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Summary

  1. MEPs review Malta's time in charge of EU presidency
  2. Jean-Claude Juncker blasts MEPs over poor turnout for morning debate
  3. MEPs give initial backing to new EU tax transparency rules
  4. Mariya Gabriel formally approved as new Bulgarian commissioner
  5. Next year's EU legislation and budget debated in afternoon

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight & Coming up tomorrow

    With that, tonight's sitting comes to an end.

    MEPs will be back tomorrow at 08.00 BST, when they will be debating this week's G20 summit in Hamburg.

    European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker have pulled out to attend the funeral of former MEP Simone Veil.

    Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas will join MEPs to preview his country's EU presidency, which begins this month.

    MEPs will set out their legislative wish-list for 2018 at a vote at lunchtime.

  2. MEPs debate new powers to prosecute fraud

    Finally tonight, MEPs are debating legislation that would introduce new definitions for offences against the EU budget.

    The rule change is intended to make it easier to bring prosecutions against people who misuse EU funds or commit fraud.

    The law, which will be put to a final vote tomorrow, will create new powers to be used by a new EU body to be set up by 16 member states.

    The creation of a European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) had gridlocked for years due to opposition from national governments including the UK.

    However, an EPPO will now be set up under an EU procedure which allows willing countries to seek greater ties.

  3. Debate on UN General Assembly begins

    Next MEPs are debating a motion with recommendations for the EU position at the forthcoming meeting of the UN General Assembly in September.

  4. MEPs debate use of cultural ties in diplomacy

    Next up tonight, MEPs are debating a motion from two parliamentary committees calling for the EU to make better use of culture in its diplomatic relations.

    The report, whose recommendations are only advisory, advocates the creation of a cultural visa programme to allow certain non-EU nationals to travel to Europe.

    It also calls for a section of the EU budget to be dedicated to “supporting international cultural relations”.

  5. Mogherini: Rights 'integral' to EU-Cuba agreement

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Federica Mogherini

    EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says that relations between the EU and Cuba have seen a "step change" in recent years.

    As well as facilitating more investment and building social ties, she says the new agreement will give rights groups in the country a "channel for dialogue and co-operation".

    She seeks to assure MEPs that expectations on political rights are an "integral part" of the agreement.

  6. MEP: EU should make Cuba 'open up'

    Debate on EU-Cuba agreement

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Tunne Kelam

    Centre-right Estonian MEP Tunne Kelam says that, as a large trading partner, the EU is in a position to pressure Cuba into "opening up".

    He says EU relations with non-democratic countries need to be based on a balance between boosting economic ties and improving rights - but this is "not yet there" in the case of Cuba.

    He says that, despite in increase in exports, the situation regarding political rights in Cuba has not improved.

    Right groups expect the EU to "take the side of the Cuban people", rather than the government, he says.

  7. MEPs debate EU-Cuba agreement

    Cuba"s Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla signs an EU co-operation deal

    MEPs are now debating EU relations with Cuba ahead of tomorrow’s vote on whether to ratify a co-operation agreement with the island.

    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.

  8. MEPs debate Saudi Arabia role on women's group

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides has joined MEPs to debate the recent election of Saudi Arabia to the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

    The appointment of Saudi Arabia, in a secret ballot, has drawn criticism because of the country’s gender rights record.

    The country strictly enforces a policy of gender segregation between unrelated men and women.

    Its term is due to begin next year and last until 2022. It comes after the country was recently re-elected to the UN’s human rights council.

  9. How is the EU budget set?

    Piggy Bank

    The EU budget for each year must be within the limits specified by the long-term budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which runs over a seven-year period.

    Some have suggested that this should be reduced to five years to make it easier to reflect political priorities in how money is spent.

    The European Parliament must approve the annual budgets before they can come into force.

    The long process over setting the budget normally begins each spring, when the European Commission publishes its initial draft proposals.

    The national governments then take an initial position, normally in the summer, before the Parliament adopts its stance in the autumn.

    If there is a difference between the positions, then “conciliation” talks begin, where the various participants thrash out their differences behind closed doors.

  10. National authorities should cut out EU 'middle man' - MEP

    Debate on 2018 EU budget

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Jonathan Arnott

    UKIP's Jonathan Arnott says the EU budget is "much too high" and criticises money spent on "political" EU information campaigns and grants to candidate countries.

    He says MEPs should ask whether money might be spent more effectively by "cutting out the middle man" and keeping the cash in the hands of national authorities to spend directly.

    More should be done to assess those spending projects which have "actually added value" by being done at an EU level, he adds.

  11. MEP: Across-the-board cuts 'clearly irresponsible'

    Debate on 2018 EU budget

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Siegfried Mursesan

    Centre-right Romanian MEP Siegfried Mursesan, who is Parliament's lead negotiator for this year's talks says he would oppose the practice of making "automatic cuts to all budgetary lines".

    He says this has been suggested by national governments consistently in recent years, but is "clearly irresponsible" and does not reflect that spending should show political priorities.

    He says the European Parliament will have two priorities in the forthcoming talks: more investment to boost employment, and more spending on security.

  12. MEPs debate next year's EU budget

    Euro note

    Budgetary matters will remain on the menu this afternoon for a little while longer, as MEPs debate next year’s annual budget.

    Tomorrow MEPs will vote on a motion to set out their initial position on spending for 2018, ahead of the start of negotiations with national ministers and the EU Commission.

    Governments are expected to take their position later this summer.

    The European Commission suggested in May that the budget should be set at €161bn for new budgetary commitments, with payments made during the year to total €145bn.

  13. Don't 'rob Peter to pay Paul' - MEP

    Debate on the future of the EU budget

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Mairead McGuinness

    Irish Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness says she is glad that the Commission's paper is "not all pessimistic".

    She says that adopting an attitude of "robbing Peter to pay Paul" would be unhelpful - and says money should not be taken from agriculture spending to make up for shortfalls elsewhere.

  14. Catalan MEP: EU budget 'should be more autonomous'

    Debate on the future of the EU budget

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Jordi Sole

    Catalan nationalist Jordi Sole says that Brexit should be seen as an opportunity to create an EU budget that is "more autonomous" of contributions from member states.

    He suggests this could be done by boosting ways for the EU to raise more of its own revenue.

    The DUP's leader in the assembly, Diane Dodds, says if the Commission goes down a "predictable path" of creating new spending priorities after Brexit, the budget shortfall could balloon to €25bn.

    The budget needs to serve taxpayers as well as the "federalist ambitions of some", she adds.

  15. Commissioner: 'Logical' to get rid of all rebates after Brexit

    Debate on future of EU budget

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Gunther Oettinger

    Budget commissioner Gunther Oettinger says that "initial choices" for the future of the budget will be outlined in Jean-Claude Juncker's next "state of the union" speech in September.

    Firmer plans will be launched in the first three months of next year, he continues.

    He adds that the legal and financial implications of Brexit will have to be known before the EU can adopt a new framework for its long-term budget, known as the MFF.

    He says there is a "logical incentive" to get rid of the various national rebates after Brexit, as he says these only came about because of the one applied to the UK. He goes on to say:

    Quote Message: This is the mother of all rebates - maybe we should lose the children."
  16. MEPs debate future of EU budget

    Günther Oettinger
    Image caption: Mr Oettinger said Brexit would have "consequences" for EU spending

    MEPs are now debating another paper from the European Commission, this time on the future of the EU’s budget.

    Launching the paper last week, the budget commissioner said the UK's departure from the EU will leave a budget shortfall of at least €10bn.

    Günther Oettinger said the bloc must either spend less or find new money to fill the gap, equivalent to an estimated 16% of the entire budget.

    Among the options on the table could be less generous payments to farmers or a tax on financial transactions.

  17. UK should 'stay plugged in' to EU plans after Brexit

    Debate on EU defence fund

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Conservative MEP Charles Tannock, who sits on the foreign affairs committee, says he hopes the UK can stay "as plugged in as possible" to the EU's common defence and foreign policies after Brexit.

    German social democrat Knut Fleckenstein says that the debate over the 2% of GDP Nato defence target should be separate from what is in the EU document.

    He adds that the ideas floated by the European Commission are not about increasing military intervention but more support for "civil peacekeeping means".

    Knut Fleckenstein
  18. Plans 'all about political integration' - Tory MEP

    Debate on EU defence fund

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Geoffrey van Orden

    British Conservative MEP Geoffrey van Orden questions the need for EU defence co-operation, given the well established Nato alliance.

    "We all know it's about European political integration", he adds, and that politicians should "come clean" on this.

  19. Mogherini: EU can help 'efficiency' of national military spending

    Debate on EU defence fund

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Federica Mogherini

    Responding for the European Commission, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says that greater security comes out as a public priority in Eurobarometer surveys.

    She says the Commission's plans will "not lead to militarisation of the European Union" - nor an EU army.

    She tells MEPs that greater defence spending is a matter for national governments, not the EU institutions - but that the EU can help countries "spend better" and "more efficiently", adding:

    Quote Message: this is not about militarising, this is about rationalising"
  20. EU militarisation 'not what citizens want' - MEP

    Debate on EU defence fund

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Sabine Losing

    German left-wing MEP Sabine Losing says the defence fund is the "scaffold" for greater militarisation of the EU - which is "not what citizens want".

    She says that the matter of security should also include social security - an area where the EU has "not much to offer".

    The money used on new weapons, she says, could be "more urgently used elsewhere".