For the Commission, EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn says the Commission is aware that pig breeders are in a "very difficult situation", with prices falling due to a combination of increased production and the Russian embargo.
He says, however, that 90,000 tonnes of pigmeat were taken into storage in January, and that there are "clear signals that the market is reacting".
He also says that a 2015 solidarity pact allows the Commission to take "targeted measures" to countervail falling prices.
EU common agricultural policy 'has stablised prices to some extent'
Polish centre-right MEP Czeslaw Adam Siekierski says that the crisis in the pigmeat sector is taking place in a context of world food prices falling 15% over the last four years.
He says these drops in prices have been made worse by pig farmers seeing the "largest market" for their products removed as a consequence of Russia's ban on food imports from the EU.
He adds that the EU Common Agricultural Policy has been able to "stablise things to a certain extent", but asks the Commission how it will guarantee that money from price stabilisations will find its way into the hands of the farmers themselves.
He says that, among various "intermediaries", the farmers can often find themselves the "weakest link" in the food chain.
Debate on aid for pigmeat farmers
Hello and welcome back to coverage of this afternoon's plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
There's only one short debate scheduled for this afternoon's sitting - an oral question to the Commission about falling prices in the pig meat sector.
MEPs on the Agriculture Committee have asked the Commission what impact it thinks the EU's private storage scheme might have on prices.
The scheme provides financial aid for farmers to put pigmeat into temporary storage - with the aim of stabilising prices by taking some products off the market.
Voting session ends
With the voting session finished, MEPs will now have the chance to make short speeches to explain how they voted.
This will be followed by a break for lunch, after which MEPs will return for a short afternoon session, during which they will debate EU assistance for pig farmers.
The Agriculture Committee has tabled an oral question asking the Commission what help it will provide to those affected by the Russian ban on EU food imports.
The embargo was introduced in the summer of 2014 in response to sanctions that Western countries imposed on Russia following its annexation of Ukraine.
MEPs give initial backing to medicinal product regulations
MEPs approve their initial position on two pieces of legislation to change EU rules governing medicinal products used on farm animals.
They also back proposals to amend a law to improve marketing authorisation for veterinary medicinal products, which is to be separated from that for medicines for humans.
However, MEPs decide not to push the legislation to a "first reading" vote, meaning informal negotiations on a text likely to get the agreement of national ministers will continue.
MEPs pass human rights motions
MEPs pass the three motions on human rights cases they have debated this morning, which:
condemn the “deteriorating” situation regarding freedom of expression in Kazakhstan
call for a “swift, transparent and impartial” joint investigation by the Italian and Egyptian authorities into the death of Italian student Giulio Regeni in Cairo last month
condemn the "increasing political violence” against opposition politicians and journalists in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Italian Lega Nord MEP Mario Borghezio, whose group has not signed the joint motion, says he thinks its condemnation of the authorities in Egypt is "a bit weak".
He also criticises fellow Italian and EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini for "not saying a word" about the case at a recent meeting of the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee.
Centre-right Tomas Zdechovsky picks up on the news that the Egyptian government appears to be co-operating with a team of Italian investigators sent to Cairo, which he calls a "step in the right direction".
Debate on death of Italian student begins
Debate on topical human rights motions
That’s the debate about freedom of expression in Kazakhstan finished – MEPs will vote on their resolution shortly.
Tatjana Zdanoka, an MEP from the Latvian Russian Union, questions whether the EU has the "moral authority" to question media and judicial standards around the world.
She says that the Parliament itself has passed motions to condemn "serious systematic deterioration" in media freedom and the rule of law in Hungary.
MEPs also held a debate on respect for the rule of law in Poland this January, following constitutional changes announced by the country's new government that are subject to an inquiry by the European Commission.
But centre-right Estonian MEP Tunne Kelam says the motion is not about "lecturing" the country, but helping to ensure the application of "shared values".
Debate on press freedom in Kazakhstan begins
Debate on topical human rights motions
That’s the debate on the Eurozone banking union finished – MEPs will vote on their resolution later today.
Next, MEPs are going to be discussing motions relating to three topical human rights cases.
The first is a joint resolution drawn up by seven political groups condemning the “deteriorating” situation regarding freedom of expression in Kazakhstan.
The text also specifically expresses concern at recent detentions of journalists and the “indiscriminate blocking of news, social media and other websites”.
The motion says that ratification of a co-operation agreement the EU signed with the country in December should be conditional upon a “concrete engagement” by Kazakhstan to conduct political and democratic reforms.
The agreement will need to be ratified by the parliaments of all 28 member states, as well as the European Parliament.
Replying for the Commission, UK Commissioner Lord Hill - whose brief includes responsibility for financial services - says the motion is a reminder of "how much has been achieved" since the banking union legislation was put in place.
He adds that the single supervisory system for eurozone banks "already feels very well established".
He says he agrees with the view that further legislation should proportionate, and avoid "unnecessary compliance requirements", particularly for smaller banks.
Italian social democrat Roberto Gualtieri, says the establishment of the banking union represents the most comprehensive attempt to introduce a monetary union in the eurozone since the single currency was introduced.
The MEP, who chairs the Parliament's powerful Economics and Monetary Affairs Committee, says passing overview over big eurozone banks to the ECB was a "significant" transfer of power.
He adds that this transfer also now needs to be accompanied by "an appropriate level of parliamentary scrutiny".
He says that the new monitoring process should be considered "a success", but that the co-ordination between micro and macro-prudential authorities could be improved.
Debate on banking union begins
That’s the debate on EU assistance to fight the Zika virus finished – MEPs will vote on a resolution at next month’s plenary session.
Next, MEPs are debating a motion on the Eurozone’s banking union – the series of measures passed following the 2008 financial crisis to try to improve the stability of the area’s banking system.
It set common Eurozone standards for the amount of reserve capital banks should have to hold, plus brought in direct monitoring of the largest Eurozone banks by the European Central Bank (ECB).
The draft motion says this monitoring process – known as the single supervisory mechanism – has been a “remarkable achievement”.
Notably, the draft text also calls for a “high and uniform level of protection of deposits” across the eurozone.
Setting up a Eurozone-wide guarantee scheme to protect bank deposits is a political hot potato owing to strong opposition from Germany.