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Summary

  1. MEPs called for tougher emissions targets on carmarkers to apply after 2020
  2. Debate on the forthcoming EU summit in Brussels later this month
  3. MEPs criticised UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's likening of the EU to the Soviet Union

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. What happened this week at the European Parliament?

    With another plenary sitting due later this month, the agenda was fairly quiet this week.

    The main bout of legislating came on Wednesday, when MEPs called for tougher emissions targets on carmarkers to apply after 2020.

    The European Commission says new vehicles should emit 30% less CO2 by 2030 - but MEPs backed an amendment to up the target to 40%.

    They will now take this into what are likely to be tough negotiations with national governments, who must also agree to the new target.

    On Tuesday MEPs debated the forthcoming EU summit in Brussels later this month, which has been billed as a "moment of truth" in the Brexit talks.

    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU side still wanted a deal.

    However a number of MEPs criticised UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's likening of the EU to the Soviet Union, with several calling on him to apologise

  2. Votes end

    And with that, today's voting session comes to an end.

    There is just one short debate this afternoon - on animal welfare standards for battery-farmed chickens.

    However, that's where we end our coverage from the European Parliament for today.

  3. MEPs back EU action to recover 'unpaid customs duties' from UK

    Voting session

    Containers on a ship at Southampton port

    MEPs also pass a motion backing the European Commission in its bid to get the UK to pay €2.7bn to cover customs duties it says it is owed due to fraud.

    By a large majority, they approve a clause welcoming disciplinary action launched in March, which is contained in a non-binding motion on fighting fraud against the EU budget.

    It comes after the Commission threatened last week to take the UK to court over the matter unless it acts to settle the issue within the next two months.

    It has accused the UK of doing too little to prevent so-called undervaluation fraud on shoes and textiles imports from China between 2011 and 2017.

    EU anti-fraud investigators found organised crime groups had been using fake invoices to undervalue Chinese goods, many of which were destined for the black market in other parts of the EU.

    The European Commission said the fraud deprived the EU budget of €2.7bn it would have otherwise received from the UK as a contribution from tariffs.

    The UK has contested the claims and says it does not recognise the sum demanded.

  4. MEPs pass new confiscation order rules

    Voting session

    MEPs give final approval to new rules which aim to make it easier for national orders confiscating the proceeds of crime to be recognised in other EU states.

    The European Parliament reached a deal on the changes with national ministers in June.

    New legislation introduces standardised certificates and tighter deadlines in a bid to ensure orders are recognised and implemented in other countries.

    EU police co-operation agency Europol estimated in 2016 that 98% of criminal profits are not confiscated.

  5. MEPs pass human rights motions

    Voting session

    First up MEPs pass the three human rights motions presented this morning which:

    • call on Belarus to lift a block on an opposition news website imposed earlier this year
    • call on the UAE to release an activist imprisoned for "defaming" the country on social media
    • call on China to end the “mass arbitrary detention” of Muslim Uighurs in detention camps
  6. Votes soon

    With the debates on the human rights motions finished, MEPs are now taking their seats for today’s voting session, which will get underway shortly.

  7. MEP: 'Nobody dares' question China on rights abuses

    Debate on human rights motions

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Ignazio Corrao

    Italian MEP Ignazio Corrao, from the Five Star movement, says the pretext of clamping down on extremists has been used to detain people guilty of "not being Han Chinese".

    He says that "nobody dares" to enforce boundaries on human rights abuses in China.

    Italian social democrat Michela Giuffrida accuses China of attempting to "delete" the Uighers from history.

  8. MEPs debate motion on Uighur detention camps

    A protest against the treatment of Uighurs in Mumbai
    Image caption: The treatment of Uighurs has prompted protests in India

    The third and final motion calls on China to end the “mass arbitrary detention” of Muslim Uighur and Kazakh minorities in ‘re-education’ camps.

    A UN committee heard reports last month that up to one million Uighurs were held in camps in western Xinjiang region.

    Beijing has denied the number of detainees but admitted that some religious extremists were being held for re-education.

    MEPs’ motion says there is no legal justification for the camps and expresses concern about allegations of poor conditions, torture and deaths inside them.

  9. MEPs debate motion on detained activist in UAE

    The second motion calls on the United Arab Emirates to release an activist who has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for "defaming" the country on social media.

    Ahmed Mansoor, a 48-year-old father of four, was sentenced in May.

    Local media reported that he had been found guilty of using social media sites to "publish false information that damages the country's reputation" and to "spread hatred and sectarianism”.

    MEPs’ draft motion says Mr Mansoor was simply “exercising his right to freedom of expression”, and describes his trial as “grossly unfair”.

  10. Commissioner: No improvement to media laws

    Debate on human rights motions

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Elzbieta Bienkowska

    Representing the EU Commission, Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska says the body remains "attentive" to the rights situation in Belarus.

    The Commission believes the best way to make progress on rights issues is through "enhanced co-operation", she tells MEPs.

    However, she says an increased willingness on the part of Belarus to engage in "dialogue" has so far "unfortunately" not led to improvements to media laws.

    She says respect for the right of expression will remain "key" to EU policy towards Belarus.

  11. MEPs debate motion on media freedom in Belarus

    The first motion calls on Belarus to immediately lift a block on opposition news website Charter 97 imposed earlier this year.

    The resolution expresses concern about a worsening climate for journalists in the former Soviet republic, and expresses concern about a new media law passed in June.

    It says the legislation, due to come into force in December, will impose “further bureaucratic hurdles” for websites wanting to register as media outlets.

    The changes, it says, are being used to “tighten control over the internet”.

  12. Romanian MEP: EU guidance 'too general'

    Debate on public procurement rules

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Maria Grapini

    Centre-left Romanian MEP Maria Grapini says the EU's procurement guidance adopted four years ago was "a little too general".

    It left public authorities with "wiggle room" to diverge away from each other, she says.

    Labour MEP Rory Palmer says it is important to make the public procurement process "more accessible" to smaller companies, and adopt guarantees contracts will not perpetuate modern slavery.

    Conservative MEP Rupert Matthews says smaller companies can offer a "good deal" to government and local workers, but are often "excluded" from procurement.

  13. MEP: Procurement rules need to be better applied

    Debate on public procurement rules

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Carlos Coelho

    Portuguese social democrat Carlos Coelho, who drafted the report on behalf of the internal market committee, says four years on, the uptake of some reforms has been "disappointing".

    There is no need for new EU rules but the ones already in place need to be better applied, he says.

    There have also been some infringement cases launched against public authorities over "protectionism" in awarding contracts and a lack of transparency, he adds.

    He says "quite often" government bodies are awarding contracts based on the lowest price alone, rather than bearing in mind environmental or "strategic" interests.

  14. Good morning

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

    First up this morning MEPs are debating a motion which accuses governments of slow implementation of a 2014 overhaul of the EU’s public procurement regime.

    The draft motion also expresses concern about whether member states will meet forthcoming deadlines to move to electronic procurement systems.

  15. Goodnight & coming up tomorrow...

    And with that, tonight's sitting comes to an end.

    MEPs will be back tomorrow, when they will first be debating a 2014 overhaul of the EU's rules for public procurement by governments and local bodies.

    An advisory motion which will be voted on later in the day expresses concern about the slow adoption of electronic procurement systems.

  16. 'An attack on the UK' - UKIP MEP

    Debate on EU action to recover duties from fraud

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Green MEP Molly Scott Cato says the UK's response to the EU's allegations has been "willfully ignorant" and it has shown a poor level of co-operation.

    The case sets a "worrying precedent" at a time when the UK is seeking to persuade the EU to allow it to collect EU tariffs on goods destined for the continent after Brexit, she says.

    UKIP's Jonathan Bullock however says the case is "trumped up" and is "an attack on the UK".

    "This is about squeezing every penny from the UK's coffers before Brexit," he says.

    The vote on the motion tomorrow, he adds, constitutes "political interference".

  17. Polish MEP decries 'federalist' ambitions of motion

    Debate on EU action to recover duties from fraud

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Spanish Socialist MEP Ines Ayala Sender backs the EU action against the UK, adding that any fraud would have also short-changed the UK exchequer.

    Polish conservative Ryszard Czarnecki takes issue with a clause in tomorrow's motion which advocates transferring greater responsibility for tariff collection to an EU level.

    He says this would be too great a move towards a "federalist Europe".

  18. Commissioner: EU action 'nothing to do with Brexit'

    Debate on EU action to recover duties from fraud

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Gunther Oettinger

    EU budget commissioner Gunther Oettinger says the EU takes protecting the income it receives from duties on imports from outside the bloc "very seriously".

    The UK, he says, had been "repeatedly been warned" it had not done enough to prevent fraud.

    The threat to take action against the UK, he adds, has "nothing to do with Brexit" but is about ensuring fairness by making sure EU law is correctly applied.

    The Commission would do "the same thing" with other countries, he tells MEPs.

  19. MEPs debate EU efforts to recover 'unpaid customs duty'

    Finally tonight, MEPs are debating an advisory motion calling on the EU Commission to take “all necessary measures” to recover customs duties lost to fraud.

    The motion welcomes EU action launched in March to get the UK to pay €2.7bn to cover unpaid customs duties it says are linked to fraud.

    The Commission says the sum relates to unpaid tariffs on shoes and textiles imported from China between November 2011 and October 2017.

    It has accused the UK of doing too little to prevent fraud after it was warned about the problem by the EU's watchdog Olaf in 2017.

    HM Revenue and Customs said it did not recognise the Commission's estimate of what it owed.

    Last week the Commission threatened to take the UK to the EU’s top court over the matter unless it was resolved in two months.

  20. MEPs debate funding to local authorities receiving migrants

    Migrant camp near Rome

    MEPs are now debating what support the EU should provide to local authorities who have received migrants and refugees.

    Members of the left-wing GUE and Green groups say such authorities have been left to provide services without adequate funding from their national governments.

    They want the European Commission to explore giving such local authorities direct access to funds from the EU budget for providing housing, education and healthcare.