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  1. MEPs debated and later approved tighter EU regulations for gun ownership
  2. They also approved their initial position on new EU-wide recycling targets
  3. This afternoon they debated recent US executive order banning federal funds from international groups which perform abortions
  4. Debates also on rules for food safety inspections, and next year's EU budget

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. Thanks for watching

    That's where we leave our live stream of the European Parliament.

    We'll return for more coverage in the morning. In the meantime, thanks for watching.

  2. Coming up later

    That’s all from our live coverage of today’s plenary sitting. You can continue to watch the live stream of the session using the tab above.

    Next, MEPs will be debating what the EU’s priorities should be at forthcoming sessions of the UN’s Human Rights Council.

    Later, they will debate new EU rules on animal welfare, a report from the Parliament’s now-disbanded inquiry committee on tax avoidance, and next year’s EU budget.

    In the evening they will also be discussing food shortages in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, and attempts to harmonise EU use of the 694-790 MHz internet bandwidth.

  3. UKIP MEP: Policy is 'political football' in US

    Debate on US executive order on abortion groups

    European Parliament


    Raymond Finch

    UKIP MEP Raymond Finch says that to call the policy a war on feminism would be "hyperbole", and that the matter has been a "political football" between the two main parties in the United States.

    He adds that the religious groups that strongly oppose abortion in the US have their "analogue" in certain Catholic groups in Europe. 

    He too is critical of holding the debate, saying that it is not the place of the European Parliament to tell the US government what to do. 

    "You would not be pleased if the position were reversed," he adds. 

    Dutch Liberal Sophia in't Veld intervenes to say the debate is more about whether the EU should spend additional money to make up for the shortfall in US spending. 

  4. Abortion 'not an EU competence' - MEP

    Debate on US executive order on abortion groups

    European Parliament


    Beatrix von Storch

    German Conservative Beatrix von Storch questions why the EU would want to provide any money to groups advocating abortion, which she says is "not an EU competence". 

    French Front National MEP Marie-Christine Arnautu says the debate shows MEPs will use "any pretext" to attack Donald Trump. 

    The United States, she adds, is free to "decide on its own criteria" for funding international groups. 

  5. MEPs spar on EU funding

    Debate on US executive order on abortion groups

    European Parliament


    Terry Reintke

    Slovakian Conservative Branislav Skripek says he opposes attempts from the Commission to fund "exporting" abortion around the world. 

    German Green MEP Terry Reintke however accuses Mr Skripek of "insulting family planning groups" who are "doing great work". 

  6. MEPs set out opposition to US order

    Debate on US executive order on abortion groups

    European Parliament


    Linda McAvan

    Swedish centre-right MEP Anna Maria Corazza Bildt says the changes in the law have been greeted by a "chorus of concern" from rights groups and NGOs. 

    She says the EU should "step in" and show "leadership" by making up financial shortfalls for international programmes - a position MEPs supported in a vote on a motion at lunchtime. 

    Labour MEP Linda McAvan, who chairs the Parliament's development committee, is also critical of the policy - saying poorer women will "pay the price" of the executive order. 

    She says that the last time the policy was put in place, the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions in the affected countries increased. 

  7. Commission 'concerned' about effect of US order

    Debate on US executive order on abortion groups

    European Parliament


    Christos Stylianides

    Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides tells MEPs that the Commission is "concerned about the possible implications" of the US policy, particularly on international commitments to work towards universal coverage of reproductive health services, particularity in developing countries. 

    He also says the policy could have ramifications on the UN's sustainable development goals, and the commitment to help women make "more informed decisions" about their health.

    He adds that the EU remains "strongly committed" to global health commitments, and has pledged €20m over the next two years for the United Nations Population Fund

  8. MEPs debate US executive order on abortion groups

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

    MEPs will shortly be joined by Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides to debate President Trump’s executive order last month banning federal money going to international groups which perform or provide information on abortions.

    The policy requires non-governmental organisations receiving federal funding to agree to "neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations".

    It was first introduced by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1984, rescinded under the Clinton administration, reinstated under President George Bush, and ended again by Barack Obama in 2009.

    Demonstrators protest against Trump's executive order
    Image caption: Critics have branded the policy a "global gag rule"
  9. Short speeches begin

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

    This opportunity is normally used by those MEPs who did not get the chance to speak during the main debate.

    This will be followed by a break for lunch, after which the sitting will resume at 14.00 BST.  

  10. MEPs call for new EU laws for farm rabbits

    Voting session

    MEPs also approve a report drafted by the agriculture committee calling for “minimum standards” for rearing farm rabbit to be set out in EU legislation.

    During the vote, they overturn an earlier version of the report which had called simply for specific EU animal welfare guidelines for farm rabbits.

    The report calls for EU states to gradually phase out “conventional battery cages”, which it says constitute a risk to the animals’ welfare.

    The EU currently has general provisions for farm animals, as well as specific rules for pigs, calves, laying hens, broiler chickens – but not rabbits.

    When the report was debated yesterday, Justice Commissioner Vera told MEPs that the EU executive was not minded to introduce new laws in this area. 

    Rabbit in cage
  11. MEPs take position on new recycling targets

    Voting session


    MEPs give their initial backing to legislation which would set new recycling targets for EU member countries.

    In 2015 the EU Commission announced a legal target to recycle or reuse 65% of municipal waste by 2030, with only 10% of the waste allowed to be landfilled.

    MEPs decide to approve amendments suggested by the Parliament’s environment committee.

    However they decide not to put the amended text to a “first reading” vote at this stage, instead opting to start negotiations on the text with national ministers.

    This is a tactic designed to give MEPs a greater chance to find compromises – after “first reading” approval, their ability to find a deal becomes time-limited. 

  12. Tajani announces sanctions for Polish MEP

    European Parliament


    Antonio Tajani

    Also worth noting: another announcement just before the voting session began - Parliament President Antonio Tajani announced a series of sanctions against Polish Janusz Korwin-Mikke for comments he made during a debate earlier this month

    It follows a probe into whether the MEP broke parliamentary rules. 

    The MEP had said that women "must earn less than men because they are weaker, smaller and less intelligent".

    Mr Tajani says that Mr Korwin-Mikke will be denied the daily subsistence allowance for 30 days, and be suspended from parliamentary activities for 10 days.

    In addition, he will be prohibited from representing the Parliament for a year. 

  13. MEPs back new gun rules

    European Parliament



    MEPs give their backing to new EU regulations on gun ownership they agreed with national ministers last December.

    New rules announced after the 2015 Paris attacks would include greater restrictions on so-called “blank-firing” weapons such as signal guns and replicas, which could be turned into real firearms.

    However a proposed ban on lookalike guns was toned down in the final text after objections from MEPs and national governments. 

  14. MEPs approve new rules for mercury use

    European Parliament


    MEPs approve measures that would align EU legislation on the use of mercury with the terms of a 2013 UN agreement called the Minamata Convention.

    The use of mercury in products such as batteries and thermometers is being phased out due to health concerns, but it is still used as a catalyst in certain industries.

    The new rules will introduce stricter criteria for banning mercury exports and its use in manufacturing, and requirements for how mercury waste is stored.

  15. MEPs back calls for EU horse-handling guidelines

    Voting session

    European Parliament


    Horses at Cheltenham

    First up though they approve a report drafted by the agriculture committee which calls on the EU to draw up guidelines for horse and donkey handling.

    The report recommends that the guidelines cover responsible breeding, animal health and welfare standards and how the animals should be used in tourism.

    It says the EU should also collate and provide information on examples of “good practices” in the different member states. 

  16. Votes shortly

    That’s the debate on the EU’s proposed new waste recycling targets finished. MEPs will vote to set out their position on the targets shortly, during today’s voting session. 

  17. Commissioner urges EU to 'take the lead' on recycling

    Debate on new EU recycling targets

    European Parliament


    Wrapping up the debate for the Commission, deputy Commission chief Frans Timmermans urges MEPs to back the "necessary" package of measures put forward by the EU executive. 

    "The longer we wait with the waste package, the higher the cost will be", he adds. 

    Noting that "everybody who is a stakeholder in this is on board", he says he is convinced that if the EU "takes the lead" in this area, then eventually the rest of the world will follow. 

    Frans Timmermans
  18. Italian MEP calls for end to 'scandal' of food waste

    Debate on new EU recycling targets

    European Parliament


    Damiano Zoffoli

    Italian social democrat Damiano Zoffoli picks up on another aspect of the text proposed by the environment - the target of reducing food waste by 50% by 2030.

    Telling MEPs that 90 million tonnes of food are wasted every year in the EU, he says the amount of food thrown away is a "scandal". 

    He adds that as well as targets, there needs to be better education about using food, plus tax breaks to "encourage positive behaviour".   

  19. MEPs split over backing committee position

    Debate on new EU recycling targets

    European Parliament


    British Conservative Julie Girling says that she supports the original targets proposed by the Commission, instead of the higher targets favoured by the environment committee. 

    However, Hungarian Green MEP Benedek Javor gives his backing to the committee's position. 

    He says their revised targets merely reflect the "level of braveness" of previous Commissios led by Jose Manuel Barroso. 

    Benedek Javor