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Summary

  1. The sitting began at 16.00 GMT, when MEPs observed a minute's silence for the victims of recent terrorist attacks and gave final approval to the week's agenda.
  2. The day's first debate was on trade negotiations between members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ahead of next month's ministerial conference in Kenya.
  3. They then debated the implications of an EU trade deal with Vietnam on the human rights of the country's workers, and moves to finalise an EU trade deal with Ecuador.
  4. The sitting closed with presentations of advisory resolutions on aid to reduce child poverty, EU cohesion spending and the EU's role at the United Nations.

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight

    And with that, this evening's sitting draws to a close. 

    MEPs will meet tomorrow at 07.30, when they will first debate last week's report into how well EU states are implementing the Commission's plans for an EU-wide "energy union".

    MEPs will then debate new EU rules increasing the amount of information insurance companies have to give to consumers, which will be put to the vote at lunchtime.

    In the afternoon, MEPs will debate on a report on tax avoidance in the EU, ways to tackle religious radicalisation of EU citizens and the crisis in the European steel industry.  

  2. Short speeches begin

    Finally tonight, there will be a round of short one-minute speeches from backbench MEPs.

    This item of business, traditionally held during the Monday plenary sitting, is normally used by MEPs to make points about topical issues or stories of interest to their country or region. 

  3. Resolution on the EU at the UN

    Finally, Finnish liberal Paavo Väyrynen’s resolution is on boosting the role of the EU at the United Nations. 

    He says he recommends that EU states push to give a "wider mandate" to the UN's Economic and Social Council, which should undergo considerable "structural reform". 

    Paavo Väyrynen
  4. Resolution on EU cohesion spending

    The Parliament's youngest MEP, German Green Terry Reintke, has prepared a resolution calling on the EU to do more to help “marginalised communities” in its cohesion policy.

    She adds that the resolution seeks to give a voice to those who are often overlooked in the allocation of EU funds, and "don't have a lobby in the EU institutions". 

    Cohesion policy is an assortment of various investment schemes designed to reduce economic differences between different regions in the EU.

    It is made up of three main funds, and accounts for around a third of the EU’s budget.

    Although funding is available for all of the EU’s 276 different regions, more money is directed at the poorer areas. 

    Terry Reintke
  5. Child poverty resolution

    Portuguese Communist Party MEP Inês Cristina Zuber’s resolution calls for greater measures at an EU and national level to fight child poverty.

    The draft text calls for national governments to invest more in social protection, health, education and social housing.

    It also says special “child guarantee” funds should be set up for this purpose, and that fighting child poverty should become a “sub-target” of the EU’s 2020 economic strategy. 

    Ms Zuber says late austerity "lies at the heart" of the current levels of child poverty, which she says threatens five million children across the EU. 

    She adds that the Commission should "stop recommending cuts to public administrations in the member states". 

    Inês Cristina Zuber
  6. Advisory resolutions

    That’s the debate on the EU’s animal welfare strategy finished - MEPs will vote on a resolution on Thursday. 

    Next this evening, there will be short presentations of three “own initiative” resolutions from the Parliament’s committees. 

    These non-legislative resolutions are used by parliamentarians and their committees to state their position on policy areas where legislation may emerge from the Commission.

    They are also used to for expressing Parliament’s position on “different aspects of European integration” – meaning quite a broad range of subjects are often covered. 

    Read more here

  7. 'Next steps' to be considered next year

    Adam Sierkierski
    Image caption: Adam Sierkierski

    From the committee, Polish centre-right MEP Czeslaw Adam Sierkierski says MEPs welcomed the announcement of the 2012-2015 strategy, adding that it provided a "clear roadmap" for co-ordinating animal welfare policies. 

    He adds that renewing the strategy would allow "positive developments" achieved so far to be continued. 

    Replying for the Commission, EU food safety commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis says he shares concerns about the upholding of welfare standards. 

    He tells MEPs that the Commission will consider the "next steps" for the existing strategy after the conclusion of a Eurobarometer survey to be held next year. 

    Vytenis Andriukaitis
    Image caption: Vytenis Andriukaitis
  8. Animal protection debate begins

    That’s the debate on the EU’s trade deal with Ecuador finished – MEPs will vote on their resolution on Thursday.

    Next this evening, there’s an oral question from the agriculture and rural development committee about the EU’s animal protection strategy for 2012-2015.

    The committee wants to know whether the Commission intends to renew the strategy for the 2016-2020 period. 

  9. Quotas on bananas

    Another Spaniard, centre-right MEP Gabriel Mato, says he supports the deal with Ecuador, but not "at any cost". 

    In particular, he notes the importance of applying a safeguard clause in the deal to set import quotas on imports of Ecuadorian bananas. 

    He adds that the deal can lead to greater economic prosperity in Ecuador, but that this should not come at the expense of producers in the Canary Islands. 

  10. Support for deal

    Spanish centre-right Santiago Fisas Ayxela says the trade deal with Ecuador should be a "positive agreement for both parties".

    Another Spanish MEP, liberal Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, adds that the deal can contribute to "peace, stability and progress" in the region.

    She also notes the economic potential of the deal, particularly given that the EU is Ecuador's biggest trade partner. 

    Santiago Fisas Ayxela
    Image caption: Santiago Fisas Ayxela
  11. Debate on EU-Ecuador deal

    That’s the debate on the EU’s trade deal with Vietnam finished.

    Next, MEPs will hear a statement from Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom on Ecuador’s planned accession to the EU’s trade deal with Peru and Columbia.

    Under the terms of an agreement struck in July, Ecuador will eventually accede to the deal in the second half of next year.

    The text will have to be ratified by the European Parliament and Ecuador's national assembly.

    Trade talks originally began back in 2007 but were held up after Ecuador decided to pull out in 2009, only to re-enter negotiations at a later stage.

  12. Commissioner: deal can contribute to human rights 'empowerment'

    Replying for the Commission, Commissioner Malmstrom says that "nobody" would deny there are "serious" problems with human rights in Vietnam.

    However, she says the deal can contribute to the "empowerment" of human rights, and notes that the Commission prefers "engagement" with non-EU countries as a tool to further human rights protection.

    She says the Commission will be appointing advisory groups with civil society groups to monitor implementation of the deal on the ground, and will conduct regular evaluation of the deal's impact.

    Commissioner Malmstrom
  13. Engagement v. disengagement

    Italian MEP Teziana Beghin says she cannot believe the EU has decided to "reward" Vietnam with a trade deal given its "terrifying" human rights record.

    "What we're seeing once again is an agreement with a dictator", she adds. 

    However, Labour MEP David Martin says the deal should allow more effective "constructive engagement" with the country. 

    He adds that not only does this mean that the deal can be good in economic terms, but can also provide a means to improve the country's human rights record. 

  14. Trade deal 'first of its kind'

    Dutch liberal Marietje Schaake says the trade deal with Communist-run Vietnam is the "first of its kind" with a developing country. 

    She adds that although she supports the deal, there is "a lot that has to be improved" when it comes to the country's human rights record, particularly regarding torture and the treatment of the media. 

    She says there is a need for careful monitoring on human rights standards in the country after the deal is implemented. 

    Marietje Schaake
  15. Human rights standards will 'underpin' deal

    EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom tells MEPs that the Commission is committed to respecting human rights standards  in "all" its dealings with non-EU countries.  

    She adds that there was a "stakeholder consultation" on human rights issues in the deal held back in May, whose recommendations have been incorporated in the text.

    She argues that human rights issues "have been addressed" in the text, notably in its "institutional and legal link" with a previous partnership agreement that contains a number of human rights rules. 

    She adds that this will ensure that human rights standards "underpin" the deal. 

    Cecilia Malmstrom
  16. Human rights and the EU's Vietnam deal

    The deal has also come in for some criticism from human rights groups, who have complained about the Commission not carrying out an “impact assessment” into the likely effect it would have on human rights in the country.  

    European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly recommended in March that such an assessment is carried out before the deal is concluded.

    The European Commission says the deal does include clauses to protect the rights of Vietnamese workers and ensure sustainable management of natural resources.    

    The EU has a treaty commitment to promote human rights in its "relations with the wider world", including in the trade deals it strikes with countries outside the EU.

    According to the treaties, the European Parliament is also tasked with monitoring how these commitments are being implemented. 

    Vietnamese workers in a Nike factory
    Image caption: Footwear and clothing are major exports from Vietnam to the EU
  17. Committee chair welcomes 'very good' agreement

    Trade committee chair Bernd Lange is on his feet again, this time as the "rapporteur" of the resolution on the trade deal that will be put to the vote tomorrow. 

    He hails the deal as a "very good agreement" that contains a "clear reference" to the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights in its preamble. 

    He adds that questions remain, however, of how to make the EU's human rights "dialogue" with the country more effective. 

    Bernd Lange
  18. Debate on EU-Vietnam trade deal begins

    That’s the debate on the Doha trade talks finished. MEPs will vote on the resolution on Thursday.

    Next, MEPs are debating levels of human rights protection in the EU’s recently-agreed trade deal with Vietnam.

    The deal will remove nearly all tariffs on goods traded between the EU and Vietnam. Their annual trade is worth about €28bn (£20bn; $30bn).

    The agreement, which still needs to be ratified by member states and the European Parliament, is expected to take effect in late 2017 or early 2018. 

  19. Commissioner: UK gets 'leverage' from EU trade negotiations

    Summing up the debate, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom says that the Commission remains "very committed" to the multilateral trading system.

    She says that it is important that a focus on development leads to "the poorest countries in the world" reaping the benefits of globalisation. 

    Responding to the points made by UKIP MEPs about the UK's inability to negotiate its own bilateral trade deals, she says that member states gain "quite a lot of leverage" by speaking with one voice on trade matters. 

    Cecilia Malmstrom
  20. MEP hails 'symbolism' of Nairobi talks

    Labour MEP David Martin tells MEPs they should not ignore the "symbolism" of next month's talks in Nairobi, which will be the first ministerial conference the WTO has held in Africa. 

    He says the EU should use the conference as an opportunity to put development "firmly" back on the agenda of world trade talks. 

    Centre-right MEP Christofer Fjellner says it is important to make the Nairobi talks successful for the long-term future of the WTO. 

    He adds that "now, more than ever" there is a need "global instruments" to "bring some order" to the overlapping rules created by various bilateral trade deals. 

    David Martin
    Image caption: David Martin
  21. Globalisation and human rights

    Spanish Socialist Inmaculada Rodriguez-Pinero Fernandez says that EU "must remain committed to multilateralism" in world trade talks. 

    German Conservative Hans-Olaf Henkel says that MEPs should remember that globalisation has not just had an effect on global investment, but has also contributed to the spread of ideas. 

    He adds that this spreading of ideas has led to the promotion of human rights as a "global issue". 

    Inmaculada Rodriguez-Pinero Fernandez
  22. EU a 'roadblock to freer trade'

    German left-winger Helmut Scholz says he fears that "not a great deal" will come out of conference.

    Stating that the "old concept of free trade" has failed, he says countries like India cannot be blamed for blocking deals out of a wish to "feed its population" rather than "speculating on world markets".

    UKIP's Bill Dartmouth however says that he sees the EU as a "roadblock to freer trade".

    He adds that the bloc's tariffs on trade with non-EU countries are so high as to amount to "protectionism", and argues that this has led to higher prices for UK consumers. 

    Helmut Scholz
    Bill Dartmouth
  23. Conference could be 'damp squib'

    British Conservative Emma McLarkin tells MEPs that European citizens "want the barriers to trade removed" around the world. 

    However, she says the Doha talks have failed, with a risk that next month's conference could turn out to be a "damp squib".

    Instead, she calls for a "new, reinvigorated agenda" at WTO level to promote development, whilst continuing to "press ahead" with multilateral talks. 

    Emma McLarkin
  24. Trade committee chair highlights need for development focus

    German social democrat and trade committee chairman Bernd Lange says he wonders whether at next month's conference the "lights will go out" on the WTO's Doha Development Agenda.

    The “Agenda” is the semi-official name for the WTO talks focused on improving the trading prospects of developing countries.

    Mr Lange says that it is important not to give up on the talks, noting that development must be given priority in trade talks, particularly given its impact on migration to Europe.  

    Bernd Lange
  25. Commissioner vows to free trade from 'constraints'

    EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom says next month's talks come at a "crucial moment" for the WTO. 

    She tells MEPs it will have a "strong bearing" on the future of the multilateral world trading system. 

    She says the EU will head to the talks seeking to free the WTO from "constraints" that have been limiting it "for a number of years".

    She adds that, alongside Brazil, the EU has tabled a "comprehensive solution" to dealing with the question of subsidies in the agricultural sector that have blocked deals in the past. 

    Cecilia Malmstrom
  26. Debate on WTO trade talks begins

    With the week’s agenda agreed, MEPs will now hear a statement from Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom about the continuing trade negotiations between members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

    The negotiations, first launched in the Qatari capital of Doha in November 2001, will continue at a ministerial conference in Kenya next month. 

    MEPs will set out their views on the current state of negotiations in a resolution vote on Thursday. 

  27. MEPs add animal welfare resolution

    On behalf of the left-wing GUE group, Dutch MEP Anja Hazekamp requests that this evening’s debate on animal welfare is wound up with a vote on a resolution.

    Following an electronic vote, the request is approved by 149 votes to 139. 

    Anja Hazekamp
  28. MEPs mourn terrorism victims

    Parliament President Martin Schulz opens the sitting by paying tribute to those who lost their lives during the terror attacks in Paris earlier this month.

    He describes the attacks as "unprecedented and extremely brutal", and says the Parliament would like to "reiterate its solidarity with the French nation".

    He also commemorates the victims of those killed during the attack on a hotel in the Malian capital of Bamako last week. 

    "Every victim is equal", he adds, before asking MEPs to join him in observing a minute's silence. 

    MEPs observe minute's silence
  29. Good afternoon

    Hello and welcome to coverage of today’s plenary sitting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. 

    The sitting will begin shortly with administrative announcements, after which MEPs will have the chance to request additions or changes to this week’s agenda or make points of order.

    Proposals to add a debate to the agenda have to be made to the President at least one hour before the sitting opens, 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 and can be done on a show of hands.