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Summary

  1. In the morning MEPs debated a report on how well member states implemented EU law during 2014.
  2. They then debated human rights cases relating to a jailed Rwandan opposition leader, Sudan and British human rights activist Andy Hall in Thailand.
  3. All three motions were approved during the lunchtime voting session.

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

Steven Woolfe

UKIP leadership hopeful Steven Woolfe says he is recovering in hospital after a reported fight at a meeting of the party's MEPs.

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Sitting ends

European Parliament

Strasbourg

And with that, this afternoon's very short debate on climate financing comes to an end. 

That's all from us for this month's plenary sitting - MEPs will however be back in just two weeks' time for their second plenary session of this month, between 24-27 October. 

Green MEP backs 'carbon stress-tests' for banks

Debate on climate finance

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Green MEP Molly Scott Cato says the recent ratification of the Paris climate deal - which MEPs gave their approval to on Tuesday - is a "wonderful opportunity to do things differently". 

She also backs the greater use of "carbon stress-tests" for banks - which would examine climate-related investments in financial tools such as pension schemes. 

She says she welcomes the news that the Commission will be setting up its own "expert group" on sustainable financing, adding that concrete proposals "should not be far behind". 

Molly Scott Cato
BBC

Commissioner: More private investment needed

Debate on climate finance

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Investment commissioner Jyrki Kataian says the agreement of the UN Paris climate deal and the new sustainable development goals were "landmark agreements". 

However he says that there must be greater efforts made to move beyond public investment and "reach out to private investors" for green investment. 

Jyrki Kataian
BBC

UKIP's Steven Woolfe in hospital 'after altercation'

BBC Politics

While the European Parliament has been on a break, news has emerged that the UKIP leadership hopeful Steven Woolfe was taken to hospital following an altercation at a meeting of party MEPs.

In a statement interim leader Nigel Farage said Mr Woolfe had "subsequently collapsed" and his "condition is serious".

Mr Woolfe, MEP for the North West, was taken to hospital in Strasbourg for tests.

Mr Woolfe announced on Wednesday he will stand for the party's leadership after Diane James stepped down.

In his statement, Mr Farage said: "I deeply regret that following an altercation that took place at a meeting of UKIP MEPs this morning that Steven Woolfe subsequently collapsed and was taken to hospital. His condition is serious."

Read more here.

Good afternoon

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Welcome back to coverage of this plenary sitting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

There is only one item remaining on today’s agenda – a short debate with EU investment commissioner Jyrki Katainen on EU sustainable financing.

Last month the Commission proposed that at least 40% of infrastructure spending from the EU’s flagship investment plan will go to projects with “components that contribute to climate action”.

Voting session ends

European Parliament

Strasbourg

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

MEPs call for better application of EU law

Voting session

European Parliament

Strasbourg

They also give their backing to a non-binding motion which calls for “more suitable timetables” for member states to implement EU legislation.

The text says this would allow EU states to take better account of national scrutiny procedures

It follows a debate this morning on a report on how well member states implemented EU law during 2014

The document showed that the Commission received 3,715 complaints reporting potential breaches of EU legislation during the year, and launched 893 new infringement procedures. 

Vote result
BBC

MEPs call for harmonisation of food safety measures

Voting session

European Parliament

Strasbourg

MEPs also approve a non-binding motion calling for EU-wide safety requirements for the use of paper, board, varnishes, metals and alloys in food containers and kitchen equipment.

EU legislation in this area currently sets out general requirements for these products – but specific measures have only been enacted for plastics, ceramics, regenerated cellulose film and so-called active and intelligent materials.

Specific requirements for the rest are currently provided by national authorities. 

MEPs approve human rights motions

Voting session

European Parliament

Strasbourg

MEPs give their backing to the three human rights motions they debated this morning which:

  • call for a “prompt and impartial review” into the case of jailed Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire
  • call for an international investigation into recent allegations that the Sudanese government has been using chemical weapons in Darfur
  • express concern at the conviction of British human rights activist Andy Hall for defamation and computer crimes in Thailand last month 

Votes to begin soon

European Parliament

Strasbourg

That’s the short debate on the three human rights motions finished.

There will now be a short break before today’s voting session gets underway at 11.00 BST.

British MEPs condemn Hall conviction

Human rights motion

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Charles Tannock
BBC

British Conservative MEP Charles Tannock says Thais are still waiting for the "promised return to democracy" since the country's 2014 military coup. 

He says Mr Hall's conviction will "act as a deterrent" to activists and whistleblowers in the country. 

Labour MEP David Martin says the conviction is a "verdict against freedom of expression". 

MEPs begin debate on jailed British rights activist

Human rights motions

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Finally MEPs are now debating a motion expressing concern at the conviction of British human rights activist Andy Hall for defamation and computer crimes in Thailand last month.

Mr Hall, who campaigned for the rights of migrant workers in the country’s fruit industry, was given a three-year suspended jail term and fined 150,000 baht ($4,300; £3,300).

Mr Hall had contributed to a report by a Finnish watchdog, Finnwatch, in 2013 alleging the Natural Fruit Company mistreated its workers.

A motion backed by seven of Parliament’s political groups expresses concern that his conviction might affect the “freedom of human rights defenders to carry out their work”.

A spokesman for the British embassy in Bangkok said they would be raising the matter with the Thai authorities. 

Andy Hall outside court
AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Human rights organisations facing obstacles

Human rights motions

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Wrapping up the short debate, Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom says that respect for human rights in Sudan is "deteriorating". 

She says rights organisation also face a number of obstacles to their work in the country. 

She adds that the EU is working to ensure the "continuous presence" of observers at trials. 

Cecilia Malmstrom
BBC

Czech MEP calls for 'targeted sanctions' against Sudan

Human rights motions

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Italian MEP Ignazio Corrao, from the Five Star movement, says the recent allegations justify an extension of a UN-backed arms embargo on the country. 

Czech Liberal Pavel Telicka says that as well as abusing human rights "on a daily basis", the Sudanese government is also guilty of preventing the work of aid workers in Darfur. 

He says the EU should join "targeted punitive sanctions" against the country's government for non-cooperation with the international criminal court - which has indicted the country's president Omar al-Bashir on counts of genocide and war crimes. 

Pavel Telicka
BBC

MEPs begin debate on Sudan chemical weapons allegations

Human rights motions

European Parliament

Strasbourg

That’s the debate on the jailing of Rwadan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire finished.

The next human rights motion calls for an international investigation into recent allegations that the Sudanese government has been using chemical weapons in Darfur.

Amnesty International has said that more than 200 people – including dozens of children – are estimated to have been killed by the banned weapons since January.

Researchers for the human rights group found 56 witnesses to the alleged use of chemical weapons on at least 30 occasions by Sudanese forces.

The Sudanese government has dismissed the claims as “baseless and fabricated”. 

Darfur
AFP/GETTY
The Sudanese government and rebels have been fighting in Darfur for 13 years

EU in 'political dialogue' over justice matters

Human rights motions

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom tells MEPs that the Commission is "very much aware" of the rejected request for a prison visit. 

She says the EU "closely follow" an appeal from Ms Ingabire against her conviction, and is engaged in "political dialogue" with the government in Rwanda over judicial issues. 

Cecilia Malmstrom
BBC

Ingabire trial 'anything but fair'

Human rights motion

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Belgian conservative Mark Demesmaeker says it is important for MEPs to "cast a spotlight" on the judicial procedure in Rwanda. 

He notes that a number of international reports have described Ms Ingabire's trial as "anything but fair".

The EU, he adds, should attempt to play a leading role in trying to get the Rwandan government to greater respect "human rights and freedom of expression". 

Mark Demesmaeker
BBC

MEPs debate trial of jailed Rwandan opposition leader

Human rights motions

European Parliament

Strasbourg

First up is a motion calling for a “prompt and impartial review” into the case of jailed Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire.

Ms Ingabire was given an eight-year sentence in 2012 for treason and “belittling" Rwanda's 1994 genocide – a sentence the motion describes as politically motivated.

The motion backed by six of Parliament’s political groups says there were irregularities in her trial and the conviction was based on the misuse of “vague and imprecise laws”.

It comes after a delegation of MEPs say they were denied the right to visit Ms Ingabire last month to inquire after her health. 

MEPs to debate human rights motions

European Parliament

Strasbourg

That’s the debate on application of EU law during 2014 finished. MEPs will be soon be voting on their non-binding motion.

However before that, they will now hold short debates on this month’s three topical motions on human rights cases.

The motions will be put to a vote shortly after the debates are finished, during the day’s voting session which is due to begin at 11.00 BST. 

Subsidiarity principle 'simply ignored' by Commission

Debate on application of EU law

European Parliament

Strasbourg

French Front National MEP Marie-Christine Boutonnet says that although the Commission is quick to "act the stern schoolmaster", it could "show an example" by showing more respect for the principle of subsidiarity. 

This is the principle that legislation should not be created at an EU-wide level if the issue can be addressed more effectively by national laws, in policy areas where the EU and member states share responsibility.

In practice, she says, this principle is "simply ignored". 

Marie-Christine Boutonne
BBC

Enforcing EU law 'a question of credibility'

Debate on application of EU law

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Spanish centre-right MEP Ramon Tremosa i Balcells says the non-application of common legislation is the "silent crisis" of the European Union. 

He adds that this trait is most pronounced in poorer southern European states, which he says need to apply the laws to "modernise their economies".

Swedish Liberal Cecilia Wikstrom says that, as chair of the Parliament's petitions committee, she is "constantly reminded" of the problems caused by ineffective application of EU law. 

Ensuring that laws are properly applied is a "question of our credibility", she adds. 

Cecilia Wikstrom
BBC

Commissioner: Enforcement a 'high political priority'

Debate on application of EU law

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova tells MEPs that ensuring the effective application of EU laws is a "high political priority" of the current Commission. 

She adds that individual citizens and groups are a significant source of non-infringement cases, and thanks the Parliament's petition committee for its "important role" in this area. 

The EU executive, she adds, has "not hesitated" to use fines for governments and authorities found not to be applying legislation correctly. 

Vera Jourova
BBC

Application enforcement 'not sufficiently transparent' - MEP

Debate on application of EU law

European Parliament

Strasbourg

Finnish Green MEP Heidi Hautala says their report concluded that the enforcement of the application of EU is "not sufficiently transparent".

She says that once again, infringements in 2014 were highest in areas such as transport, which are "directly linked" to the effective functioning of the internal market. 

Heidi Hautala
BBC

Good morning

European Parliament

Strasbourg

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

The session will be getting underway shortly, when MEPs will be debating a report on how well member states implemented EU law during 2014.

The document showed that the Commission received 3,715 complaints reporting potential breaches of EU legislation during the year, and launched 893 new infringement procedures.

Spain (553), Italy (475) and Germany (276) were the EU states against whom the most complaints were filed.

MEPs will soon vote on a non-binding motion calling for “more suitable timetables” for member states to implement EU legislation, to take account of national scrutiny procedures.