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The debate on the upcoming UK referendum on EU membership dominated Parliament´s first February plenary alongside migration, the future of Schengen, the liberalisation of services and car emissions. In addition Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari addressed MEPs. Read on for more details of what happened during this week's plenary session. (Read more: Plenary highlights: UK referendum, migration, taxes, ECB, TiSA )

 

Trade agreements can affect anything from employment to migration, so no wonder that people are interested in them. On 3 February our Facebook fans had the chance to ask Bernd Lange, the chair of the international trade committee, all about them during a chat. The German member of the S&D group, who is also in charge of drafting Parliament's position on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), managed to answer more than 60 questions on trade agreements such as TTIP. (Read more: Lange on TTIP: "If there is no ambitious deal on the table, there is no deal" )

 

MEPs urge the European Commission to take concrete steps to address the permanent handicaps that EU islands face and make full use of their potential, in a resolution voted on Thursday. The text also stresses the unique difficulties that southern insular regions face due to the increased migration flows and asks that special tax regimes should continue. (Read more: EU islands: call for action to overcome permanent handicaps )

 

MEPs urge the international community to take urgent action to counter the systematic mass murder of religious minorities by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Daesh, in a resolution voted on Thursday. The text wraps up a 20 January debate with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, in which many MEPs called for measures to protect all religious and minority groups against ISIS attacks. (Read more: MEPs call for urgent action to protect religious minorities against ISIS )

 
Press releases (second part)
 

Economic disintegration and violence in Libya are worsening its fragility and enabling extremist organisations to flourish there, warned MEPs in Wednesday’s debate with Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders, representing the EU foreign policy chief. Spillovers from Libya’s conflicts are also destabilising the Sahel region, they add. In a resolution voted on Thursday, MEPs urge the EU and international community to be ready to support Libyans’ efforts to implement the Libyan Political Agreement. (Read more: EU must maintain its aid to Libya, say MEPs )

 

Parliament condemns the unprecedented levels of human rights abuses perpetrated against Crimean Tatars, calls on the Bahrain to grant Mohammed Ramadan a royal pardon or to commute his death sentence, and for the immediate safe release of the five missing book publishers in Hong Kong, in three resolutions voted on Thursday. (Read more: Human rights: Crimean Tatars, Mohammed Ramadan, missing publishers in Hong Kong )

 

The start of EU accession negotiations with Serbia and the progress made in normalising relations between Serbia and Kosovo was welcomed by MEPs in two resolutions passed on Thursday. They also stressed that these relations would be helped if all EU member states were to recognise Kosovo. (Read more: MEPs call on Serbia and Kosovo to pursue their reform agenda )

 

MEPs debated the issue of sexual harassment and violence against women in public spaces on Wednesday evening, with Commissioner Corina Crețu. Everything possible must be done to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice, regardless of their culture or origin, they insisted. (Read more: Attacks against women: MEPs call for zero tolerance )

 

The European Commission must table a communication on a new strategy for gender equality and women’s rights 2016-2020 as soon as possible and deliver on its political commitments, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Wednesday. The communication should address gender equality issues which is in line with the international agenda, they add. (Read more: Women's rights: MEPs urge Commission to table a new gender equality strategy )

 

The ongoing talks on a Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), among countries representing 70% of world trade in services, should deliver a deal that eases EU firms' access to international markets but does not force EU, national and local authorities to open up public services to competition, or otherwise restrict their right to regulate in public interest, say MEPs in recommendations approved on Wednesday. (Read more: TiSA must protect EU firms abroad and public services at home, say MEPs )

 
 
Weekly agenda
 
Schedule by day Monday 08 Feb 2016
PETI delegation to Spain - Delegations (08-02-2016): 09:00
 
TRAN Delegation to Finland - Delegations (08-02-2016): 09:00
 
Legal Affairs mission to the Netherlands - Delegations (08-02-2016): 09:00
 
BUDG delegation to Turkey - Delegations (08-02-2016): 16:00
 
The President's Agenda - The President's diary (08-02-2016):
 
SEDE delegation to ROME - Delegations (08-02-2016):
 
AFET delegation to Saudi Arabia and Qatar - Delegations (08-02-2016):
 
 
Schedule by day Tuesday 09 Feb 2016
BUDG delegation to Turkey - Delegations (09-02-2016): 09:00
 
PETI delegation to Spain - Delegations (09-02-2016): 09:00
 
TRAN Delegation to Finland - Delegations (09-02-2016): 09:00
 
Legal Affairs mission to the Netherlands - Delegations (09-02-2016): 09:00
 
"Why not vote CETA? Presentation of the study 'Analysis of the conformity of CETA with the European Parliament's 8 July 2015 Resolution on TTIP'" - Press conferences (09-02-2016): 10:00, Brussels, Paul-Henri Spaak
 
PECH Delegation to Guinea-Bissau - Delegations (09-02-2016): 13:00
 
AFET delegation to Saudi Arabia and Qatar - Delegations (09-02-2016):
 
The President's Agenda - The President's diary (09-02-2016):
 
SEDE delegation to ROME - Delegations (09-02-2016):
 
 
Schedule by day Wednesday 10 Feb 2016
PECH Delegation to Guinea-Bissau - Delegations (10-02-2016): 08:00
 
BUDG delegation to Turkey - Delegations (10-02-2016): 09:00
 
PECH Delegation to Guinea-Bissau - Delegations (10-02-2016): 09:00
 
PETI delegation to Spain - Delegations (10-02-2016): 09:00
 
TRAN Delegation to Finland - Delegations (10-02-2016): 09:00
 
ITRE delegation to Ljubljana - Delegations (10-02-2016):
 
SEDE delegation to ROME - Delegations (10-02-2016):
 
The President's Agenda - The President's diary (10-02-2016):
 
AFET delegation to Saudi Arabia and Qatar - Delegations (10-02-2016):
 
 
Schedule by day Thursday 11 Feb 2016
ITRE delegation to Ljubljana - Delegations (11-02-2016): 08:40
 
TRAN Delegation to Finland - Delegations (11-02-2016): 09:00
 
 
Schedule by day Friday 12 Feb 2016
ITRE delegation to Ljubljana - Delegations (12-02-2016): 08:50
 
 
Schedule by day Saturday 13 Feb 2016
The President's Agenda - The President's diary (13-02-2016):
 
 
Twitter
 
The week ahead of EP delegations includes: #Turkey, #refugeecrisis, #humantrafficking & more:https://t.co/9nheT0rSVG https://t.co/0fFO8wCaVh
Press release: EU must maintain its aid to #Libya, say MEPs: https://t.co/6YPr54pCYj #EPlenary
Press release: #Humanrights: #Crimean Tatars, Mohammed #Ramadan, missing publishers in #HongKong: https://t.co/3Uq8O9hIhX #EPlenary
#Egypt remains key actor to solve current regional conflict, say @EP_ForeignAff MEPs visiting the country. Read +: https://t.co/mbTVOVlq6i
.@EP_ForeignAff met w/ Arab League dep. SG, Ahmed Ben Helli to discuss #refugeecrisis, conflicts in #Libya & #Syria https://t.co/6bnDI8nnr8
#EU to protect #religiousminorities agst #ISIS & setup Spec. Rep. for Freedom of Religion and Belief, says #EPlenary https://t.co/OOJ6WQOLeP
.@EP_HumanRights Chair @ElenaValenciano calls for international attention to the worsening situation of @raif_badawi https://t.co/DtO1IOw8Fa
#EPlenary Debate on #peaceprocess in #Colombia now with @FedericaMog . FOLLOW LIVE: https://t.co/TsrZWHQjF8
EU must show leadership to address #humanitarian crisis in #Syria, says @EP_HumanRights Chair: @ElenaValenciano: https://t.co/GkiV2IlVtF
Today at 9 am @EP_Defence debates Eurocorps, which will lead #EUbattlegroup 2nd half of 2016. Live https://t.co/7qnGrjJvsU
Starting now: @EP_Defence meeting. ~4 pm debate on security situation in #Ukraine, ~5 pm children in conflicts. Live https://t.co/rkHIdQkBIO
.@EP_Defence meets on 25 Jan at 3 pm to debate security in #Ukraine & w/ @EP_HumanRights children in armed conflicts https://t.co/UFwkY33q02
Next @EP_Development mtng 25 Jan at 3 pm: debate w/ @MimicaEU on EU development programs. Agenda https://t.co/OxDCgTMJxK
RT @EYD2015: Closing ceremony of the #EYD2015 now underway! Stay tuned for live updates.
RT @LindaMcAvanMEP: As Chair of @EP_Development, today I'm in Luxembourg for the European Year for Development closing ceremony #EYD2015 ht…
.@berndlange on #CETA: We might vote in the EP at the end of the year, but the timeline is still blurry - from https://t.co/XLpsrADqBJ
in 10 minutes - #TiSA press conf on vote outcome by rapporteur @VivianeRedingEU live https://t.co/8TpovefLrO or EbS https://t.co/lUKcQCYiXG
RT @JeanArthuis: Je me rends en Turquie du 8 au 11 février, en mission de la commission des budgets du Parlement européen.
#refugeecrisis #Turkey: #BUDG committee MEPs to visit Turkey to assess situation on the ground https://t.co/cNvxDQBM7p #refugees
#Turkey Refugee facility: MS agree on financing details https://t.co/Ww3RIfLiCs Next wk #BUDG MEPs go to Turkey to check poss. use of funds
.@EP_BudgControl next meeting on Thu at 9.00 #EP discharge 2014, web streaming https://t.co/ex5lnkmBtd
RT @EUAuditorsECA: Monitoring credit rating agencies after #financialcrisis: good foundations,but risks remain https://t.co/ChqUDeFpUk http…
Fight against fraud: #CONT votes position on 2014 Report on Protection of EU's Financial Interests. Thu 9am LIVE: https://t.co/oehBQMAwxZ
.@EU_Commission anti-tax avoidance proposals prove "Washington must also move forward on international tax reforms". https://t.co/OX0LH3mIq9
.@EUAuditorsECA not very positive on @EU_Commission's handling of financial crisis... https://t.co/53XQUyPPnn
WATCH the interview with @EPSocialAffairs rapporteur Georgi #Pirinski on EU Platform to tackle #Undeclaredwork https://t.co/nv5PcvnyVa
EU Platform to tackle #Undeclaredwork adopted at plenary: 619 votes FOR, 69 against, 7 abstentions - Press release https://t.co/7ds2mL1Ym9
.@EPSocialAffairs meeting with IT @PCPadoan starting now - follow live https://t.co/iZJK5hGhra
#MEPs object to three #GMO soybean authorisations #glyphosate
#Caremissions - press conf on today's #RDE vote w. @giovannilavia and @EBienkowskaEU 15h Webstream https://t.co/V6cFV3cNjc
#Biodiversity: #MEPs call for stronger implementation of #EU law https://t.co/rVUbzIUiVE
.@EP_Industry meets on Thu: debates w/@BERECeuropaeu, @Moedas, @EUAuditorsECA. Full agenda: https://t.co/km51oY7Z43
#EPlenary: ”Stop geo-blocking and boost e-commerce and digital innovation”, #DigitalSingleMarket vote Press release: https://t.co/sKx5dxmeEb
RT @EBienkowskaEU: Opening discussions with EU Ministers on #geoblocking, #services, #collaborative economy, #startup. #EU2016nl https://t.…
RT @VeraJourova: Our joint-statement w/ @Ansip_EU on #EUDataP Day is here: https://t.co/R6m7xBGxYV
Study for @EP_SingleMarket on the different member states’ #customs sanctioning systems https://t.co/Iw92g0iP2Z
Voting list & compromise AMs Port Services @knufleckenstein https://t.co/pDk9We0uRj - vote in @EP_Transport - LIVE https://t.co/Ng1ZoNSG1f
Now @EP_Transport: hearing on competition in intl aviation, webstreaming: https://t.co/r7IgZ2GVnm speaker list: https://t.co/9iZnnDx7Yh
Starting @EP_Transport: discussion on #Uber, with representatives from Uber, IRU, ETF and Commission, webstreaming: https://t.co/gj8Ww6j7hv
#EPlenary adopts resolution on " #EUislands: call for action to overcome permanent handicaps" Read more: https://t.co/eRDu3ZWfpf
#EPlenary debate & vote on tackling problems faced by #EUislands. Live now: https://t.co/ffiIjePskB
RT @EU_CoR: A successful #EUUrbanAgenda needs input from all levels of gov incl #EUregions. See more: https://t.co/SvnVy70MaZ https://t.co/…
.@EP_Agriculture to debate w/@PhilHoganEU @ 7.30pm #CAP #simplification, #WTO deal, #agri market crisis &more. Live: https://t.co/jJPIinafvI
#School #milk, #fruit and #vegetable: @EP_Agriculture MEPs endorse a deal to promote #healthyeating. More in PR: https://t.co/jSzYlYABV4
.@EP_Agriculture debate w/ @martijnvdam on #agriculture priorities of #EU2016NL starts now. Watch it live here: https://t.co/7zJm4R5XcJ
Resolution "A new CFP" by @GabrielMatoA adopted w/ large majority #CFPreality #Fisheries https://t.co/uPjhO8RURt https://t.co/TvcLkZaJb9
Check out this page for a complete list of #Fisheries background docs https://t.co/wbNuRcVYo5 #CFPreality #PECH
RT @EP_ThinkTank: How does #Erasmus+ work? One of the most well known EU policies, find out in EPRS #podcast @EPCulture @youth_eu https://t…
Charlemagne Youth Prize #ECYP2016: application deadline extended until 15 February @EUyouthPrize https://t.co/UHOQeJqzha
RT @luxprize: Géza #Röhrig did you have any doubt whether to accept the role given your personal history? - Not a single one” ##SonOfSaulEP
Now @EP_Legal: Hearing on Administrative Procedure for the EU. Programme:...
#TradeSecrets: @EP_Legal approved the EP/Council deal reached in December. Read the full press release on the deal: https://t.co/xwvaHYKWH5
.@EP_Justice chair @ClaudeMoraesMEP calls for urgent clarity on the new #SafeHarbor agreement. Read more: https://t.co/CChnJESoe6
RT @VeraJourova: My remarks in @EP_Justice Committee are available here https://t.co/aRsuUZU3ce
RT @ClaudeMoraesMEP: @maxschrems yes - the 'agreement' has no political force and there needs to be accountability
Statements by #EP group leaders on @eucopresident proposals on #UKinEU: https://t.co/rbld9wncNL Plenary debate tomorrow at 9.00
Starting shortly: @EPInstitutional debates UK-EU relation and talks on #Betterregulation. Watch live https://t.co/Wyr9uEO153
#EPlenary debate on how to end sexual harassment & violence against women in public spaces: Follow live around 20.40 https://t.co/eVAWLsrSGR
RT @guardian: Women of the world – price equality is in your hands | Anne Perkins https://t.co/MpEAEh0R3e
Press release: #Women's rights: MEPs urge Commission to table a new #genderequality strategy:https://t.co/dsBgBpP1cv #EPlenary
MEPs call on member states to speed up the ratification of the #MarrakeshTreaty. Read more: https://t.co/i1UL35A9Sw
.@EP_Petitions welcomes @EUombudsman's efforts for greater transparency within the EU institutions. Read more: https://t.co/92OUbN0hdB
.@EP_Petitions at 15h: Petitions on social affairs, agriculture & more. Agenda: https://t.co/m2PgQ338jh Live: https://t.co/GR1gEU1Ke9
The Parliament is on...