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Summary

  1. European Parliament approves its red lines for the Brexit negotiations
  2. Assembly will not participate directly in talks but must approve final deal
  3. Final motion backs time-limiting any transitional arrangements to three years
  4. MEPs debate EU-wide cap on the wholesale price of mobile roaming data
  5. They also discuss whether to approve an EU visa waiver for Ukrainians

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight & Coming up tomorrow

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

    MEPs will be back tomorrow from 08.00 BST, when they will debate EU efforts to tackle anti-Roma discrimination.

    They will also debate and vote on three topical human rights motions.

    From 11.00 BST, they will vote on whether to approve an EU visa waiver for Ukrainians.

    They will also hold a final vote on an EU-wide cap on the wholesale price of mobile roaming data. 

  2. MEPs debate UN conference on status of women

    UN headquarters in New York

    Finally tonight, MEPs are debating the outcome of a UN conference on the status of women held last month in New York.

    Before the conference, the European Parliament approved a motion proposing that the EU makes five areas its priorities.

    These included reducing barriers to women in the jobs market and a focus on helping marginalised women.

    The women’s rights committee has tabled an oral question to ask how these points were taken into account.

  3. Commission: Coalition refusal risks political stability

    Debate on Macedonia's EU application

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Neven Mimica

    International Development Commissioner Neven Mimica tells MEPs that the political situation in Macedonia, which is a "very serious concern". 

    He says that President Ivanov's refusal to grant a mandate a coalition of Social Democrats and ethnic Albanian parties risks undermining the stability of the country. 

    He adds that "inflammatory" inter-ethnic rhetoric must end. 

    He urges Macedonia to continue the EU's suggested judicial reforms, and says that the country's co-operation over migration will not mean the bloc "turn a blind eye" to democratic shortcomings. 

  4. MEPs debate Macedonia EU application

    MEPs are now debating a report from the foreign affairs committee on Macedonia’s EU membership application.

    Macedonia became an official candidate for membership in 2005 but the EU has yet to start accession talks with the country.

    The former Yugoslav republic has been in political crisis for two years following a phone-tapping scandal.

    December's general elections were brought forward two years as part of a Western-brokered agreement, but failed to produce an outright winner. 

    Protests in Skopje
    Image caption: Skopje recently saw protests against attempts by social democrats to forge a coalition with ethnic Albanian parties
  5. What is the Privacy Shield?

    Data servers

    In February 2016, the EU and US agreed a new pact to make it easy for organisations to transfer data across the Atlantic.

    Key points of the agreement are:

    • the US will create an ombudsman to handle complaints from EU citizens about Americans spying on their data
    • the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence will give written commitments that Europeans' personal data will not be subject to mass surveillance
    • the EU and US will conduct an annual review to check the new system is working properly    
  6. MEPs debate motion critical of data sharing pact

    MEPs are now debating a non-binding motion which criticises data protection standards in the new EU-US data-sharing agreement.

    The “Privacy Shield” agreement replaces an arrangement known as Safe Harbour, which was struck down in October 2015 after leaks showed data was subject to US surveillance.

    The new agreement is up for a review this summer.

    MEPs’ motion, which will not be binding on the European Commission, will be put to a vote tomorrow morning. 

  7. Visa waiver 'sign of support' for Ukraine - MEP

    Debate on visa waiver for Ukraine

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Croatian social democrat Tonico Picula says he is glad the visa waiver is up for a final vote tomorrow. 

    Granting visa-free travel is a "real sign of support to Ukraine and its citizens", he adds. 

    Dutch Liberal Hans van Baalen also signals his support, telling MEPs that Ukraine has met all the criteria and the country should not be "punished" for being a victim of "Russian aggression". 

    Hans van Baalen
  8. Commissioner: Waiver will strengthen EU-Ukraine ties

    Debate on visa waiver for Ukraine

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Vera Jourova

    Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova says it has been a "long process" but Ukraine has met all of the relevant EU conditions for obtaining a waiver on visa requirements. 

    She adds that respect for these criteria will, especially obligations to tackle organised crime, will be closely monitored by the Commission. 

    The visa waiver will prove an "essential contribution" to strengthening "cultural and economic ties" between the EU and Ukraine, she adds. 

  9. MEPs debate visa waiver for Ukraine

    Security checks at Helsinki airport

    MEPs are now debating plans to waive visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens travelling to the EU.

    The visa waiver, due to be put to a final vote tomorrow, would give holders of biometric passports the right to travel for up to three months without needing a visa.

    The new measure will not give Ukrainians the automatic right to work in the EU. It will apply to all member states except the UK and Ireland.

    It follows the approval of new EU emergency powers to suspend visa-free travel rights last December.

    The new powers allow either the Commission or a majority of EU states to suspend a country’s visa exemptions if there is a large increase in asylum requests. 

  10. Sitting resumes

    Debate on cap on wholesale price for mobile data

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Gunnar Hokmark

    After a brief interlude, MEPs take their seats again and continue with the sitting. 

    Acting chair Boguslaw Liberadzki tells them that it is not clear what caused the alarm, but that MEPs “certainly weren’t in any danger”.

    As the debate continues, Swedish centre-right MEP Gunnar Hokmark gives his backing to the new cap, arguing that it will take Europe's digital market to "a new level". 

    Another centre-right MEP, Poland's Dariusz Rosati, says he is glad the legislation is nearing completion given it faced "opposition" from some telecoms companies. 

    "It was a long road but it was worth taking," he adds. 

  11. Alarm suspends sitting

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    It appears that the sitting has been suspended - due to an alarm. 

    Plenary
  12. UKIP MEP warns of 'unintended consequences'

    Debate on cap on wholesale price for mobile data

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Roger Helmer

    David Borrelli, from Italy's Five Star movement, says that telecoms companies might try to compensate for lost revenue by charging extra for services at a national level.

    UKIP's Roger Helmer makes a similar point, warning that the policy to abolish roaming fees will have "unintended consequences" that "come back to bite us in the ankle". 

    He puts the "cynical pursuit" of the measure down to an attempt from the EU's institutions to generate "positive headlines".  

  13. What are wholesale data prices?

    Debate on cap on wholesale price for mobile data

    Telephone line

    Wholesale charges are the fees telecoms operators must pay for using other companies' networks.

    They are an underlying charge behind the roaming charges, which users pay when connecting to an operator based abroad. 

    The new caps have to be low enough for operators to be able to offer fee-free roaming to customers without putting up domestic prices, but high enough so they can recover their costs.

    There should also be enough money in the system for continuing maintenance and upgrading of networks. 

  14. Commissioner urges backing for legislation

    Debate on cap on wholesale price for mobile data

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Andrus Ansip

    Digital Single Market Commissioner Andrus Ansip urges MEPs to give their final backing to the new legislation when it is put to a vote tomorrow. 

    Without it, he adds, "many operators" will not be able to get rid of roaming charges without also raising their domestic prices. 

    The roaming ban will have an "immediate positive impact" for consumers, he says, as well as promoting a "more vibrant" single market in the digital sphere.

  15. MEP: Parliament has 'taken side of citizens'

    Debate on cap on wholesale price for mobile data

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Miapetra Kumpula-Natri

    Finnish social democrat Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, who has acted as Parliament's lead negotiator on the legislation, says the roaming charges ban has been a "longstanding priority" for MEPs. 

    From the middle of June, she says, people within the EU will be able to "call friends from the beach" without the "fear or surcharges". 

    During the negotiations, she says, the Parliament has sought to take the side of "citizens and smaller operators". 

  16. MEPs begin debate on mobile data price cap

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Man using mobile phone

    MEPs are now debating legislation that would cap the price of wholesale roaming charges that telecoms companies can charge each other for mobile data.

    The new law is part of measures accompanying a total ban on roaming charges within the EU which is due to come into effect from June.

    The European Parliament has pushed for a lower cap on the price of data and voice calls than that originally proposed by the EU Commission.

    Some telecoms companies as well as European countries with lots of tourist destinations wanted a higher cap, arguing the money would be invested into improving the networks.

    MEPs have found a compromise with national ministers on the new caps, which will be put to a vote tomorrow.

  17. MEP urges legal limits on news 'manipulation'

    Debate on impact of 'fake news'

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Czech Liberal Pavel Telicka says the fight against fake news is "not just a national task", and he is glad the European Commission is "looking into it".

    He says there should be a "range of tools" for identifying false information online. 

    German Christian democrat Elmar Brok says that new forms of media were meant to lead to new forms of expression but have increasingly become "instruments of manipulation". 

    "Limits have to be placed on this manipulation - and that must come through the law", he adds. 

    Elmar Brok
  18. Video content

    Video caption: Brexit: Nigel Farage says EU behaving like the mafia

    There have been sharp exchanges in the European parliament over Britain's exit from the EU.

  19. MEP warns of 'movement against expert opinion'

    Debate on impact of 'fake news'

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Charles Tannock

    Conservative MEP Charles Tannock says that much fake news is the latest iteration of "populist propaganda".

    He adds that attacks on a "metropolitan elite" are part of a "wider movement against expert opinion".