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Summary

  1. MEPs debate EU leaders' summit later this month
  2. They also debate US withdrawal from Paris climate deal
  3. MEPs hear speech from Ivory Coast President
  4. Maltese PM Joseph Muscat defends himself over tax allegations

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight

    That's it from this evening's sitting - MEPs will be back tomorrow at 08.00, when they will first be debating a European Commission target to boost the role of industry in the EU economy.

    After that they will debate this month's three human rights motions, which they will vote on during the day's voting session at lunchtime.

  2. MEP in 'misuse' warning on funding rules

    Debate on funding of EU political groups

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Jan Zahradil

    German Christian democrat Rainer Wieland says the current rules are not effective and should be revised.

    However Czech conservative Jan Zahradil says the requirement linking funding to respect for values must not be "misused" for political purposes.

    He says he hopes any revision will not end up being used against parties who oppose the "federalist orthodoxy" of the EU institutions.

  3. Final debate on funding for European groups begins

    MEPs move to their final debate tonight, which is on the funding arrangements for EU-wide political groups and foundations.

    Last year a number of MEPs said the Parliament should stop paying €600,000 in grants to the far-right Alliance for Peace and Freedom (APF) group.

    The leaders of the Parliament’s three largest political groups have called for a review of the arrangements to ensure recipients respect the EU’s “fundamental values”.

    Tomorrow MEPs are due to vote on a draft motion calling for the funding rules to be revised, and for funding to only be given to groups in line with the “principles” of the EU.

  4. MEPs debate investment rules in ports

    Economic Affairs and Taxation Commissioner Pierre Moscovici stays with MEPs for the next debate tonight, which is on the taxation of ports and compatibility with EU state aid rules.

    Beginning the debate, Mr Moscovici says new EU rules on investment have given greater flexibility when it comes to public investment in ports.

    However, he says the EU executive still has a duty to enforce "fair competition".

    Barcelona port
  5. MEPs debate 'sharing economy' and fake news

    Warsaw tax drivers protest about Uber
    Image caption: Warsaw is the latest EU city to have seen protests from taxi drivers about Uber

    The next debate tonight is on two draft reports from the Parliament’s internal market committee.

    The first urges EU countries to provide “legal clarity” on the status of companies in the so-called sharing economy – but says regulation of new industries should not be “restrictive”.

    Technological changes in various sectors have prompted legal uncertainty about the status of people working for firms like taxi-hailing app Uber.

    The second asks the European Commission to consider EU legislation to force internet companies to do more to stop “fake news” spreading on social media platforms.

  6. Debate on child poverty begins

    Children in Gorton area of Manchester

    Commissioner Moscovici will stay with MEPs as they move to their next debate, which is on levels of child poverty in the EU.

    According to the latest data from Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, around a quarter of children in the bloc were “at risk of poverty or social exclusion” in 2015 – the highest of any age group.

  7. Commission 'aware of concerns' on foreign investment

    Debate on foreign investment in Europe

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici has said the EU has "always welcomed" foreign investment and should continue to do so.

    However, he says the Commission is aware of "growing concerns" about the high level of investment - particularly from state-owned companies - in critical industries.

    Whilst not naming any county in particular, he says this investment often comes from countries where European firms "do not enjoy the same rights to invest".

    He says the Commission is currently assessing EU rules in this area.

  8. MEPs debate foreign investment in Europe

    Hinkley Point C
    Image caption: Chinese financing of a new UK nuclear power station has caused controversy

    Next up, Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici remains with MEPs for a debate about investment from non-EU countries in critical infrastructure.

    Foreign investment into Europe from China in particular reached record levels last year, prompting some concern about investment in strategic industries such as energy.

    Some have called for the EU to have a screening mechanism for such foreign investment, similar to the system which exists in countries such as the US, Australia and Japan.

  9. MEP criticises lack of spending on 'social' projects

    Debate on EU investment plan

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Liadh ni Riada

    Irish Sinn Fein MEP Liadh ni Riada criticises what she calls "chasing after private money" as the emphasis of the scheme.

    She also says the amount lent to projects in "the social sphere", at 4%, is too low.

    Dutch Green Bas Eickhout says that, until the scheme has been reviewed, it was "all very unclear" to what extent the plan was funding projects that would have found funding anyway.

    He says an upcoming revision of the legislation enabling the lending should be used as an opportunity to review areas such as this.

  10. MEP calls for greater 'visibility' from plan

    Debate on EU investment plan

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Jose Manuel Fernandes

    Portuguese centre-right MEP Jose Manuel Fernandes says the investment plan has made the EU economy more competitive, and its extension to 2020 is a sign of its success.

    However he says the plan is "not as visible as it should be".

    Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici says an analysis of investment in comparison to national GDP "balances" the initial impression given on where the money has headed.

  11. MEPs debate EU investment scheme

    Construction site in France

    MEPs are now debating a report from two of Parliament’s committees on the EU’s flagship investment programme, which aims to boost private investment in the EU after the financial crisis.

    The scheme was set up in 2015, having been announced by Jean-Claude Juncker shortly after the present European Commission took office.

    It does so by using a certain amount from the EU budget and money raised by the European Investment Bank to stimulate financing for infrastructure projects and loans for businesses.

    The MEPs’ report says richer EU states have been the overwhelming beneficiaries of the loans from the scheme so far, and more needs to be done for central and eastern European countries.

  12. Muscat: MEPs 'sourcing facts from social media'

    Debate on tax avoidance and rule of law in Malta

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Joseph Muscat

    Maltese PM Joseph Muscat is back on his feet again to sum up the debate.

    In relation to cases connected to the Panama Papers, he says four independent judicial investigations are taking place and "resignations will be in order" if they conclude wrongdoing.

    He accuses some MEPs of "sourcing their facts from social media" - and says he will be appearing before the Panama Papers committee, after the judicial inquiry relating to him is finished.

    On the issue of Malta's tax system, he says that "some might not like it" but it is OECD compliant and has undergone scrutiny from various bodies.

    He also says it is "not true" to say Malta's economy is dependent on financial services, stating:

    Quote Message: We're not a mailbox economy"
  13. MEPs keep concerns over Malta

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Eva Joly

    French Green MEP and onetime presidential candidate Eva Joly also says that questions remain over Mr Muscat's government, despite the prime minister's recent re-election.

    She adds that Malta must do more to show it is not a "tax haven within the EU".

    Polish centre-right MEP Dariusz Rosati, who sits on Parliament's special inquiry committee into the Panama Papers leak, says it is "worrying" that Konrad Mizzi, as well as the prime minister's chief of staff Keith Schembri, have kept government positions whilst inquiries into their affairs are ongoing.

    Both were named in the Panama Papers documents.

    Keeping them in the government sends a "bad signal" to public opinion.

  14. Malta rule of law 'not in danger' - MEP

    Debate on tax avoidance and rule of law in Malta

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Alfred Sant

    Maltese MEP Alfred Sant, who is from the same Labour party as Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, says there is "no basis" to say the rule of law in the country is in danger.

    He notes that inquiries into corruption allegations are proceeding in independence and that Mr Muscat has pledged to respect the results of the judicial investigation implicating him.

    The justification for holding today's debate is "non existent", he adds.

  15. Top MEP: 'Questions remain' over Maltese minister

    Debate on tax avoidance and rule of law in Malta

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Manfred Weber

    German Christian democrat MEP Manfred Weber, who leads the centre-right EPP group, says the "substance" of today's debate centres on the fact he still has a minister in his government who was named in the Panama Papers leaks last year.

    Joseph Muscat has kept former energy minister Konrad Mizzi in government despite the fact he was named in the leak of a huge cache of documents from the Panamian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

    "You won the election, but the questions are still on the table," he says.

  16. Maltese MP defends anti-corruption record

    Debate on tax avoidance and rule of law in Malta

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Joseph Muscat

    Joseph Muscat begins with a summary of action taken in Malta to enforce the rule of law in recent years, including new anti-corruption legislation and a whistleblowers' act.

    He says that after "years of damning reports" from the Council of Europe, the country has now strengthened its party financing laws.

    He adds that his government is also investigating whether to remove immunity from Maltese parliamentarians.

  17. Maltese PM joins MEPs for tax avoidance debate

    Joseph Muscat and his family
    Image caption: Mr Muscat was sworn back in last week

    MEPs have now been joined by newly re-elected Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat for a debate on corruption allegations that led him to call a snap election last month.

    He and his wife deny claims she owned a secret offshore company in Panama.

    The issue of the company, alleged to have received payments from Azerbaijan's ruling family, was first brought to light by a well known Maltese blogger.

    A judicial investigation is under way into the allegations of improper business transactions by his wife, Michelle, and associates.

    Mr Muscat rejected opposition calls to step down and has described the allegations as "the mother of all lies".

  18. EU 'driven apart' over attitudes to national democracy

    Debate on EU values in policy

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Beatrix von Storch

    German conservative Beatrix von Storch says that pro-EU politicians treat those who believe in national democracy as "undemocratic".

    "That is what is driving us apart," she says.

    She says the EU should be founded on "Christian values", although she notes that a plan to allude to this in the prelude to the (aborted) EU constitution drawn up over a decade ago was eventually dropped.

  19. Timmermans: EU should promote 'open' societies

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Frans Timmermans

    European Commission deputy chief Frans Timmermans says it is difficult to promote European solutions at the moment, at a time "where identity politics roams".

    He says strengthening European values informed the European Commission's recent white paper on the future of the EU, which should serve as a "starting point" for debate.

    The EU should be on the side of choosing "open" societies, he adds.

  20. Liberal MEP: Values 'key to strong EU'

    Debate on EU values in policy

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Dutch Liberal Sophia in't Veld says that European politicians have been "wary" of explaining that the EU is a political project, instead preferring to present it as a "technocratic entity".

    This means that the EU's response to increased uncertainty about questions of culture and identity has "not been adequate".

    She accuses "populist" political parties of seeking to "reject pluralism" in questions of identity.

    Values, she says, are "the key" to a strong EU - adding that a belief in the rule of law, for example, is crucial for the effective functioning of the single market.

    Sophia in't Veld