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Summary

  1. Earlier MEPs discussed the future of the Cotonou Agreement, which is due to expire in early 2020.
  2. The treaty sets out the human rights provisions for trade and aid agreements between the EU and 78 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
  3. They also discussed funding for an EU programme which aims to help reduce levels of malnutrition and growth stunting in developing countries.
  4. The evening session finished with a round of short topical speeches.

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

Goodnight & coming up tomorrow...

European Parliament

Strasbourg

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

MEPs will be back tomorrow morning from 08.00 BST, when they will debate legislation establishing EU-wide standards on claiming legal aid during court proceedings.

At lunchtime they will vote on whether to give their approval to the UN's Paris climate deal, and hear a speech from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

After lunch, they will debate the future of the "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais, which President Hollande has vowed to dismantle before the end of the year.

They will also discuss the EU Commission's latest proposals for implementing a promised ban on mobile roaming charges due next year. 

MEPs begin short topical speeches

European Parliament

Strasbourg

That's the debate on the EU's anti-logging scheme finished.

Finally this evening, 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. 

MEPs debate funding for EU anti-illegal logging scheme

European Parliament

Strasbourg

That’s the debate on EU funding for malnutrition programmes in developing countries finished.

MEPs are now debating funding for an EU scheme which aims to tackle the trade in illegal logging.

Last October the European Court of Auditors criticised the Commission’s support for the scheme, which it said was “not sufficiently well managed”.

MEPs from five parliamentary committees have tabled an oral question asking the EU executive how it intends to respond to shortcomings identified in the report. 

Logging in Indonesia
AFP/GETTY IMAGES

MEPs urges greater action on women-specific nutrition problems

Debate on EU malnutrition scheme

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Labour MEP Julie Ward says that more attention should more should be done to address the "specific malnutrition problems" faced by women.

She also adds that there should be more promotion of the role of charities, NGOs and people-to-people initiatives to support counter-malnutrition targets.  

Julie Ward
BBC

EU fisheries agreements 'undermine food security' - UKIP MEP

Debate on EU malnutrition scheme

European Parliament

Strasbourg

UKIP MEP Raymond Finch says that EU aid money suffers from being misspent, and is subject to "no tracking or real control whatsoever".

He says that the EU is also "influencing the political agenda" in countries concerned.

He adds that although the bloc calls itself a champion of development, it is "undermining food security" through its many fishing agreements with African countries. 

He says these agreements allow a small number of large fishing companies to "plunder the waters" of a number of developing countries where fish is an important part of the staple diet. 

Raymond Finch
BBC

Commissioner commits to 'pledging event' for nutrition schemes

Debate on EU malnutrition scheme

European Parliament

Strasbourg

International Development Commissioner Neven Mimica says that the EU has become a "world leader" in the area of countering malnutrition. 

He adds that the bloc is "well on track" to meet the main aim of its own nutrition scheme - to reduce stunting by 7 million children by 2025.

He says the Commission takes "due note" of the Parliament's call for greater funding for nutrition-specific schemes, and will seek to "maximise synergies" between nutrition schemes and other streams of funding. 

He also vows to organise a "pledging event" for the schemes "in the coming years". 

Neven Mimica
BBC

UN 'still a long way off' malnutrition target

Debate on EU malnutrition schems

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Spanish Socialist Enrique Guerrerro Salom says that the fight against hunger is still a "major issue" in the UN's development ambitions. 

He adds that the body is still "a long way off" the ambition of totally eliminating the problem of malnutrition. 

He says the EU has committed €400m towards "nutrition-specific" schemes, but that only 0.5% of development aid spending is concentrated in this area. 

He says the EU executive should encourage national governments to stick to their development targets, where they are not doing so. 

Enrique Guerrerro Salom
BBC

MEPs debate funding for EU malnutrition scheme

European Parliament

Strasbourg

That’s the debate about assistance for Syrian schoolchildren in Lebanon finished.

Next MEPs are debating an EU programme which aims to help reduce levels of malnutrition and growth stunting in developing countries.

The €3.5bn nutrition action plan aims to reduce stunting by 7 million children by 2025.

The Parliament’s development committee has tabled an oral question asking the EU Commission whether it is prepared to increase funding for the “nutrition-specific” schemes in the plan.

It also asks the Commission to confirm whether a fundraising event for the programme is due to take place in the near future.

MEPs are due to set out their position on the funding levels in a motion vote on Wednesday. 

Commissioner: Access to education a 'moral obligation'

Debate on education for Syrian children in Lebanon

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Responding for the Commission, Johannes Hahn tells MEPs that there is a "moral obligation" not to let a generation of Syrian children grow up without an education. 

He adds that there are "a lot of reasons" why Syrian children find their access to education blocked, and they should also "not underestimate" the extent to which children are often forced by their own families to work instead of going to school. 

He says that around €191m is being spent on education in the country, of which 60% is being provided by EU.

He says that Syrian refugees who are qualified teachers should also be allowed by the Lebanese authorities to teach Syrian children. 

Johannes Hahn
BBC

Educating children in Lebanon

UNHCR figures

Syrian refugee children, who fled with their family from Syria, play soccer at a field in front of a Syrian refugee camp in the eastern Lebanese town of Saadnayel
AP

The UN Refugee Agency, the government of Lebanon and other partners like UNICEF are trying to ensure Syrian children in Lebanon get to school, UNHCR says.

The UN refugee agency says a recent report, UNHCR Lebanon: Back to School, showed that 157,984 refugee children were enrolled in formal public education in January, up from 106,735 a year earlier and 62,664 in 2013–2014.  

'Shocking' proportion of Syrians not in school - Slovenian MEP

Debate on education for Syrian children in Lebanon

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Slovenian social democrat Tanja Fajon says she has just returned from a visit to Lebanon, where she found a "shocking" proportion of children are not attending schools. 

She adds that renewing residency permits is costing some parents $200 per year, which they are unable to afford. 

Dutch Liberal MEP Marietje Schaake says European countries should be investing in education schemes in Lebanon, as they "cannot afford" for the country to become destabilised.

Marietje Schaake
BBC

MEP highlights residency problems for parents

Debate on education for Syrian children in Lebanon

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Jeroen Lenaers
BBC

Dutch centre-right MEP Jeroen Lenaers says the EU should focus efforts on the 100,000 Syrian children he says are not in school in Lebanon at the moment. 

He adds that a number of Syrian children also face having their education put at risk because their parents are finding it harder to renew their residency permits.

German social democrat Norbert Neuser adds that the EU should ensure that pledges made at donor conference for Syria in London earlier this year are "actually going to be implemented".

Commissioner: We cannot afford to 'lose generation' of Syrian children

Debate on education for Syrian children in Lebanon

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Commissioner Hahn says that supporting education schemes in Lebanon is vital if they are not to "lose a generation" of displaced Syrian children.

He adds that supporting education schemes is "in our own interest over the long term".

He says the EU has donated €180m towards the sector since the "beginning of the crisis", although he notes that money alone will not guarantee access to education in the country. 

He says this can also be limited by residency laws, the distance that children have to travel to get to a school, and "harassment and discrimination".  

Commissioner Hahn
BBC

MEPs start debate on school places for Syrian children

European Parliament

Strasbourg

That's the debate on the renewal of the Cotonou Agreement finished – MEPs will vote on a draft motion to set out their position tomorrow.

They have now been joined by Johannes Hahn, the EU commissioner responsible for neighbourhood policy, to debate the access to school places of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon.

There are more than a million Syrians officially registered as refugees in Lebanon, a country that has five million citizens, but the real number is believed to be higher.

A number of local authorities in the country have been toughening up their policies towards refugees in recent months. 

Syrian children in a refugee camp in Lebanon
AP

EU 'must learn from mistakes of past' - Polish MEP

Debate on Cotonou Agreement

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Polish centre-right MEP Adam Szejnfeld says the EU needs to "learn from the mistakes of the past" in any new agreement, and says the Cotonou Agreement has not achieved all its stated objectives.

He adds that future relations with the 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific countries should be based mainly on promoting investment rather than trade or "budgetary assistance".

Adam Szejnfeld
BBC

UKIP MEP criticises 'cycle of dependency' in EU aid policy

Debate on Cotonou Agreement

European Parliament

Strasbourg

UKIP MEP Raymond Finch says the EU's trade and aid policies are "based on neo-colonialism" by creating a "cycle of dependency" between donor and recipient countries. 

He says policies such as the Common Agricultural Policy and the European Development Fund are meant to ensure that third world countries are "in the debt" of EU states. 

He adds that the bloc should instead promote free trade as a means to allow those countries to "build their own economies". 

Raymond Finch
BBC

Polish MEP: Aid threats 'interpreted as neo-colonialism'

Debate on Cotonou Agreement

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Jadwiga Wisiewska
BBC

Polish MEP Jadwiga Wisiewska, from the ruling Law and Justice party, says the current agreement has been characterised by a "lack of dialogue" on human rights and "large differences" between countries. 

She says that threatening to withdraw aid funding as punishment for non-respect of human rights provisions can be counter-productive and often interpreted as a form of "neo-colonialism" by the recipient countries.

However Italian social democrat Cecile Kashetu Kyenge says any new deal should "keep the essentials" of the Cotonou Agreement, whilst boosting the role of national parliaments.  

MEP urges push for free trade

Debate on Cotonou Agreement

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Danish Conservative Morten Messerschmidt says that promotion of free trade should be at the heart of the EU's relationship with the 78 affected countries. 

He adds that currently a number of these countries "cannot trade properly with Europe" because of policies dictated by the protectionism of the European agricultural sector.

Morten Messerschmidt
BBC

MEPs urge development and climate goals in new agreement

Debate on Cotonou Agreement

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Labour MEP Jude Kirton-Darling tells MEPs that the UN's sustainable development goals "must be at the heart" of any future agreement with the 78 affected countries. 

She also says the rights monitoring tools in the current agreement should be improved in any new text.  

French centre-right MEP Maurice Ponga says any new agreement should be updated to incorporate the EU's climate change objectives. 

He adds that he hopes the Commission will use tomorrow's motion as the basis for future talks. 

Maurice Ponga
BBC

More background

European Commission body tweets

What’s the European Parliament’s position?

Debate on Cotonou Agreement

European Parliament

Strasbourg

The draft motion calls for a new agreement to be struck, built on the UN’s sustainable development targets agreed in New York last September.

It says the new deal should be explicitly a “political project” in which the African and Caribbean take ownership of the provisions, replacing a “donor-recipient mentality”.

It urges regional parliaments, local authorities and NGOs to be given a greater role in monitoring respect for conditions in the new agreement.

It also says that the European Development Fund – the EU’s main source of development aid funding to the countries covered by the agreement – should be included in the bloc’s general budget.

This move is favoured by the EU Commission and European Parliament but does not have the necessary level of support among member states. 

Commissioner backs ambitions of Parliament motion

Debate on Cotonou Agreement

European Parliament

Strasbourg

International Development Commissioner Neven Mimica gives his backing to the draft motion to be put to the vote tomorrow. 

He says the need to renew the Cotonou Agreement presents a "unique opportunity" to draft a new treaty that implements the main elements of the UN's 2030 agenda for sustainable development. 

He says a "new partnership" should also seek to boost the role of the private sector, which he says has been an "essential motor for development". 

Neven Mimica
BBC

MEPs begin debate on EU-Africa trade and aid treaty

Debate on Cotonou Agreement

European Parliament

Strasbourg

With the week’s agenda approved, MEPs are now debating whether and how the Cotonou Agreement should be replaced when its legal provisions expire in early 2020. 

The treaty, signed 16 years ago, governs overseas aid and human rights provisions in trade deals between the EU and 78 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

It sets out the circumstances under which the EU could cut off aid funding or trigger trade sanctions for countries committing what are deemed democratic or human rights abuses.

The EU’s position on a new agreement is expected before May next year. The European Parliament will have to ratify any new deal before it can come into effect.

Tomorrow MEPs will vote on a draft motion setting out their initial position on the negotiations. 

MEPs reject debate on Hungary referendum

Opening of the plenary session

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Marie-Christine Vergiat
BBC

On behalf of the GUE group, French left-wing MEP Marie-Christine Vergiat suggests that a debate should be added to Wednesday afternoon's agenda on yesterday’s referendum in Hungary, in which voters overwhelmingly rejected mandatory EU quotas for refugees.

However only 43% of the electorate voted, short of the 50% required for the result to be legally binding.

On behalf of the main centre-left group in the Parliament, Spanish Socialist Enrique Guerrero Salom says his group would rather see the matter debated by the civil liberties committee first.

The proposal is eventually rejected by 181 votes to 101, with 11 abstentions. 

MEPs decide to keep debate on abortion in Poland

Opening of the plenary session

European Parliament

Strasbourg

On behalf of the Conservative ECR group, Polish MEP Ryszard Antoni Legutko from the ruling Law and Justice party suggests that Wednesday afternoon’s debate on women’s rights in Poland should be taken off the agenda.

The scheduled debate follows a parliamentary vote in the country to give preliminary approval to a draft law tightening abortion laws.

He says there is “absolutely no aspect” of the EU’s treaties that should allow an EU institution to take a position on the matter, and accuses the Parliament of “interference”.

Speaking against the suggestion, Swedish left-wing MEP Malin Bjork says the Parliament should be able to debate matters pertaining to women's rights. 

His bid to remove the debate is eventually rejected on a show of hands. 

Ryszard Antoni Legutko
BBC

Schulz: Debate on fisheries motion to be postponed

Opening of the plenary session

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Martin Schulz announces that a short debate scheduled for this evening on a motion calling for more standardised application of the monitoring of EU fishing quotas has been postponed. 

He adds that, following requests from the political groups, the short debate will be held at the next plenary sitting. 

MEPs remember Shimon Peres

Opening of the plenary session

European Parliament

Strasbourg

At the request of Parliament President Martin Schulz, MEPs observe a minute's silence in memory of former Israeli prime minister and president Shimon Peres, who died last week

Minute's silence
BBC

Good afternoon

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Hello and welcome to coverage of today’s plenary sitting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, which will begin shortly.

The sitting will begin 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.