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Summary

  1. Belgian PM Charles Michel defends climate action and free trade during debate with MEPs
  2. MEPs approve €4.6m in EU funds to retrain ex-Caterpillar workers in Belgium
  3. They also call for global ban on cosmetics tested on animals

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodbye

    That's it from the European Parliament for this week.

    MEPs will next meet for a full plenary session in Strasbourg on 28-31 May.

  2. Call for worldwide ban on animal-tested cosmetics

    Voting session

    European Parliament

    Brussels

    MEPs also pass a motion calling for a worldwide ban on the use of animal testing for cosmetic products.

    The sale of animal-tested cosmetics has been banned in the EU since 2013 but around 80% of countries around the world still allow it.

    The non-binding motion says the European Commission should exclude cosmetics tested on animals from any current or future EU trade agreements.

    It also calls on EU governments to push for a worldwide ban through their diplomatic networks.

  3. MEPs in call to speed up guardian process for child migrants

    Voting session

    European Parliament

    Brussels

    Migrants in a camp

    MEPs approve a non-binding resolution on the treatment of child migrants in EU countries.

    The resolution says national governments should speed up their procedures for appointing guardians for migrant children that arrive unaccompanied.

    It says child migrants should get access to “dignified accommodation”, healthcare and education, including preparatory language classes if needed.

    It also calls on governments to support efforts to establish an EU network of guardians for unaccompanied child migrants.

  4. No role for French MEP on EPPO panel

    Voting session

    European Parliament

    Brussels

    MEPs reject appointing former French justice minister and current MEP Rachida Dati to a panel, which will choose the new European chief prosecutor.

    The successful candidate will be responsible for running the new European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), which will investigate and prosecute cases of fraud against the EU budget.

    The body will be based in Luxembourg, and will oversee special EU prosecutors in participating member states.

    Having failed to reach the required agreement to set it up at an EU-wide level, a total of 20 EU members agreed to set up the body using a special procedure last year.

  5. MEPs criticise co-operation on fighting fraud

    Voting session

    European Parliament

    Brussels

    MEPs also approve a report from the budgetary control committee on efforts to reduce fraud against the EU budget.

    The report criticises the European Commission and national authorities for a lack of effective co-operation in the area.

    It also criticises the fact that not all countries have adopted anti-fraud strategies for EU funds.

    It also says tobacco smuggling has “intensified in recent years”, leaving an estimated €10bn loss to national and EU budgets.

  6. MEPs approve retraining funds for ex-Caterpillar workers

    Voting session

    European Parliament

    Brussels

    Caterpillar

    MEPs approve €4.6m in spending to retrain over 2,000 workers laid off by manufacturing company Caterpillar after it closed a plant in the Belgian town of Charleroi last year.

    The money will come from an EU fund designed to help certain industries cope with globalisation.

    The UK government has never applied for money from the scheme, arguing that it would duplicate existing support offered at a national or local level.

  7. Votes soon

    That’s the debate with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel finished. MEPs are now taking their seats for today’s voting session, which will begin shortly.

  8. Belgian PM mounts defence of Schengen area

    Debate on the future of Europe

    European Parliament

    Brussels

    Charles Michel

    Making a final intervention, Charles Michel defends the passport-free Schengen area, which he says he "holds dear".

    However there must be guarantees of security, he says.

    On the development of a "multi-speed Europe", he says he has always been in favour of greater integration between willing countries under existing structures.

    These countries should not be "held back by those that don't want to make progress", he adds.

  9. Financial tax accusations 'nonsense' - Belgian PM

    Debate on the future of Europe

    European Parliament

    Brussels

    Charles Michel rejects Philippe Lamberts' suggestion that Belgium is blocking the introduction of an EU tax on financial transactions.

    The accusation is "nonsense" and "surrealist", he says.

    With a note of sarcasm, he thanks Nigel Farage "for his good advice on the future of Belgium".

    The UK took Mr Farage's advice to leave the EU, he says, adding: "We see where that's ended up."

    On Jean-Claude Juncker's plea for British officials to get Belgian citizenship, he says case law in this area is "contradictory" but pledges that possibilities will be investigated.

  10. Michel: 'Ambition and realism' needed on EU budget

    Debate on the future of Europe

    European Parliament

    Brussels

    Charles Michel

    Responding to the debate so far, Charles Michel says Belgium takes its responsibilities over migration seriously and will "not avoid" discussions about opening up legal migration.

    The migration challenge in Europe calls for a "balanced response", he says.

    On the EU budget, he says the Commission's proposals yesterday were "useful" and a "point of departure", but "clear choices" must be made.

    Negotiations must begin with "ambition but realism", he adds.

  11. Farage: Belgium 'is not a nation'

    Debate on the future of Europe

    European Parliament

    Brussels

    Nigel Farage

    Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage says the UK's departure from the European Union has "barely" been mentioned during this morning's debate.

    "You don't want to talk about Brexit," he says.

    He goes on to say that Brexit "wouldn't have happened" if EU leaders had given David Cameron concessions on immigration.

    Predicting that the UK will be "the first brick out of the wall", he says there is no such thing as a European identity or demos.

    Belgium could be an exception to this, he says - but he says Belgium is an "artificial creation" and "not a nation".

  12. Lamberts: Belgium is a tax haven

    Debate on the future of Europe

    European Parliament

    Brussels

    Philippe Lamberts

    Another Belgian, co-leader of the Green/EFA group Philippe Lamberts, says Belgium is "quietly" co-coordinating opposition to an EU tax on financial transactions.

    Describing Belgium as a "tax haven", he calls for increased tax transparency for multinationals and greater harmonisation of corporation tax rates.

  13. Verhofstadt: Post-Brexit EU budget should be smaller

    Debate on the future of Europe

    European Parliament

    Brussels

    Guy Verhofstadt

    Guy Verhofstadt, who leads the Liberal ALDE group and is himself a former Belgian Prime Minister, thanks Mr Michel for the "pro-European vision" in his speech.

    He goes on to criticise leaders who present themselves as pro-EU but "do nothing to more the project forward". He adds that he does not put Mr Michel into this category, however.

    However, he says that with the departure of the UK, the EU's next long-term budget should be smaller.

    He backs the idea of a eurozone budget, adding that EU spending can avoid duplications in national spending.

  14. Belgium 'on the side of the realists'

    Debate on the future of Europe

    European Parliament

    Brussels

    Sander Loones

    Another Belgian, Sander Loones from the Flemish nationalist party that forms part of Belgium's coalition government, calls for a "firmer policy" on migration.

    On the future of the eurozone, he says he is pleased that Belgium is "being seen more and more as on the side of the realists".

    He sets out his opposition to a separate eurozone budget and separate eurozone finance minister.

    The EU must promote "unity in diversity", he adds.

  15. German MEP calls for competence review of regional powers

    Debate on the future of Europe

    European Parliament

    Brussels

    Manfred Weber

    German Christian democrat MEP Manfred Weber, who leads the centre-right EPP group, calls for a "competence check" on the powers between the EU and regional administrations.

    Belgian Kathleen van Brempt, from the opposition Flemish Socialist party, says Charles Michel should match his aspirations with Belgium's votes in the Council of the EU.

    She also calls for more "more ambition" on social policies and "fair" taxation.

  16. Juncker: Belgium should offer citizenship to British EU officials

    Debate on the future of Europe

    European Parliament

    Brussels

    Jean-Claude Juncker

    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker begins his speech by praising Belgium's welcoming attitude and its role hosting EU institutions.

    He then calls on the country to extend the "same generosity" to British EU officials, by offering them Belgian citizenship.

    "They deserve it", he says to applause.

    He also defends the Commission's budget proposals yesterday - telling MEPs that the plans announced yesterday will in no way hamper economic growth.

  17. Michel: EU should get 'review mechanism' for rule of law

    Debate on the future of Europe

    Charles Michel

    Citing a warning from Winston Churchill about the failure of the League of Nations, Charles Michel says Europe must base itself on "common values" inherited from history.

    He calls for a "peer review mechanism" for monitoring respect for the rule of law in EU states. Some MEPs have called for this in response to perceived authoritarianism in Hungary and Poland.

    He also picks up on the announcement yesterday by the European Commission of the first draft of the EU's next long-term budget, calling for "extreme care" to be applied to spending.

    A "massive increase" in the budget endangering growth will not be accepted, he warns. The EU should apply the same scrutiny to its own spending that is does to national budgets, he adds.

    However he also calls for the Erasmus student programme to be "doubled at least". There is no need to change the EU's treaties in the "short or medium term", he adds.

  18. Paris climate deal 'has to be implemented' - Michel

    Debate on the future of Europe

    European Parliament

    Brussels

    Charles Michel

    Mr Michel continues that he wants the EU to act when "added value" is clear, not acting all the time.

    He calls for co-operation over the issues of tax evasion and tax avoidance - adding that Belgium supports EU and international initiatives in these areas.

    He gives his backing for the Paris climate deal - which he says "has to be implemented" - and for free trade, which he says is "virtuous" as long as the terms are fair.

    Europe needs to secure its external borders, he says. He also gives his backing for PESCO, the EU's new plan for closer defence co-operation.