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Summary

  1. MEPs debate EU Commission suggestions for future of Europe
  2. Afternoon sees debates on next week's EU summit and missing migrant children
  3. Evening debate on the right of EU citizens to get residency rights in the UK
  4. MEPs also debate greater EU powers to oversee energy contracts

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

Goodnight

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

MEPs will be back tomorrow at 07:30 GMT, when they will open with a debate on the Creative Europe programme for supporting cultural activities. 

Short speeches begin

That's the debate on access to medicines finished - the vote on the resolution will take place tomorrow morning. 

Finally tonight, there will be a round of short one-minute speeches from backbench MEPs.

This item of business is normally used by MEPs to make points about topical issues or stories of interest to their country or region. 

MEPs begin debate on access to medicines

Bottle of pills
PA

MEPs move on to their next debate tonight, which is on ways to improve access to expensive medicines.

A motion from the assembly’s public health committee to be voted on tomorrow calls for the EU to do more to increase the transparency of pharmaceutical costs.

It says that the “high level of public funds” used for research and development is not reflected in the price of medicines because of patenting and licensing regulations.

The draft text adds that this can hamper getting a “fair public return on public investment”. 

Commissioner hoping for 'strong backing' of law

European Parliament

Brussels

Miguel Arias Canete
EP

Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete tells MEPs that in recent years around a third of inter-governmental energy agreements have been found non-compliant with EU law. 

However, he says that not a single such agreement has been renegotiated after having been signed - hence the need for the new law. 

He says he is confident that the compromise position on the legislation will receive "strong backing" at the vote tomorrow. 

He adds that the new rules will ensure greater compliance, which will improve the "functioning" of the EU's internal market. 

MEPs begin debate on energy contract oversight

European Parliament

Brussels

MEPs are now debating legislation which would require EU governments to submit draft energy contracts with non-EU countries to the Commission before they are signed.

The Commission would then assess whether the draft complied with EU law. At the moment, countries only have to inform the Commission after deals are signed.

The new law is part of EU plans for an “energy union” which reduces the reliance of certain member states on energy imports from Russia.

MEPs will vote tomorrow on a compromise position on the law agreed with member states in December.

Under the agreement, only oil and gas contracts will have to be seen by the Commission before being signed – with an exemption for electricity contracts.  

Gas pipelines
AFP

MEPs begin debate on EU court of Justice

European Parliament

Brussels

MEPs are now debating the gender composition of judges at the EU’s Court of Justice.

At the moment the Court has 32 male judges and 7 female judges.

An EU regulation adopted in late 2015 says that EU states should aim to nominate one woman and one man when replacing judges, so as to promote a better gender balance.

Court of Justice in Luxembourg
Reuters

UKIP MEP criticises EU response

Debate on EU citizens' rights in UK

European Parliament

Brussels

UKIP MEP Raymond Finch calls MEPs in the chamber "elitists" and not willing to acknowledge that the Brexit vote was about controlling immigration. 

He says the future of EU citizens is being held in the balance by the EU itself, which he calls an "absolute disgrace".

"May you all suffer for what you're doing to those people", he adds. 

Raymond Finch
EP

Labour MEP: UK using EU citizens as 'pawns'

Debate on EU citizens' rights in UK

European Parliament

Brussels

Labour MEP Richard Corbett accuses the UK government of using EU citizens as "pawns" in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations. 

He says that MEPs should refer the final Brexit deal to the European Court of Justice if it does not provide appropriate protection for EU citizens' rights. 

Richard Corbett
BBC

EU and UK citizens 'deserve to know what their rights will be'

Debate on EU citizens' rights in UK

European Parliament

Brussels

Vera Jourova
BBC

Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova tells MEPs that EU citizens in UK and British citizens elsewhere in the EU "deserve to know that their rights will be" after Brexit. 

She says the matter should be addressed "as soon as possible" but says negotiations can only begin after the UK has triggered Article 50. 

She says the Commission is not able to answer the specific questions in the oral question, as EU rules do not oblige national governments to collect and share data in this area. 

There has only been "limited" progress in improving the collection of these statistics, she adds, due to reluctance from member states. 

She adds that there are currently eight infringement proceedings against EU states for breaches of free movement rules, of which two have been filed against the UK.

Green MEP warns of 'targeted administrative efforts' against EU citizens

Debate on EU citizens' rights in UK

European Parliament

Brussels

Barbara Spinelli
BBC

Left-wing Italian MEP Barbara Spinelli says the UK should remain "accountable" to EU law until such time as it departs. 

UK Green MEP Jean Lambert says that the UK "is not the only state" where there are issues with the application of EU residency rights. 

She adds that the lack of certainty for EU citizens about whether they will have the right to stay after Brexit is a matter of "huge concern". 

She says there has been a "shift in position" from the UK government on the matter of medical cover - and evidence either of incompetence or "targeted administrative efforts" to delay applications. 

Labour MEP: 'Delays and panic' at application forms

Debate on EU citizens' rights in UK

European Parliament

Brussels

Catherine Bearder
EP

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder says EU citizens in the UK should not be "political bargaining chips" in the Brexit negotiations. 

She says the UK government should immediately guarantee the right of EU citizens to stay. 

Labour MEP Claude Moraes, who chairs the assembly's civil liberties committee, says 28% of permanent residency applications since the referendum have been rejected or declared invalid. 

He adds that the 85-page form for demanding the right to stay often instills "delays and panic". 

MEPs begin debate on EU citizens' rights in UK

MEPs are now debating the requirements for EU citizens to get the right to permanently live in the UK.

An oral question expresses concern about reports that the UK is "restrictively" applying the rules for gaining residence status.

Currently, the UK insists certain EU citizens must have personal health insurance in order to qualify as legally resident after three months. 

The Home Office says that having the right to use NHS services does not count.

It comes as many EU citizens apply for the permanent right to stay following the Brexit vote last year. 

Red London bus near an EU flag
Reuters

MEPs debate Russia domestic violence law

Justice and Gender Equality Commissioner Vera Jourova remains with MEPs to debate a law recently passed in Russia to decriminalise some forms of domestic violence.

Under the proposed legislation, first-time offenders who do not cause serious injury will face a maximum of 15 days police custody instead of up to two years in jail.

Under the bill, the first offence would be considered administrative rather than criminal and punished with a fine of up to 30,000 rubles (£400; €470), detention of up to 15 days or compulsory community service up to 120 hours. 

Woman with her head in her hands
PA

MEP: Wage projections a 'call to action'

Polish centre-right MEP tweets:

'Bleaker' situation with pensions - Maltese presidency representative

Debate on average salaries of men and women

European Parliament

Brussels

Representing Malta's EU presidency, Maltese Parliamentary Secretary Chris Aguius says that gender discrimination has been illegal for some time but this is not the same as "real equality". 

He says a gender pay gap exists and is over 20% in some EU states, with an "even bleaker" situation when it comes to pensions.

He adds that some of the lowest wages are seen in jobs where women are dominant, such as cleaning and care work.  

Chris Aguius
EP

MEPs debate 'gender gap' in average salaries

MEPs are now debating average salaries of men and women in the EU.

Figures from Eurostat suggest that women's gross hourly earnings were on average 16.7% below those of men in 2014.

This difference in the average figure does however differ substantially in different EU states. 

MEP calls for special child units at reception centres

Debate on missing migrant children

European Parliament

Brussels

Monika Hohlmeier
BBC

German Christian democrat Monika Hohlmeier says that there are "some areas where we can do something" at an EU rather than national level. 

She asks the Commissioner to consider getting EU border agency Frontex to set up special units for children in the so-called "hotspot" reception areas. 

Hungarian social democrat Peter Niedermuller says draft legislation proposed by his country's government will increase the chance that children get "stuck in transit zones".

Why are 10,000 migrant children missing in Europe?

By Helena Merriman, Presenter, The Inquiry, BBC World Service

BBC World Service

Europol, the EU's police intelligence unit, estimates that around 10,000 unaccompanied children have gone missing in Europe over the past two years.

The BBC World Service Inquiry programme asks why so many have disappeared.

Read more

UKIP MEP: Schengen has created 'asylum racket'

Debate on missing migrant children

European Parliament

Brussels

Gerard Batten
BBC

UKIP MEP Gerard Batten says that the criminal gangs who are smuggling children into Europe will often have been paid by their parents. 

He says this is a consequence of an "asylum racket", which he says is linked to the Schengen area - with parents sending their children first, so they can follow later.