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Summary

  1. MEPs debate certification process for people working on canals
  2. They also discuss report into road safety
  3. Worldwide persecution of Christians discussed later

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight & coming up tomorrow

    And with that, today's sitting comes to an end.

    MEPs will be back tomorrow from 08.00 GMT, when they will debate the "Paradise Papers" tax leaks.

    Later, they will debate levels of corruption in Malta and relations with non-EU Eastern European countries.

    In the evening they will also discuss a new method for putting higher tariffs on imported goods that have been unfairly subsidised or sold into the EU below price.

  2. Short speeches begin

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

    This item of business, traditionally held at the end of a Monday plenary sitting, is normally used by MEPs to make points about topical issues or stories of interest to their country or region.

  3. MEP presents report on demographic changes

    Presentation of "own initiative" reports

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Spanish Socialist Iratxe García Pérez has drafted a report from the regional development committee about how to confront “demographic challenges” in the EU.

    The report suggests that declining and ageing populations will require EU economic and social programmes to be “reassessed”.

    Iratxe García Pérez
  4. Committee reports presented

    Next tonight there will be short presentations of “own initiative” reports from two of the assembly’s committees, which will be voted on tomorrow.

    These reports are non-binding and in practice serve as policy suggestions for the European Commission, which has to initiate new EU legislation.

  5. Commissioner responds to MEPs' question on sea grass

    Debate on Mediterranean sea grass

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Karmenu Vella

    Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella tells MEPs that Posidonia has seen regression rates of 10% over the past 50 years.

    The sea grass is protected under the EU's habitats directive and national measures, he says, adding that trawling over Posidonia is prohibited under the EU's common fisheries policy.

    The EU provides support in the form of information as well as financial support from the regional development funds, he says.

    He tells MEPs that more information from national authorities about the state of Posidonia in their seas should be forthcoming next year.

  6. MEPs debate decline in Mediterranean sea grass

    A beach on the French Mediterranean Island of Corsica

    Next up MEPs are debating the decline in a type of Mediterranean sea grass.

    Members of the fisheries and environment committees say Posidonia oceanica constitutes an important part of the sea’s ecosystem.

    Its prevalence has been declining as a result of dredging, coastal development, damage from boat anchoring and pollution, they say.

    In an oral question they have asked the European Commission what is can to help to protect the grass from further decline.

  7. Anti-Christian discrimination 'in large parts of Middle East'

    Debate on worldwide persecution of Christians

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Commissioner Vella says that sectarian prejudice is "one of the diseases of our age".

    Despite the fact that their religion was born in the region, Christians are discriminated against and persecuted in "large parts of the Middle East", he adds.

    Karmenu Vella
  8. MEPs debate worldwide persecution of Christians

    MEPs have now been joined by Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella for a debate on the “the persecutions of Christians in the world”.

    He is speaking on behalf of the EU's foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.

  9. MEP backs greater use of safety technology

    Debate on road safety report

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Irish Fine Gael MEP Deidre Clune says that 95% of road accidents are related to human error.

    Speaking in favour of the report, she says that technology can play a "very important role" in reducing this.

    She cites the introduction of automated seatbelt reminders as an example of "small step that do save lives".

    Deidre Clune
  10. Commissioner: 'Growing use' of smartphones at the wheel

    Debate on road safety report

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc says the "growing use" of smartphones is a factor in a number of road accidents.

    Technology to monitor when a driver is distracted or tired is "on our radar", she adds.

    From Italy's Five Star movement, Daniela Aiuto also puts in a call for better maintenance of roads in areas such as the south of Italy.

    Spending of funds for road improvement should be monitored "in a more transparent way", she adds.

    Daniela Aiuto
  11. MEP: Driver assistance 'an interim step' before driverless cars

    Debate on road safety report

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Markus Ferber

    German Christian democrat Markus Ferber says that his party colleague who drafted the report, Dieter-Lebrecht Koch, cannot be in the chamber for the debate because he is "stuck in transit".

    Speaking on his behalf, Mr Ferber says the call for certain driver assistance systems to be mandatory is intended as an "interim step" to reduce driver error before the arrival of driverless cars.

    Only those systems that are "mature for the market" should be obligatory, he adds.

    Car prices should not shoot up as a result of the changes either, he tells MEPs.

  12. MEPs debate report on road safety

    A man on a bike in a cycle lane

    MEPs are now debating an advisory report from the transport committee with a number of recommendations for improving road safety.

    The draft suggests that member states should build more dedicated cycle lanes to separate cyclists from road traffic.

    It also recommends that certain types of driver assistance systems should become mandatory for new vehicles.

    This should include emergency braking displays, lane-keeping assistance, seatbelt reminders for rear seats and cameras for lorries, it says.

    MEPs will vote on the report tomorrow. It suggestions are not legally binding.

  13. Commissioner welcomes final draft of rules

    Debate on new canal worker rules

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Violeta Bulc

    Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc says the European Commission welcomes the deal struck between MEPs and national ministers on the new rules.

    The updated system will bring "significant benefits" to promote labour mobility within the sector, she says.

    She adds that it will also make it easier for canal workers to operate across borders.

    Ms Bulc cites the legislation as an example of how the EU "can deliver for small businesses".

  14. Lack of 'qualified staff' on canals

    Debate on new canal worker rules

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Gesine Meissner

    German liberal Gesine Meissner, who has acted as the lead negotiator on the new rules for the European Parliament, says the canal transport sector has "too few qualified staff".

    A new system should also help "lateral" movers who enter the sector from other industries, she says.

    She explains that the new system will not apply to everyone, with leisure boats, police and rescue services exempt.

  15. MEPs debate new canal worker rules

    A man uses a dredger to clear a canal

    Next up, MEPs are debating legislation to set up a common system for authorising people to work in canal and river transport.

    At the moment there is a separate certification process for workers in the Rhine region, and mutual recognition of certificates only applies to boatmasters.

    Under the new rules, national authorities would be able to ask for more stringent tests in areas where there are additional risks.

    During the drafting process, MEPs also pushed for the boatmaster exam to include a test of “elementary English” to ensure good communication between vessels.

    MEPs have reached a deal on the rules with national ministers, which faces a final vote tomorrow.

  16. Commissioner welcomes rule change

    Debate on new rules for Eurostat

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Marianne Thyssen

    Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen says the changes will allow policymakers to develop "good policy based on evidence".

    The new statistical typologies, she adds, will help with understanding the "different challenges" faced by urban and rural areas.

    She also welcomes the EU legal definition of a city, which she says should be interpreted in an "unambiguous" manner.

  17. MEPs debate tweak to stats rules

    A man points to something on a map

    MEPs are now debating a legal change which would affect the way the EU’s statistics agency, Eurostat, collects information about towns and cities.

    The proposed tweak would introduce a legal definition of different categories of urban area, in a bid to harmonise statistical analysis across the EU.

    These statistics are used to determine EU regional policy, including an area’s eligibility for cohesion funding.

    MEPs on the regional development committee have recommended that the Commission’s proposals should be adopted without amendment at a vote tomorrow.

  18. Debate on social rights review rejected

    Debate on week's agenda

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts, the co-leader of the Green/EFA group requests a debate on Tuesday about a forthcoming review of EU employment and social rights.

    The idea is also dismissed, this time by 193 votes to 113 with 15 abstentions.

  19. MEPs decline debate on sacked Catalan president

    Debate on week's agenda

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    From the Eurosceptic EFDD group, UKIP MEP James Carver asks for a debate on the European arrest warrant issued against Catalonia's sacked President Carles Puigdemont, who has gone into self-imposed exile in Belgium.

    His request is also rejected, this time at an electronic vote, by 241 votes to 55 with 31 abstentions.

    James Carver
  20. Debate on 'Black Monday' protests rejected

    Debate on week's agenda

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Janice Atkinson

    There’s another request for a debate from the ENF group, this time from ex-UKIP MEP Janice Atkinson.

    She asks for a debate later today about the recent ‘Black Monday’ demonstrations in South Africa against the murder of white farmers.

    However her proposal is also rejected.