainty, given that "Nigel Farage himself" had said that a close result "settled nothing". 

He accuses the official Leave campaign of offering "two completely different positions", with no agreement on whether the UK should continue as a member of the European single market. 

He says that remaining a member would require reneging on promises made about controlling immigration, whilst being outside it could mean tariffs being put on British exports. 

He tells MEPs that he would "not be surprised at all" to see those who voted to leave calling for a "re-think" once the choice between these two options has been made. 

What does ‘access to the single market’ mean?

Reality Check

Any countries that are not subject to trade sanctions can trade with members of the single market, as Boris Johnson said.

But there is a big difference between being able to trade with the single market and being a member of it.

For instance, the United States sells into the single market but there are no common safety standards for goods such as fridges or cars and tariffs and quotas may be imposed on its products.

Read more

Cranes at a port near Marseilles
Reuters

Nuttall: 'Threats and bullying' should be avoided

Debate on EU leaders' summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Paul Nuttall
BBC

UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall tells MEPs that "threats and bullying" will not be the answer to the Brexit vote, and calls for exit negotiations to proceed "in a grown-up manner". 

He says that "fair and equitable" talks should now take place to find the best deal for the UK and remaining European Union states, and MEPs should "put aside the language of conflict".

He says the UK should continue to have "access" to the EU single market, as enjoyed by many countries around the world, whilst retaining control over its money and borders. 

He says that the "last thing we want" is a tariff war between the UK and EU, whilst adding that "millions of jobs on the continent" are dependent on trade with Britain.

German MEP: Farage 'has shirked his responsibility'

Debate on EU leaders' summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

German MEP Rebecca Harms, the co-leader of the Green/EFA group, says that she is "not surprised" that Nigel Farage has "shirked his responsibility" in resigning as UKIP leader. 

She criticises UKIP, as well as the French Front National, of "rabble rousing" and "using" ordinary people.  

She says the EU needs to find some way of "establishing a link" with those who marched in favour of continued membership, and says the door of the EU should "remain open" to the UK. 

Rebecca Harms
BBC

Former Belgian PM: Current EU 'cannot be defended any more'

Debate on EU leaders' summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian prime minister who leads the Liberal ALDE group, says he finds it "incredible" that Syed Kammall could opine on "what to do in the future" following the Brexit vote. 

He predicts, however, that "women will rescue Britain". 

He says the lesson of the vote should be that the current European Union "cannot be defended any more", and needs to be reformed. 

He cites a recent Eurobarometer survey, which he claims shows that EU citizens actually want increased action at a European level on a number of issues. 

He tells MEPs that without wide-ranging changes, the EU could be "sleepwalking" towards its end, with referendums in every member state, adding: 

Either it will change or it will die."

Guy Verhofstadt
BBC

Socialist MEP: Brexit campaigners 'have left UK in ruins'

Debate on EU leaders' summit

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Gianni Pitella
BBC

The leader of the Socialist and Democrat group, Italian MEP Gianni Pitella, asks President Juncker "not to be intimidated" in the face of the challenges confronting the EU. 

He says that he finds it "absurd" to wait for a new Conservative leader before exit talks begin, and criticises Brexit campaigners for "leaving the whole country in ruins". 

British Conservative Syed Kammall, who leads the ECR group, says his group "does not want the EU to break up" but the bloc must change its ways of working and ask itself "tough questions".

He says that attempts to pressurise the UK into beginning formal exit procedures will "more than justify the decision that the British people have taken". 

Syed Kammall
BBC