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Summary

  1. Hungarian PM joins MEPs for debate on new law threatening CEU university in Budapest
  2. Frans Timmermans announces EU legal action against Hungary over the measure
  3. MEPs discuss plans to change EU employment rules
  4. Debate follows on constitutional referendum in EU applicant Turkey
  5. Evening sees debates on whether to sign off spending by EU bodies

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. MEPs to debate future of Hungarian university

    Debate on Central European University

    Protesters in Budapest

    With the agenda approved, MEPs have been joined by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to debate new legislation in Hungary which threatens the future of the English-speaking Central European University (CEU).

    New rules introduced by his governing right-wing Fidesz party mean the CEU would be unable to award diplomas because it is registered in the United States.

    The university was founded by Hungarian-born philanthropist George Soros – accused by the government of wanting a role in Hungarian politics and supporting the influx of migrants into Europe.

    Earlier this month thousands of people protested against the plans in Budapest, calling on President Janos Ader not to sign the new law.

    Yesterday five of the European Parliament’s political groups hosted a public event with CEU President Michael Ignatieff. EU commissioners discussed potential action this morning. 

  2. MEPs tweak agenda

    Opening of the sitting

    European Parliament

    Brussels

    Antonio Tajani

    On behalf of the political groups, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani suggests that this afternoon's debate on new employment rules is brought forward, before the debate on Turkey. 

    The change to the agenda is approved unopposed. 

    MEPs also approve a suggestion that the European Parliament should adopt a motion on the situation in Hungary at a plenary sitting next month. 

    However they reject having a debate during this sitting on the bombing of two Coptic Christian churches in Cairo over Easter weekend. 

  3. Good afternoon

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

    The sitting will be getting underway shortly with administrative announcements, after which MEPs can make points of order or request changes to the agenda.

    Proposed changes must be made at least one hour before the sitting starts, 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 – this can be done on a show of hands.