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Summary

  1. The sitting began at 07.30 GMT, when MEPs were joined by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to debate how the EU should respond to the terror attacks earlier this month in Paris.
  2. MEPs heared a scheduled speech from Italian President Sergio Mattarella at 11.00 GMT, before ratifying the EU's budget for 2016 at the lunchtime voting session.
  3. The afternoon sitting saw debates on the Valetta summit on migration that took place earlier this month, and external relations debates on events in Burundi, Myanmar, Georgia and Moldova.
  4. The evening session closed with a debate on EU financial support towards providing education for children in countries undergoing protracted crises.

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight

    And with that, tonight's plenary sitting draws to a close. 

    MEPs will be back tomorrow for the final day of this week's plenary session, when they will be debating the annual report of the European Court of Auditors (ECA) on spending of EU funds during 2014.

    The report found that 4.4% of EU funds were mis-spent, slightly down on the level for 2013, but once again higher than the ECA's 2% threshold below which errors are considered to be "tolerable".

    MEPs will debate resolutions on topical human rights cases in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Bangladesh before the sitting closes at lunchtime with the voting session. 

  2. Commissioner announces schools funding rise

    Opening the final debate tonight, Commissioner Stylianides tells MEPs that he strongly believes that education can be the "most powerful tool to protect children" from hardships, including forced marriages and radicalisation. 

    He also says that lack of access to education is also a major driver behind migration to Europe, with 34 million children currently out of schools due to humanitarian crises. 

    He says the money the EU spends on emergency education has increased from €2m in 2012 to around €11m today. 

    He adds that he is happy to announce that the Commission is bringing forward spending to meet a UN target of spending 4% of its humanitarian aid budget on the sector. 

    He says this target will now be met next year, instead of in 2019 as initially planned. 

    Commissioner Stylianides
  3. Debate on education support begins

    That’s the debate on the situation in Moldova finished.

    Finally tonight, MEPs are going to be debating EU financial support towards providing education for children in countries undergoing protracted crises.

    In an oral question, the Parliament’s development committee has asked the Commission what it intends to do to ensure a “more integrated, systematic and effective response” from the EU to funding gaps. 

  4. Moldova 'no longer predictable'

    Romanian centre-right MEP Christian Dan Preda says Moldova is a country "which is no longer predictable". 

    He says he puts this down to corruption, the growing control of oligarchies over political parties, and the increasing influence of Russia-backed media in the country. 

    Labour MEP Neena Gill says putting an end to the political instability in Moldova is in the EU's own interests, given that it is a route for the smuggling of weapons into the bloc. 

    "We need to make the fight against corruption and reform of the judiciary our priorities", she adds. 

    Neena Gill
  5. Moldova turned 'to the dark side'

    German Christian democrat Elmar Brok, who chairs the Parliament's foreign affairs committee, says he hopes a "decent pro-European party" can consolidate itself in Moldova. 

    "The alternative doesn't bear thinking about", he adds. 

    Romanian social democrat Andi Cristea says the country has gone from being the "frontrunner" of the Eastern Partnership countries to make strides towards EU accession to a "chronic state of crisis". 

    He tells MEPs there is "nothing to celebrate" about recent political developments in the country, where he says the political class has "failed its citizens". 

    He adds: 

    Quote Message: "The Wonderland has turned into the dark side"
    Andi Cristea
    Image caption: Andi Cristea
  6. Moldovan government should implement 'much needed' reforms

    Commissioner Stylianides says recent events in Moldova show the "deep divide" between opposing parties in the country. 

    He tells MEPs that whilst it is not the EU's role to "interfere" in the running of the country, the Commission will continue to call for "dialogue" between the parties to solve pressing governance issues. 

    He adds that the EU also expects the new government to implement "much-needed" anti-corruption reforms, as well as reforms to the judiciary. 

    He says the Moldovan people are also calling for "clear and effective" steps to tackle corruption, including "impartial and effective" investigations to recover funds lost to fraud.  

    Commissioner Stylianides
  7. Debate on Moldova begins

    That’s the debate on Georgia finished.

    MEPs will now hear another statement from Commissioner Stylianides, this time on situation in Moldova, where the government was recently dismissed by the parliament in a vote of no confidence.

    The vote, triggered by socialist and communist opposition MPs, followed months of big anti-corruption protests.

    Prime Minister Valeriu Strelet has been in office for less than three months.

    Many Moldovans are furious over the disappearance of more than $1bn (£646m) from Moldovan banks. The missing money is equivalent to an eighth of the ex-Soviet republic's entire GDP.

  8. Debate on Georgia begins

    That’s the debate on the recent elections in Myanmar finished.

    Next, humanitarian aid commissioner Christos Stylianides will make a statement on the political situation in Georgia.

    The country is currently engaged in talks with the EU over the prospect of visa liberalisation for its citizens.

    Visa liberalisation is seen as a major impetus for Georgia’s prospects of achieving closer integration with Europe.

    However, there have been concerns about media plurality in the country following a continuing row over ownership of the country's main opposition television channel.

    Georgia ended its diplomatic relations with Russia after the 2008 war over the breakaway region of South Ossetia. 

    The region is recognised as part of Georgia by the EU, although Russia recognises it, along with the region of Abkhazia, as a sovereign state. 

  9. What’s going on in Myanmar?

    From the BBC News website:

    The NLD now has control of parliament and can choose the next president. 

    The BBC explains the complexities behind the historic win.  

    Read more here

    NLD supporters
  10. Debate on Myanmar elections

    That’s the debate on the recent elections in Burundi finished.

    Next, Ms Mogherini will remain in the chamber to debate the results of the recent elections in Myanmar, also known as Burma. 

    The country’s parliament met last week for the first time since Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) won an election landslide earlier this month.

    It was the country's first national vote since a nominally civilian government was introduced in 2011, ending nearly 50 years of military rule. 

    Aung San Suu Kyi
    Image caption: Aung San Suu Kyi
  11. EU 'must act' in mediation talks

    Belgian liberal Hilde Vautmans says that, as Burundi's biggest donor of international aid, the EU must act as a mediator in peace talks. 

    Fabio Massimo Castaldo, from Italy's Five Star movement, says that "the time has come for us to think about sanctions" against individual's in the country's government. 

    He adds that EU countries should be prepared to "send forces if necessary" to prevent a massacre in the country. 

    Fabio Massimo Castaldo
    Image caption: Fabio Massimo Castaldo
  12. Background on Burundi

    From the BBC News website:

    Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza has given gunmen opposing his third term five days to surrender and be granted an amnesty or face tough anti-terrorism legislation to be introduced by the end of the month.

    It follows months of shootings in the capital, which the BBC's Alastair Leithead says has raised fears of a return to civil war.

    Read more here

    Tank in Bujumbura
  13. International community 'looked away for far too long'

    Joachim Zeller
    Image caption: Joachim Zeller

    On behalf of the centre-right EPP group, German Christian democrat Joachim Zeller says Western countries "have to do everything we can" to bring Burundi's "corrosive regime" to an end.

    He highlights in this respect the decision by the United States yesterday to adopt sanctions against leading figures in the regime. 

    Dutch centre-left MEP Kati Piri says, however, that violence is the result of the international community "looking away for way too long".

    "We could see this coming for years," she adds. 

    Kati Piri
    Image caption: Kati Piri
  14. Call for 'nationally owned' solution

    Minister Schmit says that although there have been "a number of emergency debates" about Burundi in the European Parliament, the situation in the country justifies re-examination.

    He says there is now widespread agreement that violence in the country has reached "an extremely dangerous level", and has been exacerbated by "irresponsible language".

    He says that on a positive note, however, there is now a "strong international consensus" behind getting Burundi to participate in African-led peace talks. 

    He says this was supported in a recent United Nations resolution, which also called on all sides to reject violence and for the government to "respect and protect" human rights.

    He adds that the long-term aim is for a solution to the violence that is "nationally owned".

    Minister Schmit
  15. Debate on violence in Burundi begins

    That’s the debate about this month’s Valetta summit on migration finished.

    Next, MEPs will hear another statement from Luxembourg employment minister Nicolas Schmit on behalf of Ms Mogherini, on the continuing violence in Burundi.

    "Don't forget to change hats whilst you're doing it", jokes acting President Antonio Tajani. 

    The country has been hit been by deadly protests and a failed coup ever since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to bid for a third term in power.

    Belgium recently announced it was advising its 500 or so nationals in the country to leave because of the “rising risk of violence”.

    The EU has also said it intends to temporarily evacuate its employees' families and “part of the non-essential staff". 

    Injured protester in Burundi
  16. Debate on migration summit begins

    That’s the debate on violence against women finished.

    Next, MEPs are debating the results of this month’s Valetta summit on tackling the migration crisis, with EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini. 

    At the summit, EU and African leaders agreed on a €1.3bn EU fund to tackle the “root causes” of migration from Africa.

    The funds are intended initially to help humanitarian efforts, but then to help development to reduce the likelihood of mass migration in the future.

  17. Sitting resumes

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

    First this afternoon, MEPs will be debating what efforts the EU can make to combat violence against women and girls.

    Today has been designated International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

    The Parliament’s women’s rights committee has tabled an oral question asking the Commission what new measures it intends to take in this area.

    It also requests that the EU executive proposes a new EU directive on tackling violence against women, something the European Parliament has requested in the past. 

  18. Explanations of votes

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

    UKIP MEP David Coburn gets things underway by lambasting the speed at which voting proceeded, which he says was too fast for members to follow properly and was "a joke". 

    Labour MEP Richard Corbett responds by suggesting that UKIP MEPs "could be offered a training course, firstly in parliamentary democracy and secondly how to read". 

    A second UKIP MEP, Jonathan Arnott, responds in kind, deriding the "anti-democratic comments of those who want to get to lunch quicker". 

    The sitting will resume at 14.00 GMT, when MEPs will be debating ways to combat violence against women and girls. 

  19. MEPs pass radicalisation resolution

    MEPs pass a resolution calling on EU states to better co-ordinate their anti-radicalisation programmes in an effort to tackle religious extremism in Europe.

    An amendment tabled by the ENF group of anti-EU nationalist parties calling for the reinstatment of "full border controls" between all EU countries is defeated. 

    However, they narrowly approve an amendment tabled by the left-wing GUE group stating that Europe is no longer a place where Muslims "can live in equality and practise their faith without discrimination". 

  20. MEPs ratify 2016 EU budget

    MEPs give their backing to the deal on the 2016 budget they struck just under two weeks ago. 

    The report ratifying the agreement is passed by 516 votes to 179. 

    Luxembourg finance minister Pierre Gramegna, who led budget negotiations on behalf of the member states, makes a short speech after the vote thanking MEPs for their "excellent co-operation" throughout the talks. 

    Budget vote result
  21. Voting to begin soon

    That’s the speech from the Italian President finished.

    MEPs will remain in their seats, however, for this lunchtime’s voting session, at which the main vote will be on whether or not to give final approval to the EU’s budget for next year.

    MEPs struck a provisional agreement on the budget earlier this month, following months of three-way negotiations with national ministers and officials from the European Commission. 

    Annual EU budgets are proposed by the European Commission, but must be approved by national governments and the European Parliament before they can come into force. 

  22. Europe 'grievously wounded' by terror attacks

    President Mattarella says Europe has been "grievously wounded" by the recent attacks in Paris and elsewhere, which he calls "lacerations on the body of our Union". 

    He pledges "total solidarity" with the people of France and its institutions. 

    He says the EU was built on such ideas of solidarity, and has contributed to the building of "rights and greater protection to all". 

    He adds that politicians need to "bear in mind our own values" in their response to the terror threat. 

    President Mattarella
  23. Italian President to address MEPs shortly

    That’s the debate on the EU security response to the terror attacks in Paris finished.

    The next item on today’s agenda is a scheduled speech from Italian President Sergio Mattarrella.

    It will be the first time he has made a formal speech to MEPs since he was elected the country’s twelfth president in January this year. 

  24. Commissioner calls for 'united European response'

    Summing up for the Commission, EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopolos says MEPs should ask why people "born and bred" in Europe should wish to carry out attacks.

    He adds that "giving in to fear and panic" would "fall into the trap" of the aims of the terrorists of destroying a free society. 

    "We are all smarter than that", he adds. 

    He says a "united European response" is the "only answer to the threat". 

    Dimitris Avramopolos
  25. Security agencies should be given 'the tools they ask for'

    UK Conservative Vicky Ford says the attacks show the need to give national security authorities the "tools they need to do their job".

    She says that national agencies have a "huge amount of experience" in preventing terrorist attacks, before adding that:

    Quote Message: "it not this House's role to stand in their way. Give them the tools they ask for."
    Vicky Ford
  26. 'Everyday is Paris' in Muslim world

    Hungarian MEP Kinga Gal, from the ruling Fidesz party, says the attacks show the need for border controls to be strengthened. 

    She says the continent's worsening migration crisis shouldn't be allowed to become "an opportunity for terrorists". 

    Labour's Afzal Khan says MEPs should remember the international threat posed by Islamist terrorism. 

    Alluding to the large number of deaths that terrorists have caused outside Europe, he adds that "everyday is Paris the somewhere in the Muslim world".

    He says the proper response needs to be greater sharing of information between national security agencies.

    He says support also needs to be given to a proposed European counter-terrorism centre, to be managed by Europol, the EU police agency. 

    Afzal Khan
    Image caption: Afzal Khan
  27. Hollande and Obama to intensify anti-IS push

    From the BBC News website:

    The fight against so-called Islamic State (IS) will dominate talks in Washington shortly as French President Francois Hollande meets US President Barack Obama.

    The Paris suicide attacks claimed by IS have prompted the US to issue a worldwide travel alert to its citizens.

    President Hollande is meeting other world leaders this week, hoping to forge a stronger alliance against IS. 

    Read more here

    LA airport
    Image caption: Police at Los Angeles airport
  28. Security must 'coexist' with liberty

    German Conservative Bernd Lucke says the attacks represent "terror in its worst form".

    He tells MEPs that national authorities need to "drain the swamps" of the breeding grounds for radicalisation, and be able to strip those involved in terrorism of their nationality. 

    Romanian social democrat Victor Bostinaru says the authorities must "speak more to the alienated" and try to spread the "humanistic values of Europe" to isolated communities.  

    He says the right response is one where security and liberty "can coexist". 

    Victor Bostinaru
  29. Governments 'obsessed' with data collection

    Dutch liberal Sophia in 't Veld says some of the interventions in the debate make her "doubt" whether there are indeed shared European values. 

    She accuses national governments of only paying "lip service" in their response, and that implementation of EU security measures at a national level remains "patchy and inadequate". 

    On the PNR legislation (see below), she accuses governments and the Commission of having an "obsession" with the collection of electronic data and mass surveillance. 

    She suggests it would be better to invest in "human surveillance" on the ground in areas that are likely to be breeding grounds for radicalisation. 

    German Green Jan Albrecht agrees, saying the database of airline passenger information would contain some "completely irrelevant information". 

    Sophia in 't Veld
  30. Freedom and security 'not mutually contradictory'

    Spanish centre-right MEP Esteban Gonzalez Pons says that there is a need to avoid "knee-jerk legislation" in response to the attacks. 

    He tells MEPs that they should remember that there is no security without freedom, and that the two are not "not mutually contradictory concepts". 

    Another Spanish MEP, Socialist Enrique Guerrero Salom, says he wonders if EU states have "learnt very much" since the deadly attacks in Madrid in 2004.

    He says that a response based just on national measures would leave terrorists able to use the use the "gaps and the loopholes" between the legislation of different member states to avoid detection. 

    Enrique Guerrero Salom
  31. Permanent surveillance 'democratically unacceptable'

    Belgian MEP and Green group co-leader tweets:

    In French, Mr Lamberts says that any response to the attacks that would "put our societies under permanent surveillance" is "inadequate and democratically unacceptable".  

    View more on twitter
  32. Support for Kurdish fighters

    The latest in a long list of French MEPs who have spoken in the debate, left-winger Patrick Le Hyriac says Europe needs a different set of "diplomatic and military strategies".

    He says that diplomatic action should be conducted under the aegis of the United Nations, but that  EU countries should continue support for Kurdish forces fighting IS on the ground in Iraq. 

    He adds EU nations should also not be cutting support for customs officials as a result of austerity policies.    

    Patrick Le Hyriac
  33. FN leader calls for re-assessment of alliances

    French Front National leader Marine Le Pen says EU should consider the "ambiguity" of Turkey's role in the Middle East.

    She says EU countries need to "look at themselves in the mirror" and consider whether their current alliances are "forcing us to be allies of Islamic fundamentalism".

    Adding that she does "not have confidence" in Europe's external borders, she says her group will do "everything in our power" to push for the temporary border controls on the French border to be made permanent. 

    Another French MEP, Pervenche Beres, from the ruling Socialist party in France, says there is a need for greater "internal security" within the EU. 

    She says she "very much hopes" that they can come to an agreement on the airline data scheme before the end of the year. 

    Marine Le Pen
  34. UKIP urges 'deal' with Putin to tackle IS

    UKIP MEP Paul Nuttall says the attacks in Paris have "brought home" the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism, which he calls the greatest threat the West faces "in this century". 

    He says that MEPs are "in denial" about the ability of the Schengen zone to survive in the wake of increased security threats, adding that they are clinging to the passport-free zone "just as Neville Chamberlain clung to appeasing Hitler". 

    He says geopolitical choices should not be viewed "though the eyes of the student common room", and that Western powers need to build a "grand coalition" of countries to fight Islamic State (IS) group in the Middle East. 

    He says this coalition should include Russia, noting that Russian President Vladimir Putin is "on our side" when it comes to defeating IS, adding: 

    Quote Message: "If we have to do a deal with the devil, we must do so in order to cut out this cancer from our society"
    Paul Nuttall
  35. Background on the proposed EU passenger data scheme

    Following the Paris attacks, MEPs have come under renewed pressure from national governments to agree to the EU’s controversial scheme on sharing PNR – or “passenger name record” – data.

    Under the scheme, EU airline companies would have to hand over information such as passengers’ names, contact numbers and credit card details to national security agencies, to help them screen passengers for potential terror or serious crime suspects.

    Despite backing from national governments and the Commission, the scheme has been blocked for years because of opposition from MEPs.

    Following January's attacks in Paris, MEPs pledged to "finalise" a deal on the legislation before the end of this year, but majority support remains conditional on accelerating talks to strengthen EU data protection legislation.  

    Some MEPs are not yet convinced a measure collecting data on all passengers is a proportionate response to the terror threat, and could lead to passenger profiling. 

    Others have insisted that the scheme could break a ruling by the European Court of Justice from April last year, which said mass collection of data proposed by a telecoms law would violate the right to privacy. 

    Passport check
  36. Former Belgian PM would 'choose security over sovereignty'

    Conservative ECR group leader Syed Kamall says the attacks "could have been in any of our cities". 

    He adds, however, that politicians should not let their response to the attacks "descend into a spiral of hatred and blame". 

    He says however that MEPs should remember that the answer to all crises "is not always more Europe", and says he would oppose any plans to build a European Intelligence Agency. 

    That plan, however, does get the support of liberal leader and former Belgian prime Guy Verhofstadt, who also says that 12 EU states are not providing the necessary information to the Schengen security system. 

    He adds that, given the choice, he would choose "security over sovereignty".  

    Syed Kamall
    Image caption: Syed Kamall
    Guy Verhofstadt
    Image caption: Guy Verhofstadt
  37. 'Whole faith group' should not be viewed with suspicion

    Centre-right EPP group leader Manfred Weber says it is "inadmissible" to allow the attacks undermine respect for tolerance. 

    He adds that the danger of having a "whole faith group" being viewed with suspicion is something that must be avoided. 

    Of behalf of the Socialist and Democrats group, Italian MEP Gianni Pitella says there is a need for a measured response to the attacks. 

    He pledges that his group will "work consistently" towards concluding an agreement on passenger data sharing, but he repeats their position that this must go "hand-in-hand" with efforts to strengthen data protection legislation. 

    Manfred Weber
    Image caption: Manfred Weber
    Gianni Pitella
    Image caption: Gianni Pitella
  38. Juncker: Schengen zone 'partly comatose'

    Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker begins his speech with a call to stand "shoulder-to-shoulder" with France in the wake of the attacks. 

    He issues an appeal not to let the attack harden attitudes towards refugees and migrants making their way to Europe, stating that those who carried out the attacks are the same people who have caused "the unlucky of this planet" to flee their homes. 

    "Please don't get things mixed up", he adds, to some applause. 

    On the issue of border controls, he tells MEPs that there is a need to "breath new life" into the passport-free Schengen area, which he describes as "partly comatose". 

    In defence of the zone, however, he says border-free travel within the area has been "one of the main pillars of the construction of Europe". 

    He too calls for MEPs to pass the legislation on airline data sharing, which he says should also be applied to intra-EU flights. 

    Jean-Claude Juncker
  39. Attacks show need for 'decisive action'

    Luxembourg employment minister Nicolas Schmit kicks off the debate with a speech on behalf of the EU's Council of Ministers, representing national governments. 

    Luxembourg currently hold the Council's six-month rotating presidency, which it will hand over at the end of this year. 

    He tells MEPs that the attacks show the need for "decisive action" that involves "the widest range of co-operation".

    He says EU member states will push to reach agreement with the Parliament on passenger data legislation that MEPs have blocked for years on civil liberties grounds. 

    He also tells MEPs that national ministers will this week consider new legislation proposed by the Commission on restricting the sale of firearms.  

    Nicolas Schmit
  40. Good Morning

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

    This morning, MEPs will be joined by Commission President  Jean-Claude Juncker to debate what the EU’s security response should be to the terror attacks in Paris earlier this month.

    The co-ordinated gun and bomb attacks killed more than 130 people in the French capital, in the deadliest terror attack on European soil since 2004. 

    The Belgian capital of Brussels remains on a state of high alert following the attacks, although the city's metro system is due to partially reopen today.  

    French police
    Image caption: Huge numbers of police have been deployed on the streets of Paris since the attack