MEPs gathered this week for the first session of the European Parliament following the European elections. They elected the president, vice-presidents and quaestors and also debated the outcome of the latest EU summit. As Italy took over the helm of the EU Council from Greece on 1 July, the achievements of the outgoing and the priorities of the incoming presidency were also discussed. Read on for the highlights of the plenary session on 1-3 July.

The 751 MEPs gathered for the constitutive session of the European Parliament, which marked the start of the 8th parliamentary term since the first direct elections in 1979.

Martin Schulz was re-elected as EP president for the next two-and-a-half years. He received 409 votes out of the 612 valid votes cast by MEPs.

MEPs also elected 14 vice-presidents and five quaestors. Vice-presidents can replace the president in performing his duties, while quaestors deal with administrative and financial matters concerning MEPs. Find out more about the people in charge of the Parliament in our infographic.

The EP decided on the composition of its committees that play a central role in shaping legislation. The heads of the committees will be elected next week in Brussels.

EU decision makers must listen to the call for change voters expressed in the European elections, most MEPs said in a debate on the outcome of the EU summit on 26-27 June.

Deepening the monetary union, progress on jobs and growth and a more efficient border management were the main achievements of the Greek EU Council presidency, Greek prime minister Antonis Samaras said in a debate on Wednesday.

European leaders should act with conviction and determination to keep Europe in the lead on global issues, said Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi  in a debate on his country's Council presidency on Wednesday.

The winners of our guest photographer contest explored the EP with their cameras and took snapshots of the session's most interesting moments. Gábor Szellő's and Alessandra Giansante's photos will be published on our website, Facebook and Flickr accounts.