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MEPs approved measures to prevent proceeds from conflict minerals being used to fund armed conflicts and called on governments to break the deadlock on plans to harmonise maternity leave across Europe. They also debated measures to tackle irregular migrants coming to the EU during the plenary in Strasbourg on 18-21 May as well as green-lit tougher rules to prevent money laundering. Read on for an overview of the plenary. (Read more: Things we learnt in plenary: conflict minerals, migration, maternity leave )


Today’s unprecedented level of instability at EU borders demands that the EU and its member states shoulder more responsibility for their security and defence now, say MEPs in a resolution voted on Thursday. They urge member states to use Common Security and Defence Policy tools more effectively, improve the fit between external and internal security measures, and pool and share resources, so as to counter terrorism, fight organised crime, strengthen cyber-defence and cope with migration. (Read more: Parliament urges EU member states to gear up for new security challenges now )


Parliament passed three resolutions on Thursday, calling for Zimbabwean human rights activist Itai Dzarana to be found immediately; the release of all political prisoners in Swaziland; protection for Rohingya asylum seekers and action against human trafficking in Thailand. (Read more: Human rights: Zimbabwe; Thailand; Swaziland )


Struggling companies will be given a second chance to improve their financial situation under new rules on insolvency approved by MEPs on 20 May. Every year 1.7 million jobs are lost in the EU due to companies going bankrupt. Under the new legislation on cross-border insolvencies, companies in financial difficulties but otherwise sound are given another opportunity to turn the situation around. The plans also include measures to help firms before they go bust. (Read more: Insolvency: throwing a lifeline to struggling companies )

Press releases (second part)

EU importers of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold for manufacturing consumer goods need to be certified by the EU to ensure that they do not fuel conflicts and human rights abuses in conflict areas, say MEPs in their position on a draft law adopted on Wednesday by 402 votes to 118, with 171 abstentions. (Read more: Conflict minerals: MEPs ask for mandatory certification of EU importers )


The EU must take effective measures to prevent the spread of Xylella fastidiosa bacteria beyond Italy, where it is severely damaging olive trees, says a resolution passed by Parliament on Wednesday. MEPs welcome EU import restrictions on plants from affected areas in third countries but say more may be needed. They also urge that growers be compensated for their losses, and suggest stepping up funding for research to combat the bacteria, which may attack other plants. (Read more: Olive trees: MEPs demand action to halt spread of killer bacteria )


The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has been rocked by violence and mass demonstrations in recent days. This afternoon MEPs debate the situation in the country, which obtained EU candidate status in December 2005, with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. Ahead of the debate we talked to Alojz Peterle, chair of Parliament's delegation to the Balkan country, to find out his views. (Read more: FYROM: "The EU should act decisively to help stabilise the country" )


MEPs pressed the European Commission not to withdraw a draft EU directive on maternity leave, despite four years’ deadlock over it in the EU Council of Ministers, in a resolution voted on Wednesday. They also urged the ministers to resume talks and agree an official position. (Read more: Maternity leave: MEPs urge Council to restart talks )


The calendar of European Parliament part-sessions for 2016, tabled by the EP Conference of Presidents, was approved by MEPs on Wednesday. (Read more: EP 2016 calendar of plenary sessions approved )


Anneli Jäätteenmäki (ALDE, FI) was elected in a secret ballot (Rule 15) as a new vice-president of the European Parliament on Wednesday, following the resignation of Olli Rehn (ALDE, FI), who was elected to the Finnish parliament in April. Fabio Massimo Castaldo (EFDD, IT) was also a candidate for the post. (Read more: Anneli Jäätteenmäki elected as a new EP vice-president )

Weekly agenda
Schedule by day Friday 22 May 2015
The President's diary - The President's diary (22-05-2015):
Press release: #EP urges EU member states to gear up for new #security challenges now:
Press release:#Humanrights: Zimbabwe; Thailand; Swaziland:
EP TODAY:MEPs debate & vote on the cases of I. #Dzamara (#Zimbabwe) of T. #Maseko (#Swaziland)& the plight of #Rohingya refugees (#Myanmar )
Vote on #Turkey postponed: #EPlenary agrees to postpone vote to give political groups more time to hammer out a broad majority.
Tragic events and political turmoil in the former Yugoslav Republic of #Macedonia now debated by #EPlenary:
#EPlenary now discusses situation in #Ethiopia live:
#EPlenary adopts resolution on #Zimbabwe #Swaziland and #Thailand Full press release here:
RT @EP_ThinkTank: EU Member States all signatories of 1951 Geneva Convention on #refugees & must respect their obligations…
#CSDP: Watch the press conference of EP rapporteurs @ArnaudDanjean @EduardKukan @indrektarand in 10 mins here
Watch the rest of #Eplenary debate on Common Security and Defence Policy w/ @FedericaMog LIVE #CSDP
RT @UNICEF: From #childmarriage to discrimination, girls too often face barriers to #education…
RT @UNICEF: #PhotooftheWeek: A girl in class in #Guinea. Schools there reopened in January after a 5-month break due to #Ebola…
NOW: Press conference by MEP Pedro Silva Pereira on Financing for Development #ffd3 has just started. Follow live:
Press release on #Conflictminerals: MEPs ask for mandatory certification of EU importers
#conflictminerals: EP by 402/118/171 adopted request for obligatory certification for "all Union importers";vote on EP 1st reading postponed
#conflictminerals vote adjourned after unexpected amemdments - shadows discussion in #hemicycle
RT @JeanArthuis: #BudgetEU: le Trilogue sur le plan d'apurement des factures impayées vient d'aboutir. Timide mais prometteur. Premier pas …
#EP wants #JunckerPlan take off on time, asks #Council to negotiate. Today's press conf: @EP_Budgets @EP_Economics
Follow debate with @KGeorgievaEU on #tobacco agreements at #EP plenary. From 19.25. Live:
Issues to overcome in the #EUbudget own resources reform discussed @EP_Budgets @EP_BudgControl 5/5. Read more:
.@EP_Budgets @EP_BudgControl hearing on control of #EUBudget own resources collection now @J_Lewandowski #AyalaSender
At 11:30 press conference #TAXE visits BE/LUX by rapporteurs @elisaferreira and @EUTheurer #luxleaks Watch live:
Big majority for @EP_Economics @CvNieuwenhuizen benchmarks #LIBOR report, MEPs ready for negotiations
#TAXE Press conference @ALamassoure @PierreGramegna #luxleaks starts shortly. Sorry for delays...
Changes to ESF for frontloading #YEI approved Press conference @emorinchartier @ 14:30 Live
.@EPSocialAffairs next meeting tomorrow, Thursday 16 April. Follow EP Live 9.20 15.00
.@EPSocialAffairs meeting tomorrow, Thursday 16 April from 9.20-12.30 & 15.00-18.30 PHS 3C50. Agenda
#MEPs veto #cadmium exemption plans for displays, lightings and TVs
#EPlenary opposes #EC proposal to allow #cadmium in illumination and display lighting applications with 618 votes to 33 and 28 abstentions
#EPlenary to vote on an objection to allow #cadmium in illumination and display lighting applications
.@EP_Industry files this #EPlenary: green growth for #SMEs (@debackerphil Mon/Tue) & staff for ACER agency(Thu) Watch
11/05 in @Europarl_EN: Hearing on European Citizens' Initiative #StopVivisection. More info here: #ECI
.@Ep_Industry just adopted @SaudargasA report on #energysecurity strategy 42/13/4. Press release to follow shortly.
Next @EP_SingleMarket #DigitalSingleMarket WG to meet on 26 May 3 pm.Focus-DSM strategy. Live
Starting now: #EPlenary debate on #DigitalSingleMarket w/ @Ansip_EU. Webstreaming
On Tuesday at ~10.30 am #EPlenary will debate #DigitalSingleMarket strategy. Live Details
Now @EP_Transport: discussion w/Commissioner @Bulc_EU on transport aspects of Commission Work Programme 2016
Starting now: @EP_Transport hearing on road haulage market and its social dimension programme
TEN-T Coordinators' progress report presented @EP_Transport yesterday available here debate:
Catch-the-eye, Urgent Procedure, Blue Card... What does it all mean? Our guide to #EPlenary:
Last day of #EPlenary in #Strasbourg: MEPs set to discuss #growth and #ECforecast. Live now:
Final #EPvote of #EPlenary! MEPs to have their say on #Turkey progress report. Live now:
#Olive trees: MEPs demand actions to halt spread of killer bacteria #Xylella. Read more here:
#StopVivisection #ECI hearing ends now. To re-watch it, click here (video-recording will be made available 12/05):
3rd round of #StopVivisection #ECI hearing kicks off now w/ interventions from #EmilyMcIvor & #AndreMenache. Live:
#BalticMAP: This is the text MEPs will defend in negotiations with @eu2015lv @WalesaMEP #Fisheries
#Fisheries committee meeting continues this morning - watch live: Agenda:
Tune in to #Fisheries committee's afternoon session: #Madagascar FPA and #tuna study
Ce soir à Strasbourg : le #PE reçoit le projet #Commenius "L'Europe est servie"
Ce soir à Strasbourg : le #PE reçoit le projet #Commenius "L'Europe est servie"
#EPlenary debate on #insolvency proceedings starting now. Live:
RT @EP_ThinkTank: #Insolvency proceedings affect 200,000 EU business a year @EP_Legal
Press release: #EPlenary approves tougher rules on #moneylaundering to fight #taxevasion and #terrorist financing
9am MEPs give their views on Agenda #MigrationEU in debate w/ @TimmermansEU @avramopoulos & @eu2015lv. Live #EPlenary
RT @JanAlbrecht: Vice-president of the @EU_Commission @Ansip_EU states clearly in front of @Europarl_EN: There should be no #backdoors in a…
Lessons learned from last Hearings of EC candidate commissioners to follow @EPInstitutional @RCorbettMEP
AFCO Chair during joint @EPInstitutional @EP_Economics hearing this morning
Press invited to join the event tonight in the EP Librairy
#EPlenary adopted resolution on #maternityleave. Press release:
NOW: Press conference by MEP Maria Arena and all shadow rapporteurs on #maternityleave has just started: Follow live:
#EPlenary vote today on #maternityleave resolution after 12.00h.
Hearing on #ECI #StopVivisection starting at 3pm: Follow via @EP_Agriculture, webstreaming:
Missed discussion @EP_Petitions &@TimmermansEU on Tuesday? Video recording available here:
The Parliament is on...