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Summary

  1. MEPs hold debate on the European Volunteering Service
  2. They also debated the future of the EU's youth strategy
  3. They also discussed EU funding for small farms
  4. Yazidi rights activists Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar were announced as the winners of this year's Sakharov human rights prize

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. Sitting ends

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    And with that, this afternoon's short debate on the co-ordination of daylight savings times come to an end. 

    That's also the end of this week's plenary sitting - MEPs will next meet in Strasbourg between 21-24 November. 

  2. UKIP MEP: Daylight should be 'absolutely maximised'

    Debate on daylight savings time

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    UKIP's Julie Reid says that Britain could be said to have "invented time itself" through the creation of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). 

    She says that the country should "take the lead again" by adhering to a system that would "absolutely maximise" the amount of daylight available to people. 

    This, she adds, could might Europe might "follow our lead again" - adding that she also hopes other EU states also follow the UK's Brexit vote. 

    Julie Reid
  3. MEP asks Commissioner to 'provide your own studies'

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    German Christian democrat Herbert Reul says the Parliament is not disputing that having different time zones would cause inconvenience. 

    He says that any move to get rid of daylight saving would obviously need to be done in a harmonised way so as not to have a negative effect on the internal market. 

    He adds that MEPs are asking for the Commission to justify why the current system is necessary, noting: "if our studies are false, you have to provide your own studies". 

    He adds that the current regime of moving the clocks backwards and forwards at two points in the year has been shown to "have an impact on human health". 

    Herbert Reul
  4. Commissioner: 'No conclusive arguments' against daylight saving

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Tibor Navracsics tells MEPs that the Commission is "aware" of various studies into the potential negative effects of daylight saving time. 

    However he says that this evidence does not contain any "conclusive arguments". 

    He says a 2014 study by the Commission into the potential effects of having non-harmonised time zones across the EU found there would be the "potential to inconvenience large numbers of people", particularly in areas such as transport. 

    He says the Commission would "examine the issue more closely" but that it would be premature to go into more detail at this stage. 

    Tibor Navracsics
  5. MEPs begin debate on daylight savings time

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Education and Culture Commissioner Tibor Navracsics will shortly rejoin MEPs for the final item on today’s agenda: a short debate on co-ordination of daylight saving times in the EU.

    Current EU legislation stipulates a common date in both spring and autumn on which clocks must be put forward and back respectively by one hour.

    MEPs on the Transport and Tourism Committee have previously accused the Commission of "deliberately ignoring" evidence suggesting the daylight-saving system has negative consequences on industry and the tourism sector. 

    They tabled an oral question on the issue during the October plenary last year. 

    The installation "Zeitfeld" by Klaus Rinke in Duesseldorf, Germany
    Image caption: European Summer Time ends this Sunday
  6. 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.

    After this the sitting will resume at 14.00 BST, when there will be a short debate about co-ordination of daylight saving times in the EU. 

  7. MEPs call for more recognition of volunteering skills

    Voting session

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    They also pass the non-binding motion they debated this morning calling on the EU to grant better formal recognition of skills gained on volunteering projects.

    The debate was held to mark the 20th anniversary of the European Volunteering Service (EVS).

    The motion also asks the Commission to assess the "added value" of its recently-launched idea of a 100,000-strong “solidarity corps” of young volunteers to respond to crisis situations.

    It says work must be done to make sure the scheme does not "undermine the budgets already allocated for other programmes". 

  8. MEPs pass motion on anti-IS push in Iraq

    Voting session

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    MEPs approve a motion expressing “strong support” for the operation begun last week by government and Kurdish forces against so-called Islamic State (IS) group in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

    A motion drafted by six political groups says the push should be seen as part of a “global” effort to inflict a “lasting defeat” on IS.

    It also calls on the EU and member states to “step up efforts for stabilisation” in areas that are taken back from IS control.

    The UN's refugee agency says it and its partners are gearing up to deal with an expected humanitarian crisis by building camps to house those in need.

    EU Security Commissioner Sir Julian King has said Europe must prepare for returning jihadists if IS is driven out of Mosul.

    A solider's uniform in Mosul
  9. MEPs award rights prize to Yazidi rights activists

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Nadia Murad Basee
    Image caption: Nadia Murad Basee is one of the winners of the Sakharov human rights prize

    European Parliament President Martin Schulz announces that this year’s Sakharov human rights prize goes to Yazidi rights activists Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar.

    The pair were among thousands of Yazidi girls and women in Iraq abducted by so-called Islamic State (IS) and forced into sexual slavery in 2014. 

    MEPs have awarded the prize, named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, to individuals or organisations since 1988 to recognise efforts to promote human rights and democracy.

    Last year’s prize was awarded to jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes in Saudi Arabia for "insulting Islam".

    Liberal Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt, who leads one of the two political groups in the Parliament that nominated them, broke the news on Twitter before the announcement.

  10. Votes to begin soon

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    That’s the debate on EU funding for farmers finished. MEPs are now taking their seats for today’s voting session.

    Before the votes get underway, however, European Parliament President Martin Schulz will be announcing the winner of this year’s Sakharov human rights prize. 

  11. MEPs debate payments to farmers

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    A tractor ploughs a field at a farm in France

    That’s the debate on the EU’s Youth Strategy finished. MEPs will vote on their resolution soon.

    Next this morning, MEPs are debating another non-binding motion urging the EU to make “full use” of recent changes to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to provide more help to young farmers.

    It also calls for more CAP funding to be directed at smaller farms, noting that just 13% of beneficiaries received 74% of all funding during 2014.

    The motion will also be put to a vote at the voting session which will begin after 11.00 BST. 

  12. 'Room for improvement' in current scheme

    Debate on EU youth strategy

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Education and Culture Commissioner Tibor Navracsics tells MEPs that the Youth Strategy is an "essential framework" for national youth policies. 

    He adds that there is "room for improvement" in the current strategy, including a "stronger focus on key competencies" such as improving digital skills. 

    Tibor Navracsics
  13. MEPs begin debate on youth strategy

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    That’s the debate on the European Volunteering Service finished – MEPs will be voting on their resolution shortly.

    MEPs are now debating a review into the EU’s Youth Strategy for 2013 – 2015.

    Although youth policy is a responsibility of national authorities, the EU attempts to provide guidance and to co-ordinate activities between member states.

    MEPs will shortly vote on a non-binding motion calling for the next version of the strategy to focus on identifying and tackling the causes of youth unemployment.

    It also says more investment should be made in apprenticeships and vocational training to give young people skills that “reflect labour market opportunities”. 

    It also says any future version of the strategy should also make provisions for "young refugees and asylum seekers". 

  14. MEPs clash on EVS scheme and identity

    Debate on European Volunteering Service

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Dominique Bilde

    French Front National MEP Dominique Bilde questions whether the EVS is a scheme designed to promote the idea of a European identity. 

    She says the scheme should not be used to undermine national identities - something she alleges some of the MEPs "don't like". 

    She adds that volunteers should be recognised for the work that they do, but the scheme should not be used for "political capital".   

    The "rapporteur" - or author - of the motion, Silvia Costa intervenes to ask Ms Bilde to remember that the EVS is intended as a transnational scheme. 

    She also accuses the French MEP of "missing the fact" that not everyone in Europe has a single national identity. 

  15. MEP calls for more promotion of EVS in schools

    Debate on the European Volunteering Service

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Spanish Liberal MEP Maria Teresa Gimenez Barbat says more should be done to raise awareness of the EVS scheme in schools and universities. 

    She points out that in Spain, this is not yet done and most of the promotion of the scheme comes from local initiatives. 

    The work of the EVS, she adds, is "not sufficiently known".

    Maria Teresa Gimenez Barbat
  16. Skills should better recognised - Commissioner

    Debate on the European Volunteering Service

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Education and Culture Commissioner Tibor Navracsics says that around 40% of those on the EVS are "young people with fewer opportunities".

    He adds that the Commission is committed to making sure that the skills acquired by volunteers are "better recongnised" and help them find jobs. 

    He says the EU is also supporting schemes which will award study credits to those who undertake volunteering activities during their studies. 

    He says the EU executive also wants to improve the EVS by developing "innovative practices" and introducing new training techniques. 

    Tibor Navracsics
  17. MEP calls for more funding for 'solidarity corps'

    Debate on the European Volunteering Service

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Italian social democrat Silvia Costa, who has drafted the motion, pays tribute to volunteering as an expression of  "solidarity and friendship".

    She also highlights the economic benefits of the sector, claiming it contributes to 5% of the EU's GDP. 

    She adds that the Commission's plans for the new European Solidarity Corps must however be backed up with additional resources. 

    Silvia Costa
  18. Good morning

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

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

    The sitting will be getting underway shortly, when MEPs will be debating the European Volunteering Service (EVS), which marks its 20th anniversary this year.

    Later this morning they will vote on a non-binding motion calling on the EU to grant better formal recognition to the skills gained by people whilst on volunteering schemes. 

    However it underlines that volunteers "should never be considered or used as replacement labour". 

    It also asks the Commission to assess the "added value" of its recently-launched idea of a 100,000-strong “European Solidarity Corps” to volunteer to respond to crisis situations. 

    It says work must be done to make sure the scheme does not "undermine the budgets already allocated for other programmes".