Main pointsBelgium’s Prime Minister gives Future of Europe speech Jean-Claude Juncker attempts to get backing for £1trillion budget Guy Verhofstadt says more Europe is needed and bloc can’t rely on France and Germany Nigel Farage goes on rant declaring Belgium is not a country Row erupts as Brexiteer says ‘I’m the turkey that voted for Christmas’
The EU Parliament’s plenary session resumes today with europhile Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel taking the stage to have his say on the future of Europe – but the day is likely to be overshadowed by Juncker’s future budget proposal, branded as a non-starter by many EU state members yesterday.
European Commission President Mr Juncker’s idea of raising the EU funds to a €1.3 trillion (£1.1 trillion) for the next budgetary period was immediately dismissed by many of the 27 nations.
The blueprint for the 2021-2027 budget of the European Union was an attempt to compromise between the European Parliament’s need to increase the bloc’s expenditure to 1.3 per cent of the EU’s GNI (Gross National Income) and the stark opposition to lend more money to the bloc by some countries.
Mr Juncker introduced the draft proposal as “an ambitious but balanced budget, one that is fair for all”.
He added: “It is a realistic budget.
“Any budget is important, but the current one is still more important than the previous one because it will decide the future of Europe at 27…and the legacy for a forthcoming generation.”
But the leaders of the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Austria rushed to oppose to the proposal, with only Germany and France claiming they were willing to pay more.
The discussion over the financial future of the bloc is set to continue in the afternoon, when the Commission will make a statement on its proposals for the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) that will provide the EU the means to finance its annual budget.
This is a live story, update to see the latest development of the meeting
IGNigel Farage blasted MEPs during the European Parliament's plenary session
10.32am UPDATE: President Tajani : "We are working for you"
The President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani thanked Mr Michel and all the MEPs for the debate.
He said: "We held today a true, lively debate on the future of Europe today.
"More than 40 members have put their questions rather than just holding speeches, and I believe this is a good model to follow."
Wrapping up, he added in reference to one of the key issues discussed during the debate: "We all need to work together to defend our citizens' right".
He concluded the session at 10.36am, saying "Thank you to all our citizens, we are working for you".
GETTYBelgium Prime Minister Charles Michel and EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani
10.26am UPDATE: Mr Michel: "I hold the Schengen area dear"
PM Michel addressed the second round of questions asked by MEPs, focused on unity, border control and Brexit.
Mr Michel said he believes in free trade "as long as there is reciprocity" and they consider the social issues of the countries involved.
He later spoke about the possibility of Western Balkans countries to join the union, saying that the EU could be vital in stabilising the area.
There is the need, he said, of talks similar to the one held by Michel Barnier for Brexit, on this issue.
The PM also said he "holds the Schengen area dear", and to keep it alive there is the need to guarantee border protection and security and create better policies to manage migration.
10.15am UPDATE: "Catalan politicians are in jail because they allowed their citizens to vote"
Mr Michel's speech focused on democracy and freedom was blasted by a Spanish MEP, who asked him to address the current situation in Catalonia.
10.11am UPDATE: Do people with disabilities have a place in Europe?
In the second round of questions to Mr Michel, the Belgian PM is asked why in the EU there seems to be no space for people with disabilities.
Their issues, it was argued, are not often discussed.
10.02am UPDATE: Mr Michel: "We talk too little about Lybia"
Mr Michel addressed concerns about international security, saying that the relations between Russia and the EU are extremely important as rising tensions with Moscow could lead to important consequences.
He then moved to speak about terrorist attacks.
Referring to the many terrorist attacks that hit Belgium in the last years, Mr Michel said he knows very well how devastating terrorism can be, and that he believes that cooperation of national forces can help tackle this issue.
9.58am UPDATE: MEPs asks for more safety for EU citizens
MEPs asked in a round of question what Mr Michel believes the Union should do to keep its citizens safe, calling for a common anti-terrorism policy and more control on the Greek border.
9.54am UPDATE: Mr Tarabella: "We need to be ambition and that needs more resources"
Marc Tarabella, Belgium's MEP, hit out at his PM saying that it is mandatory for all countries to act quickly, spend more and increase the unity of the bloc.
GETTYMr Michel addresses MEPs concern over terrorism and security across the bloc
9.47am UPDATE: Belgian PM says his country wants to remain in "the cockpit of this project"
Mr Michel thanked the MEPs for the lively and intense debate and made clear that Belgium wants to remain in the cockpit of the European projects.
Echoing Mr Verhofstadt's speech, he said that "history have shown that cooperation guarantees liberty, democracy and prosperity".
9.45am UPDATE: Belgian PM replies to Mr Farage
Mr Michel took the time to reply to all the MEPs who commented on his speech, and explained Belgium’s policies on the environment, nuclear power and finance.
He also replied to Mr Farage, thanking him “for his piece of advice” over Belgium.
He also said the EU is not ignoring Brexit, and added that Belgium wants to have "a credible negotiation and maintain close links with the UK".
9.35am UPDATE: Georgios Epitidios says the EU is non-democratic
Greek far-right politician Georgios Epitidios blasted the EU saying it doesn’t support democracy, bringing as an evidence the fact that the EU is open to a dialogue with Turkey concerning Ankara joining the bloc.