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Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight

    That's the debate on promoting women's rights outside the EU finished.

    Finally tonight MEPs will discuss reports on the EU’s youth strategy and efficiency standards for certain electrical products.

    However that's where we leave our live coverage for this evening.

    MEPs will be back tomorrow for the final day of this week's plenary sitting. The day will start at 08.00 BST with a debate on the use of zero-hours contracts.

  2. MEPs debate report on women's rights

    Next up MEPs are debating an advisory report from two committees about ways to improve women’s rights internationally through EU external policy.

    It urges the EU to encourage more women to take part in its military and civil crisis management missions.

    It also calls for a dedicated line in the EU budget on gender equality.

  3. MEPs debate cut in EU's Turkey accession funds

    MEPs are now debating EU funds to Turkey designed to help support its accession to the bloc.

    Turkey's EU accession talks began in 2005 but talks have been stalled for years.

    In 2016 the European Parliament called for membership talks to be suspended following the Turkish government's crackdown following a coup attempt in July that year.

    A recent review of accession funding recommended that Turkey’s funding is cut.

  4. Five Star MEP: 'Easier and easier' for firms to move

    Debate on Embraco factory closure

    European Parliament


    Independent Spanish MEP Enrique Calvet Chambon, who sits in the liberal ALDE group, says the move shows the "benefits of European mobility".

    It will lead to jobs being created in a region of one of the EU's poorer states, he says.

    However Italian Five Star MEP Tiziana Baghin says it is becoming "easier and easier" for companies to relocate operations.

    She calls for investment for new jobs for those who lose their positions as a result of relocations.

  5. Embraco factory closure discussed by MEPs

    MEPs have now been joined by Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete to discuss the announcement by a manufacturer that it will relocate production from Italy to Slovakia.

    Embraco announced in January it will close down a factory in Turin, leading to the loss of around 500 jobs.

    The relocation became part of the recent Italian election campaigns.

    Italy's outgoing industry minister has said EU economic aid paid out to countries such as Slovakia means they could unfairly offer lower operating costs.

  6. 'Not the right time' for changes - Commissioner

    Debate on EU rules for cross-border divorce

    European Parliament


    Andrus Ansip

    Representing the Commission, Digital Single Market Commissioner Andrus Ansip says a public consultation before the 2016 update did not provide "sufficient evidence" to justify extending the scope of the regulation to registered partners.

    Now is "not the right time to change these rules", he tells MEPs.

  7. MEPs debate EU rules on cross-border divorce

    MEPs are now debating whether EU rules relating to cross-border divorce cases should be extended to cover registered partnerships.

    Current EU legislation determining which country is responsible for dealing with divorce and adoption cases dates from 2003.

    Members of the legal affairs committee have tabled a question asking why the European Commission did not include partnerships in 2016 update of the law.

    Doing so may expose people in registered partnerships to “legal uncertainty”, they say.

  8. Commission will introduce new measures 'if necessary'

    Debate on milometer fraud

    European Parliament


    Violeta Bulc

    Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc tells MEPs that the Commission will monitor the effect of the new EU law on milometer manipulation, which has been in force for ten days.

    The Commission will have to complete an impact assessment on the new regulations by 2020, she adds.

    The Commission will introduce new measures "if we find that they are necessary", she says - whilst its roadworthiness committee will promote greater sharing of readings.

  9. UKIP MEP calls for larger fraud fines

    Debate on milometer fraud

    European Parliament


    UKIP's Jill Seymour says that if it is true that milometers are tampered in around 30% of cars crossing borders, the fraud is a "massive problem".

    A database of all milometer readings in Europe would be helpful, she says - but she questions how this would be maintained.

    Instead there should be "strong and effective enforcement of existing rules" backed up with larger fines, she adds.

  10. MEP: Milometer fraud 'costs billions'

    Debate on milometer fraud

    European Parliament


    Mark Demesmaeker

    Flemish nationalist Mark Demesmaeker says milometer fraud is a "scourge" for the used car market.

    The fraud "costs billions" and undermines consumer rights, he says.

    French Liberal Dominique Riquet says the EU should require milometer tests during safety inspections.

  11. MEPs debate report on milometer fraud

    Row of cars

    MEPs are now debating an advisory report drafted by the transport committee on the manipulation of milometers in used cars.

    Tampering with a milometer, known as ‘car clocking’, can make the mileage appear lower than it actually is.

    A new EU law coming into effect this month will make mileage fraud a punishable offence, and require meter tests to be carried out at regular safety inspections.

    The report recommends that penalties for fraud should be standardised across the EU, and that mileage recordings should be more extensively shared among national authorities.

  12. Commissioner: Voluntary scheme 'has reached its limits'

    Debate on overhaul of EU disaster response tools

    European Parliament


    Christos Stylianides

    Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides says there is "no time to lose" when it comes to reforming the response programme, with new disasters "just around the corner".

    Climate change is making the challenge more difficult and unpredictable, he adds.

    National authorities have "achieved a lot" under the current system but it has "reached its limits", he says.

    He tells MEPs that the forest fires in Portugal last year show that relying on adequate voluntary assistance after a disaster is "sometimes impossible".

  13. MEPs debate update to EU disaster response team

    Forest fire damage in Portugal
    Image caption: The overhaul was prompted by forest fires in Portugal last year

    MEPs are now debating proposals to overhaul the EU’s system for co-ordinating emergency responses to natural disasters such as forest fires.

    The European Commission wants to create EU assets that it could deploy when a member state requests assistance.

    The current system relies on a voluntary system where resources are offered by national authorities.

    MEPs will vote tomorrow to set out their initial view on the proposed system ahead of negotiations with national ministers.

  14. Sitting resumes after alarm

    European Parliament


    The sitting resumes following the postponement.

    The first MEP to speak after the delay, Luxembourg Christian democrat Frank Engel, jokes that it must have been his "incendiary remarks" on investor visas that set the fire alarm off.

  15. 'Selling England by the pound'

    Debate on 'golden visa' schemes

    European Parliament


    Ray Finch

    UKIP's Ray Finch says that all applicants for citizenship should be treated "equally and fairly", and someone's wealth should "never been part of our equation".

    He criticises the UK scheme as "selling England by the pound".

    However Alfred Sant, from Malta's ruling Labour party, defends the Maltese scheme - which he says includes an "extremely rigorous" vetting procedure.

    Such programmes are a way for smaller countries to attract investment which in a globalised world often heads towards larger economies, he adds.

  16. Dutch MEP calls for EU screening standards

    Debate on 'golden visa' schemes

    European Parliament


    Sophia in't Veld

    Dutch Liberal Sophia in't Veld calls the schemes a "big scam" which can constitute "state facilitated corruption and money laundering".

    She dismisses the argument that the programmes are purely a matter for national governments, calling it "simply not good enough".

    She says the security screening for such schemes is a "weak spot" and calls for EU legislation to set common standards.

    German Green Sven Giegold is also critical - he says citizenship is something that should be earned and not purchased.

  17. Commissioner: EU executive has no power to investigate fraud

    Debate on 'golden visa' schemes

    European Parliament


    Violeta Bulc

    Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc says the EU takes the safeguarding of the "essence" of EU citizenship seriously.

    It is up to national governments to determine their citizenship schemes but these must adhere to EU legislation, she says.

    Schemes should respect the principle of "sincere co-operation" with other member states, she adds.

    It is up to national authorities to investigate allegations of fraud, she says - noting that the Commission has no powers in this area, apart from cases involving EU spending.

  18. MEPs debate 'golden visa' programmes

    Office of the Prime Minister of Malta
    Image caption: Malta has offered passports to hundreds of non-EU nationals

    Hello and welcome back to coverage of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

    First up this afternoon, MEPs will be debating the practice of offering citizenship or residence rights to non-EU nationals who buy property or make investments.

    At least half of EU countries offer variations of such “golden visas” - critics say they are unfair, secretive and potentially facilitate corruption and crime.

    The European Parliament has previously expressed concern about the practice. The European Commission is due to publish a report on the matter later this year.

  19. Votes end

    That’s the voting session finished. MEPs will now have the chance to make short speeches to explain how they voted.

    After a break the sitting will resume at 14.00 BST, when MEPs will debate the practice of some EU states of offering citizenship to wealthy investors.