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Summary

  1. ECB chief Mario Draghi joins MEPs to debate Bank's annual report
  2. Debate follows on controversial diesel emissions tests on monkeys
  3. New rules for online retailers debated ahead of vote tomorrow
  4. Overhaul of EU carbon trading scheme discussed in the evening

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight & Coming up tomorrow

    Lastly tonight MEPs will have the chance to make short topical speeches - but that's where we leave our coverage for tonight.

    MEPs will be back tomorrow from 08.00 GMT, when Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic will lead a debate on the future of the EU.

    At the voting session they will vote on setting up an inquiry committee into pesticide authorisations.

    Later they will debate the EU's new enlargement strategy for Western Balkans, due to be unveiled tomorrow.

  2. MEPs debate adding countries to financing blacklist

    Next up tonight MEPs are debating whether Tunisia, Sri Lanka and Trinidad and Tobago should be added to a blacklist of states considered at high risk of money laundering and terrorism financing.

    The European Commission has said the countries have strategic deficiencies in their regimes to tackle money laundering and terror financing.

    On Wednesday MEPs will have the chance to veto the idea, amid concerns about the effect of including Tunisia in particular.

    The economics and monetary affairs committee has advised against such a move - but only narrowly, by 32 votes to 28.

  3. MEPs debate report on clean energy

    Next up MEPs are debating a draft report from the industry and energy committee on ways to improve innovation in the clean energy sector.

    It recommends greater spending on research and innovation and lowering barriers to entry for innovators.

    It also proposed increasing education to boost energy saving.

  4. Commissioner calls for support for 'robust framework'

    Debate on EU carbon trading system

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Miguel Arias Canete

    Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete says the negotiated changes constitute a "solid and robust framework for the next decade".

    The changes will allow the EU to foster greater energy innovation whilst providing protections to industry, he tells MEPs.

    He adds that he hopes they will support the negotiated compromise at the vote tomorrow.

  5. What changes are going to be made?

    Debate on EU carbon trading system

    Power plant in Germany

    Under the plans, the rate at which emission allowances are being withdrawn from the market would be stepped up from 2021.

    Weak economic growth in the years after the scheme was set up in the mid-2000s has meant the price of allowances has fallen well below expectations.

    Funds raised from auctioning allowances will be used to set up funds to help industries in poorer member states modernise their energy and for green innovation.

    The current phase of the scheme is due to end in 2020 – it is not yet clear whether British companies will continue to participate after Brexit.

    EU states and MEPs have agreed a plan to prevent a mass selloff of allowances if the UK does decide to leave.

  6. Debate on carbon trading system begins

    Smoke rising from a factory

    MEPs are now debating a revision of the EU’s carbon trading programme for the years 2021-2030.

    The emissions trading system (ETS) works by making emitters buy "allowances" authorising them to emit greenhouse gases, within an overall agreed limit.

    It applies to more than 11 000 power stations and industrial plants, which together account for 45 % of greenhouse gas emissions within the EU.

    MEPs have reached a provisional agreement on the reforms with national ministers which will be put to a final vote tomorrow.

  7. Commissioner: Current VAT system 'prone to fraud'

    Debate on EU VAT law

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Commissioner Dombrovskis

    Commissioner Dombrovskis tells MEPs that the "VAT gap" is estimated at more than €150bn per year and cross-border fraud of the tax is worth around €50bn a year.

    The current system, he adds, is "prone to fraud" and not suitable for the increasing number of European companies that are selling products across national borders.

    He outlines plans launched in October last year to create a single EU VAT area.

    The cornerstone of this will be an online portal that will provide a single area for companies to register for VAT on sales, he adds.

  8. MEPs move to debate on EU VAT law

    MEPs have now been joined by Financial services Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis to debate the European Commission's plans to reform EU VAT law.

  9. Background: New rules on ‘geo-blocking’

    Debate on online retail rules

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    No entry sign in London

    The new law would prevent firms from "geo-blocking" a user from a website, based on where they are accessing it from within the EU.

    It will apply to websites selling goods such as clothes and appliances, as well as for people who book a service such as a room in a hotel or car rental.

    Firms will not be forced to deliver goods cross-border if they don’t offer this service already – but charging additional fees to users in different EU countries will be banned.

    Financial, transport, communication and healthcare services have been excluded from the scope of the regulation.

    MEPs did not manage to get copyrighted products included but won a concession from the EU Commission that this will be reviewed within two years.

  10. MEPs 'couldn't get over' opposition on copyrighted goods

    Debate on online retail rules

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Roza Grafin von Thun und Hohenstein

    Polish centre-right MEP Roza Grafin von Thun und Hohenstein, who acted as Parliament's lead negotiator on the legislation, says they had wanted to get copyrighted material - excluding broadcasts - included in the new rules.

    This would have extended their provisions to cover products such as e-books and music, she says.

    However, she tells the hemicycle that Parliament's negotiating team "couldn't get over" resistance to this from national governments.

  11. MEPs debate new EU rules for online retailers

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Person using laptop

    MEPs are now debating legislation aiming to prevent traders within the EU from discriminating between online customers depending on where they live.

    It means people buying goods and services online will not be blocked or redirected to a different website based on their IP address.

    The new rules will not however cover products covered by copyright, such as e-books, downloadable music or online games.

    The European Parliament has agreed a compromise on the new law with national ministers, which will be put to a final vote tomorrow.

    If approved, the legislation will come into effect nine months after it gets the final sign-off from national ministers.

  12. Commissioner 'shocked' by news of tests

    Debate on emissions tests on humans and monkeys

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska

    Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska says she was "shocked" at the latest revelations.

    The European Commission condemns the tests "in the strongest possible way", she tells MEPs.

    She says she doubts whether the latest testing was just an isolated example of misbehaviour, adding that the German car industry is facing "systemic" problems in this area.

    EU tools for reacting to the revelations are "still limited", she says, but the matter is now in the hands of national authorities.

  13. MEPs debate emissions tests on monkeys and humans

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    A protester wears a mask and a placard reading "diesel emissions kill" in German
    Image caption: The latest scandal has sparked protests in Germany

    Next up MEPs are debating controversial diesel emissions tests on humans and monkeys carried out by a now disbanded body.

    The exhaust fume tests were carried out by EUGT, which had been funded by Volkswagen as well as rivals Daimler, which owns Mercedes Benz, and BMW.

    VW chief executive Matthias Mueller has said the German car maker had "taken first consequences" for the tests.

    The firm has suspended its chief lobbyist Thomas Steg, who admitted to knowing in advance about the monkey experiment, which took place in New Mexico in 2014.

  14. 'Political uncertainty' over Brexit transition - Draghi

    Debate on the European Central Bank annual report

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Mario Draghi

    Responding to the debate, Mario Draghi defends the bank's actions as being in line with the bank's mandate to maintain price stability in the eurozone.

    The best way to reduce inequality, he adds, is to reduce unemployment. "That's what we've done", he tells MEPs.

    The differences in growth between eurozone states is now back to around the levels last seen in 1995 or 1996, he adds.

    He says a Brexit transition deal as envisaged by December's interim deal "could be useful to smooth out the Brexit process".

    However this transition is "still exposed to political uncertainty", he says, and "that will remain for some time to come".

  15. Italian MEP: Bond-buying should continue

    Debate on the European Central Bank annual report

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Italian social democrat Roberto Gualtieri, who chairs the economic and monetary affairs committee, says the report to be voted on tomorrow expresses an overall "positive judgment" on the ECB's bond-buying programme.

    He says he agrees it should be continued until September.

    German conservative Bernd Lucke tells MEPs that buying Greek bonds should be resisted.

    This constitutes "funding states" through monetary policy, he adds.

    Bernd Lucke
  16. MEP: Bond-buying measures 'have reached their limits'

    Debate on the European Central Bank annual report

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Romanian centre-right MEP Siegfried Muresan says that welcome economic growth "still has to translate" into higher public and private investment.

    He is also concerned about the effect of persistently low interest rates for the insurance sector, he adds - and says the bank's monetary policy interventions have "reached their limits".

    Flemish nationalist Sander Loones, from the conservative ECR group, says he hopes the bank's bond-buying scheme does definitely end in September, and calls for it to stop now.

    It has helped the rich get "richer and richer", he adds, whilst proving detrimental for individual savers.

    Sander Loones
  17. Draghi: Brexit preparations 'essential'

    Debate on the European Central Bank annual report

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Mario Draghi

    ECB chief Mario Draghi says the bank "played a key role" in the eurozone's economic recovery.

    The bank's actions were "in line with its mandate", he adds.

    He says confidence that inflation will get back towards the bank's 2% annual target has "strengthened" but he notes: "we can't yet declare victory on this front".

    Preparations are "essential", he tells MEPs, for dealing with "frictions" that may arise during a Brexit transition period - especially for if no transitional agreement is reached.

  18. MEPs debate report into eurozone central bank

    European Central Bank

    With the agenda approved, MEPs have been joined by European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi to debate the body's annual report for 2016.

    The year saw very low inflation - well below the ECB's 2% target. The bank decided to prolong its bond-buying programme launched the year before, but announced it would be scaled back.

    The programme has since been extended again, and is now due to end in September this year.

    Tomorrow MEPs will vote on a report which welcomes the programme but expresses concerns about the effect it's having on asset prices and individual savers.

    It also calls for the bank to show greater transparency and to be more accountable to the European Parliament for its decisions.

  19. MEPs reject move to postpone vote on Wednesday

    Debate on the agenda

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Nicholas Bay

    On behalf of the anti-EU ENF group, Front National MEP Nicholas Bay asks for Wednesday's vote on the future composition of the European Parliament to be moved to Thursday or the next plenary.

    This would allow Front National MEPs to attend the funeral in Paris of their former colleague Edouard Ferrand, who died last week, he says.

    MEPs began the sitting with a minute's silence to mark his death.

    However the request is rejected on a show of hands.

  20. Good afternoon

    Hello and welcome to coverage of today’s plenary sitting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

    The sitting will be getting underway shortly, when MEPs will hear administrative announcements and approve the agenda.

    Proposals to add debates have to be made to the President at least one hour before the sitting opens.

    They can be tabled by one of the Parliament’s committees, one of its political groups, or a group of 40 MEPs – it must then be approved by a simple majority.