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Summary

  1. MEPs review Bulgaria's six-month EU presidency in morning debate
  2. Sitting disrupted due to MEPs' support for interpreters in dispute
  3. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz outlines Austria's EU presidency plans
  4. Afternoon: MEPs debate last week's EU summit in Brussels
  5. They also discuss new EU rules for rest periods for lorry drivers
  6. Later: Debate on the legal status of organisations that rescue illegal migrants

Live Reporting

By Paul Seddon

All times stated are UK

  1. Goodnight & Coming up tomorrow

    Finally tonight MEPs are discussing the EU’s definition of “small and medium sized” businesses, and an EU partnership agreement with Armenia.

    However that's where our coverage ends for tonight.

    MEPs will be back tomorrow from 08.00 BST, when they will be joined by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki for a debate on the future of the EU.

  2. MEPs debate anti-smuggling rules

    MEPs are debating guidance offered to governments to implement EU anti-smuggling rules.

    The 2002 facilitation directive sets the conditions in which governments can punish people who assist people to illegally enter the EU.

    The legislation contains an optional exemption allowing governments to waive sanctions for those providing “humanitarian assistance”.

    MEPs on the justice committee have asked the European Commission to help clarify the rules, arguing the current legislation has had “unintended consequences” in some areas.

    They will vote on a resolution on the matter on Thursday.

  3. MEP: Recent Ebola containment 'remarkable'

    Debate on Ebola outbreak in DR Congo

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Charles Tannock

    Conservative MEP Charles Tannock says the WHO's recent verdict that the virus in DR Congo has been largely contained has been greeted with "great relief".

    He says the Congolese authorities deserve credit for the "remarkable" containment of the recent flare-up.

    However he expresses concern about emergency measures passed to facilitate the containment, which he says might be used for further political repression.

  4. MEPs debate fightback against Ebola in DR Congo

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    A World Health Organization worker administers a vaccination

    MEPs are now debating recent progress in tackling the emergence of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    A total of 38 people have died since the disease was identified in May.

    However the World Health Organization (WHO) says important progress has been made in the fight against the outbreak, and there are currently no confirmed cases in the country.

  5. Commissioner gives 'personal promise' on medicines

    Debate on migrants in Venezuela

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Christos Stylianides

    Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides gives a "personal promise" that the EU will continue to give medicines to people in Venezuela.

    This will be done "regardless of any obstacles and barriers", he says.

    He adds that the EU's diplomatic corps will also work to "accompany the country" towards a peaceful solution to its political crisis.

  6. Spanish MEP calls for Venezuelans in Spain to be 'regularised'

    Debate on migrants in Venezuela

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    José Ignacio Salafronca Sanchez-Neyra

    Spanish centre-right MEP José Ignacio Salafronca Sanchez-Neyra says the political crisis in Venezuela is the consequence of a "failed revolution".

    He calls for the situation of Venezuelan migrants in Spain to be "regularised".

    Polish MEP Ryszard Czarnecki, from the ruling Law and Justice party, says his country lived through an "equally disastrous" period in the 1980s, with 500,000 people leaving.

    He says this was eventually resolved through political transition - and urges leaders in Venezuela to consider how to "hand power over to those people demonstrating in the streets".

  7. MEPs debate migrants in Venezuela

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    MEPs have now been joined by Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides to discuss the humanitarian situation of the estimated two million Venezuelans who have left their country since 2005.

    Colombia has the largest number of Venezuelan migrants, with officials saying more than 550,000 were living in the country, mostly illegally, at the end of last year.

    In March the US announced it will provide $2.5m (£1.8m) in aid to Venezuelans who have fled the economic crisis in their homeland.

  8. Green MEP in warning over flexible rules

    Debate on rest periods for lorry drivers

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Keith Taylor

    Green MEP Keith Taylor says he fears the aim of providing additional flexibility for lorry drivers will go "all one way", favouring employers.

    Danish social democrat Ole Christensen calls on MEPs to support amendments to the compromise agreement tabled by the employment committee.

    He adds that drivers should not be allowed to take breaks by sleeping in their cabins.

  9. Commissioner 'sees merit' of rest areas

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Violeta Bulc

    Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc says maintaining the status quo is "not an option" as it would leave a "patchwork of different rules".

    Drivers require "adequate resting conditions" and should return home regularly, she says.

    She says she "sees some merit" in an idea suggested by a European Parliament committee to set up rest areas in which drivers could take breaks.

  10. MEPs debate changes to lorry driver rest periods

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Lorries on the motorway

    MEPs are now debating controversial changes to the EU rules for lorry drivers, governing rest periods and how haulage firms access overseas markets.

    A requirement in the original plans to make drivers return to their home country for a week’s rest every three weeks has drawn opposition in Eastern Europe.

    Tomorrow MEPs will set out their initial negotiating position on the changes, which they will take into talks with EU governments.

  11. 'We should be ashamed of ourselves'

    Debate on EU leaders' summit

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Seb Dance

    Labour's Seb Dance says the EU summit last week showed a "total lack of leadership".

    He accuses his colleagues of "following the dialogue" on migration promoted by the Eurosepctic right.

    "We should be ashamed of ourselves," he adds.

  12. Slovenian MEP: EU countries 'kicking the can' on migration

    Debate on EU leaders' summit

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Slovenian social democrat Tanja Fajon says there has been a 95% reduction in the number of illegal migrants arriving in Europe this year compared to last.

    She adds, however, that so far EU governments have preferred to "kick the can to third countries" to deal with the issue.

    She criticises the voluntary nature of the policies in last week's migration deal, which she says will create the "same problems as Dublin did".

    She's referring to the EU's Dublin rules, which say asylum seekers should make an asylum application in the first safe country they arrive in.

  13. Summit shows 'fundamental' change in Europe

    Debate on EU leaders' summit

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Nigel Farage

    Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage says last week's summit showed that something has "fundamentally changed" in Europe due to the recent change of government in Italy.

    He calls the proposed deal on migration a "weak formula", and says the changing direction in Europe shows the "rebirth of the nation state".

    He admits that the UK has "not exactly made life easy" for the EU during Brexit talks due to delays and internal splits, but then "neither have you for us".

  14. Green MEP: EU leaders 'not doing their work'

    Debate on EU leaders' summit

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Ska Keller

    Green/EFA group co-leader, German MEP Ska Keller, says although migration is an important topic, there are "other things that we have to talk about".

    EU leaders are "not doing their work" by failing to agree changes to EU asylum rules, she says.

    Left-wing Italian MEP Curzio Maltese says France wants to "talk down" to southern European countries, having "passed the buck" to them on migration.

  15. MEP calls for 'clear' changes in UK after Brexit

    Debate on EU leaders' summit

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Manfred Weber, the German leader of the centre-right EPP group, says it must be clear on day one after Brexit "what it means to leave".

    "It has to be clear that something happens if you leave the Union", he adds.

    His compatriot Udo Bullman, from the Socialist and Democrat group, says what was agreed last week on migration was "not sufficient".

  16. Irish border cannot be 'isolated' in Brexit talks - Juncker

    Debate on EU leaders' summit

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Jean-Claude Juncker

    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says the mandate for the EU border force needs to be expanded.

    He says he is confident of "making progress" on increased development funding for African countries.

    Although it was not mentioned in the post-summit conclusions, he says he was promised that leaders will return to unresolved issues on eurozone reforms in October.

    He says the EU side has been "waiting for months" for the UK's Brexit white paper - and that EU leaders will analyse it when published.

    However he says EU countries have already made clear that the Irish border issue cannot be "isolated" as an issue to remain unresolved.

  17. Tusk: 'Signals' about Russian involvement in Brexit

    Debate on EU leaders' summit

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    Donald Tusk

    European Council President Donald Tusk says last week's summit took place in a "deteriorating geopolitical context".

    He says leaders agreed to come up with a new strategy to combat foreign interference in European elections.

    He adds that this is particularly important given "signals about Russia's role in Brexit".

    On migration, he says leaders agreed with the need for "disembarkation platforms", new money from the EU budget and greater support for Libya's coastguard.

    On Brexit, he says there is "much work ahead, with less and less time".

    He calls on the UK to put forward a "solid backstop" on the Irish border as soon as possible.

  18. Good afternoon

    Hello and welcome back to this European Parliament plenary sitting in Strasbourg.

    European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will join MEPs shortly to discuss last week’s EU leaders’ summit.

    The meeting saw leaders agree to set up closed migrant centres in EU states to process asylum claims.

    The ambition is that the centres, hosted on a voluntary basis, would identify illegal migrants "who will be returned".

    However there were no details on which countries would host the centres or receive refugees.

  19. Votes finish

    That’s the debate on today’s voting session finished. MEPs will now get the chance to make short speeches explaining how they voted.

    The sitting will resume at 14.00 BST, when MEPs will debate last week’s summit of EU leaders in Brussels.

  20. MEPs approve EU military research fund

    Voting session

    European Parliament

    Strasbourg

    They also give final approval to legislation to set up a €500m industrial development fund for European defence companies.

    The two-year fund was announced last year as part of plans to increase military co-operation between EU members.

    MEPs reached a deal on the legislation setting up the fund last month. The first projects are expected to receive funding next year.

    After pressure from MEPs, projects will have to involve at least three – not just two – different firms established in at least three member states to be eligible for funding.