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Summary

  1. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told MEPs that the EU is 'not at risk' from Brexit during his state of the union speech.
  2. This afternoon, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager joined MEPs to debate the Commission's recent tax ruling on Ireland and Apple.
  3. MEPs debated legislation to set up an updated European travel document to speed up the process of deporting migrants who do not have the legal right to stay in the EU.
  4. They also discussed a plan from the EU Commission to transfer 54,000 places from its two-year asylum seeker relocation scheme.

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

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

    MEPs are back tomorrow at 08.00 BST, when MEPs will begin with a debate on how well EU states have been applying EU anti-discrimination laws for employers.

    After this, they will discuss a non-binding motion calling for a more flexible application an EU employment retraining scheme.

    They will also discuss this month's three human rights motions, which focus on the Philippines, Somalia and Zimbabwe.

    All three motions will be put to a vote at around 11.00 BST, along with the a motion on whether to endorse Julian King's appointment to the Commission. 

  2. MEPs debate changes to EU 'prospectus' rules

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    That’s the debate on help for smaller businesses finished – the vote on the two non-binding motions will take place tomorrow.

    Finally this evening, MEPs are now debating proposed changes to the EU rules governing company prospectuses – the legal documents about firms used by investors.

    The proposed changes aim to make the prospectus rules simpler and easier to administer, as part of a drive to make it easier for small companies to raise business investment.

    The changes will be put to a vote during the voting session tomorrow lunchtime. 

  3. MEPs begin debate on small business support

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    That’s the debate on EU rules relating to postal services finished. The vote on the non-binding motion will take place tomorrow lunchtime.

    MEPs are now debating two more motions, which will also be voted on tomorrow, which call for more to be done at an EU level to help smaller businesses.

    The first motion calls for favourable tax treatment and less burdensome regulation for smaller businesses, plus better access to EU enterprise programmes.

    The second calls for measures to help smaller firms obtain financing under the Commission’s current strategy for boosting non-bank lending to businesses.

  4. Podemos MEP: Profitable services 'siphoned off'

    Debate on EU postal services rules

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    However, Spanish Podemos MEP Tania Gonzalez Penas says that, "as with so many other sectors", the drive for liberalisation in postal services has led to a worsening service. 

    She says opening up postal services to market competition means that the most profitable parts of the service are "siphoned off", leaving "geographical imbalances" between rural and urban areas. 

    Tania Gonzalez Penas
  5. Liberal MEP: EU must 'keep pace' with postal industry

    Debate on EU postal services rules

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Czech Liberal Pavel Telicka says the landscape for communication has changed dramatically in recent years, and EU regulation need to "keep pace" with the changes. 

    He says promoting greater cross-border integration of postal services is one way to change the European postal system to "meet the demands of consumers". 

    Pavel Telicka
  6. MEPs debate EU postal services rules

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    That’s the debate on EU employment guidelines finished. MEPs are now debating a non-binding report on EU rules relating to postal services, which will be put to a vote tomorrow.

    It calls on the EU Commission to clarify EU standards on quality standards and pricing criteria.

    It also calls on EU governments to strengthen the independence of their national regulatory authorities, and promote greater co-operation with authorities in other countries.

    Post Office
  7. Commissioner 'regrets' governments' stance

    Debate on EU employment guidelines

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen says she "regrets" the fact that EU governments have decided not to take on board the call from MEPs to change the guidelines from last year. 

    However, she says the Commission has sought to take on board some of their concerns by giving a more prominent role to "social partners" in the plans. 

    Marianne Thyssen
  8. Italian MEP: EU has 'tragically failed' to meet 2020 targets

    Debate on EU employment guidelines

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Italian Five Star Movement MEP Laura Agea, who has written the draft motion that will be voted on tomorrow, says EU citizens in a number of countries have been "pushed to the limit" by a lack of jobs and budget cuts.

    She says an austerity agenda means that employment targets in the EU's 2020 economic strategy have "tragically failed". 

    Laura Agea
  9. MEPs begin debate on EU employment guidelines

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    That’s the debate about resettlement of asylum seekers within and from outside the EU finished.

    MEPs are now debating a non-binding motion which criticises EU employment guidelines for this year drawn up by national governments for their lack of ambition.

    It says the targets do not keep closely enough to the EU’s 2020 economic strategy, and proposes that they should recommend each EU state establishes its own “minimum income”.

    However, although Parliament’s motion on the guidelines must be passed before they can come into effect, MEPs do not have the formal power to change them. 

  10. MEPs begin debate on asylum quota transfer

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    That’s the debate on the setting-up of a new European travel document for illegal migrants finished.

    MEPs are now debating a plan from the EU Commission to transfer 54,000 places from its two-year asylum seeker relocation scheme to resettle Syrian refugees from Turkey instead.

    The emergency scheme to redistribute 120,000 asylum seekers from struggling frontline states using binding quotas was announced during Jean-Claude Juncker’s “state of the union” speech last year.

    The scheme was meant to resettle asylum seekers away from Greece, Italy and Hungary to other EU states – but Hungary refused to participate due to its opposition to migrant quotas.

    Instead, the Commission has proposed that the 54,000 places should be transferred over to a separate scheme to resettle Syrian refugees in the EU, included in its migration deal with Turkey.

    MEPs have objected – suggesting that Hungary’s places should be divided between Greece and Italy, and that resettlement of asylum seekers from outside and within the EU should be kept separate.

    Tomorrow they will vote on a draft resolution objecting to the Commission’s plans – but they will not have the formal power to block them. 

    Hungarian prisoners build a new part of a fence near Asotthalom
    Image caption: Hungary has built a fence along its border with Serbia
  11. MEPs begin debate on EU migrant document

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    That’s the debate on the European Commission’s recent ruling on Apple’s tax affairs in Ireland finished. 

    MEPs are now debating legislation to set up a new European travel document that aims to speed up the process of deporting migrants who do not have the legal right to stay in the EU.

    The Commission has said that allowing governments to “return” non-EU nationals who are not eligible for refugee status is a vital step to preserving the integrity of EU external borders.

    The updated document is intended to make it quicker and easier to deport those who don’t have their own valid papers – something which can delay the returns process.

    A model for a standard document has existed since 1994, but countries with which the EU is trying to negotiate readmission agreements say it currently lacks suitable security features.

    MEPs have struck a provisional deal with national ministers on the new legislation, which will be put to a vote tomorrow lunchtime. 

    Migrants in Italy
  12. MEPs begin debate on Apple tax ruling

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    That’s the debate on the need for an EU-wide “reindustrialisation strategy” finished – a vote on a non-binding motion will take place at a plenary sitting next month.

    EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has now joined MEPs to debate the Commission’s recent ruling that Ireland should recover up to €13bn from Apple in back taxes.

    After a three-year investigation, the EU’s executive arms concluded at the end of last month that the US firm's Irish tax benefits constituted a breach of state aid laws.

    Ireland and Apple have both said they disagree with the decision and will appeal against it.

    Apple logo
  13. Farage rejects Juncker hate crime claim

    The World at One

    BBC Radio 4

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage says the EU president is unwise to link attacks on Polish migrants in UK to the Brexit referendum. 

    In his annual state of the union speech to the European Parliament, Jean-Claude Junker said he would "never accept Polish workers being beaten up and harassed on the streets of Essex". 

     Mr Farage tells The World at One that individual incidents should not be used "for political ends". 

    Video content

    Video caption: UKIP leader Nigel Farage rejects hate crime accusations
  14. MEPs begin debate on EU industrial policy

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Hello and welcome back to this afternoon’s plenary sitting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

    The sitting will be resuming shortly, when MEPs will be debating the need for an EU-wide “reindustrialisation strategy”.

    The debate was added to the agenda at the opening of the sitting on Monday at the recommendation of the Socialist and Democrat group.

    It follows the announcement of job losses by US firm Caterpillar, as well as the news that French multinational Alstom will stop making trains at its factory in Belfort in eastern France.

    MEPs have also decided to hold a vote on a non-binding motion during a plenary sitting next month. 

  15. Voting session ends

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    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 short break, after which the sitting will resume at 14.00 BST, when MEPs will be debating the need for a “reindustrialisation strategy” at EU level. 

  16. Czech and Slovak media react to speech

    BBC Monitoring

    News from around the globe

    More reaction to President Juncker's speech is coming in from national media organisations.

    Czech media outlets have focused on the defence and security aspects of Mr Juncker's speech - not surprising given the Czech government's support for an EU defence force.

    A headline from Czech news agency CTK highlights Mr Juncker's call for "a joint military headquarters and a registration system for arrivals" in the EU, with a similar headline at news website iDNES. 

    The announcements on defence also dominate headlines in Slovakia, the country currently holding the EU's rotating presidency and due to host a informal post-Brexit summit of EU leaders - without Theresa May - at Bratislava this weekend. 

    A headline from the news website topky.sk highlights his call for "A common army and compulsory registration on entering the EU", while HNOnline.sk goes on his call for "A common military headquarters and strict registration at the borders". 

  17. MEPs approve motion on Tunisia

    Voting session

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    MEPs give their backing to a non-binding motion urging EU states to provide “concrete support” for the democratically-elected government in Tunisia.

    The country’s economy has struggled since the Arab Spring in 2011, as well as following terror attacks which have hit its tourist industry.

    Before the summer recess MEPs approved an EU proposal to lend €500m to Tunisia to supplement medium-term loans from the IMF.

  18. MEPs pass motion on Poland

    Voting session

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    MEPs also pass a non-binding motion stating that it is of “fundamental importance” that EU rule of law provisions are guaranteed in Poland.

    The text also expresses concern at the lack of an agreement between the EU and Poland over concerns flagged by the EU’s probe into respect for the rule of law in the country.

    The investigation was launched in January this year after Poland’s new conservative government approved controversial laws empowering it to appoint the heads of public TV and radio, as well as changes to the country’s constitutional court.

    In July, the EU Commission called on the Polish government to take steps within the next three months to remedy a “systemic threat to the rule of law”.