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Summary

  1. MEPs debate new copyright rules for books to blind associations
  2. Three motions on topical human rights approved
  3. They call for EU to suspend membership talks with Turkey if constitutional changes proceed 'unchanged'
  4. MEPs also decide to set up new committee to examine EU anti-terror measures

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodbye

    That's all for our coverage of today's plenary sitting, the final full session before the summer recess.

    The Parliament's committees will continue to sit for a bit longer, but the next plenary sitting will be between 11-14 September.

  2. Short speeches begin

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

  3. MEPs pass human rights motions

    Voting session

    MEPs also pass the three human rights motions they debated this morning, which:

    • call on China to release Chinese Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo
    • condemn “systematic, widespread and gross” human rights violations in Eritrea
    • condemn violence in Burundi.
  4. MEPs decide to set up new anti-terrorism committee

    Voting session

    By 527 votes to 73 with 36 abstentions, MEPs have backed calls for the European Parliament to set up a dedicated committee to explore ways to tackle terrorism.

    The new body will have a mandate to explore "potential faults and malfunctions" in security operations that "have allowed the recent terrorist attacks" in Europe.

    Vote result
  5. MEPs issue warning on Turkish constitutional changes

    Voting session

    Protests in Istanbul
    Image caption: Voters in Turkey's three biggest cities opposed the changes

    First up, however, MEPs pass a report calling for Turkey’s EU accession talks to be suspended if new constitutional changes increasing the president’s powers are “implemented unchanged”.

    However, amendments to the report calling for talks to end permanently are rejected.

    The report, whose recommendations are not binding on governments or the EU Commission, was compiled by the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee.

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

    The European Parliament has already called for a “temporary freeze” on talks because of the government’s actions in the aftermath of the coup.

  6. Votes soon

    That’s the debate on this month’s draft human rights motions finished – all three will be put to a vote shortly during the voting session.

  7. MEPs debate violence in Burundi

    Human rights motions

    President Pierre Nkurunziza
    Image caption: Opponents say President Nkurunziza's third term is unconstitutional

    The third and final motion condemns “acts of violence, killings and other human rights abuses” in Burundi.

    Hundreds of people, including high-ranking army officials, have been killed in unrest since President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term in 2015.

    The draft motion also calls on Burundi to reverse its decision to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC).

    The country made the announcement six months after the court's prosecutor said she would investigate ongoing violence in the country.

  8. Commissioner 'not ready' to give answer on EU aid

    Debate on human rights motions

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Christos Stylianides

    Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides tells MEPs that the EU is "concerned" about the respect of human rights in Eritrea.

    The issue "features regularly in our political dialogue" with Eritrea, he adds.

    After he has finished speaking, French left-wing MEP Christine Vergiat intervenes to say he hasn't provided an answer to the question about EU funding.

    Commissioner Stylianides says he is "not ready" to give an immediate answer on this, but pledges to reply in writing.

  9. MEPs debate EU relations with Eritrea after crackdown

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    The second draft motion condemns “systematic, widespread and gross” human rights violations in Eritrea.

    It calls for the immediate release of people detained since a crackdown on dissidents in 2001, including dual Eritrean-Swedish journalist Dawit Isaak.

    It also says that Eritrea should be respect international rights obligations before it receives any further aid from the EU.

    It also asks the EU’s Council of Ministers to publish the “tangible outcomes” from aid programmes over recent years.

  10. MEPs debate motion calling for release of Chinese writer

    Protesters calling for Liu Xiaobo's release in Hong Kong
    Image caption: Protesters called for Liu Xiaobo's release in Hong Kong this week

    The first draft motion calls on China to release Chinese Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, who was jailed for 11 years in 2009 on subversion charges for calling for greater democracy.

    Mr Liu, who was a key leader in the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, won the Nobel peace prize in 2010. His wife Liu Xia has been under house arrest since then - but has never been charged.

    Mr Liu was diagnosed with cancer in May, and later was released on medical parole to be treated by tumour experts in Shenyang's hospital.

    The motion also calls for the release of Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che.

    China said in March that it was detaining Mr Lee under investigation on suspicion of harming national. He had gone missing in the south of the country earlier in the month.

  11. Human rights debates begin

    That’s the debate about Norway’s whale hunting operations finished.

    MEPs will now hold short debates on this month’s three topical motions on human rights cases.

  12. Norway's whaling 'problematic' for EU - Commissioner

    Debate on Norwegian whale hunting

    Christos Stylianides

    Commissioner Christos Stylianides tells MEPs that it is "problematic" that Norway has become the world's "most prolific" whale hunting nation.

    He says Norway has caught more whales in the last two years than Japan and Iceland combined.

    He adds that the EU has "consistently supported" the international moratorium and has banned all whale hunting in EU waters.

    The EU has "made its position clear" to Norway, he says.

    However he says that it is legal for whale meat to pass through EU ports, provided that the authorities check that exporters have the relevant legal permits.

  13. MEPs debate Norwegian whale hunting

    Minke whale

    Next up this morning, Commissioner Stylianides will stay with MEPs to debate whale hunting off the coast of Norway, which is not in the EU but is part of the European Economic Area (EEA).

    The International Whaling Commission (IWC) agreed a moratorium on commercial whaling from 1986 – but is rejected by the country.

    Centre-right Finnish MEP Sirpa Pietikainen kicks the debate off by asking the European Commission what it is doing to put pressure on Norway to stop its "unacceptable" whaling practices.

    She also asks whether the EU is "facilitating" the trade in a protected species why allowing whale meat to pass through its ports.

  14. What are the new rules?

    Debate on new EU copyright rules

    Ebook

    As MEPs had called for, the new legislation will apply to books in “digital format” as well as books in print.

    Contrary to the Parliament’s initial position, however, national governments will have the option of putting in place compensation schemes for publishers.

    Implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty has been held up after a legal challenge from eight member states who contested that the matter was an exclusive EU competence.

    However, the European Court of Justice said in a ruling earlier this year that the EU should be able to do this, since it would affect common rules.

  15. Good morning

    Person reading book in Braille

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

    First up this morning, MEPs will be debating proposed changes to EU copyright rules designed to make it easier for blind and visually impaired people to get access to books.

    The changes are designed to implement commitments made by the EU when it signed up to the Marrakesh Treaty in 2014.

    The new rules will make it possible for accessible books to be made available across the EU to authorised blind organisations without prior permission from rights-holders.

    MEPs have agreed a deal on the new rules with national ministers, which they will put to a final vote later this morning.