Hello and welcome to our round-up of the European Parliament's latest plenary session here in Strasbourg.
This week the EPP Group spelled out its plan for tackling the crisis of hundreds of thousands of migrants trying, and too often dying, to reach Europe's shores.
There was also action on boosting youth employment, faster emergency responses to road accidents, and new regulations on curbing the blight of plastic bags that blot our land and seascapes each year.
We begin our coverage with the EPP plan to establish a more humane and effective EU migration policy.
Weber in debate John off More than a quarter million undocumented migrants arrived in the EU in 2014, and unscrupulous human traffickers literally got away with murder in the mass drownings of more than 1500 souls this year.
Maltese EPP Group member Roberta Metsola was blunt in the assessment of frontline countries like hers facing a humanitarian disaster.
Roberta Metsola MEP, Malta
00:15 - 00:34
Closing our borders and allowing absolutely nobody to get in- it's not a solution. But at the same time we need to make it clear whoever is eligible for protection will be granted protection.
Who is not eligible for protection we will need to find mechanisms for their safe return- without in any way breaching the principle of 'non-refoulement.'
John off Chairman Manfred Weber said the EPP Group supports the re-distribution of asylum seekers among EU member states.
The so-called Dublin regulations take into account the economic situation and number of persons already enjoying protection. Crucially, it would not loosen existing legal migration rules.
Otherwise, Weber said, the impact on current EU youth employment from hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern migrants legally able to seek work would be catastrophic.
Weber interview Manfred Weber
EPP Group Chairman
00:01 - 00:31 In the south of Europe, in Italy and Greece and Spain we have millions of young people, of young Europeans, who have for the moment no perspective, no economic perspective for their life, no job perspective.
And having this in mind, I think it's the wrong answer to ask now Africans to come to European Union to open labour markets inside the European Union for young Africans to come to Europe. It will create on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea even more problems than solving any of those problems.
Archive refugee flotillas, similar John off Weber said more comprehensive EU border control and rescue missions by Europol and FRONTEX should support worst-affected front line Member States such as Greece, Malta, Italy and Bulgaria.
The EU also wants to fight human traffickers and their patrons, and increase cooperation with Mediterranean neighbours like Libya from where many refugees set sail, as well as the refugees' countries of origin.
Set up to Juncker
President Jean-Claude Juncker told the plenary session that the Commission was ready to raise the budget up to 120 million Euros...to bring search, rescue and policing of the Mediterranean up to levels that will save countless lives.
Plenary remarks Juncker
09:22:50 - 09:23:30
The proposal I made on behalf of the Commission to triple the budget allocated to the Triton mission, despite some initial hesitation, was adopted by members of the Council. So we are re-establishing a funding advance that we lost along the way. It was a grave mistake to have put an end to the Mare Nostrum mission, it cost lives.
La proposition que j´avais faite au nom de la Commission de tripler le budget affecté à la mission Triton - en dépit des quelques hésitations initiales- a été suivi par les membres du Conseil. Nous rétablissons donc une avance que nous avons perdu en cours de route. Ce fut une grave erreur que d'avoir mis en terme à la mission Mare Nostrum elle a couté des vies humaines.
Youth employment, e-call, and plastic bags John on What's the link between youth unemployment, road traffic deaths and the number of plastic bags polluting Europe's streets and fields?
The correct answer is the EPP Group, which fought hard this week in Parliament to drastically cut the misery in all three of these areas.
Morin-Chartier setup John off A staggering 7 million young European people between the ages of 15 and 24 are currently unemployed.
A legislative proposal by French EPP Group member Elisabeth Morin-Chartier would increase early financing to promote youth employment initiatives in the worst-affected EU regions.
€1 billion made available in 2015 marks a sizeable advance in the fight to put Europe's youth back to work.
Morin-Chartier plenary remarks
Elisabeth Morin-Chartier French MEP, on
This pre-financing increases from 1% to 30%, which means that, yes, Europe knows what is needed in the field.
Indeed, project leaders cannot raise the funds they desperately need, especially in the most troubled regions. This provides a much-needed helping hand. Ce préfinancement passe de 1 % à 30 %, ça signifie que, oui, l'Europe connaît les besoins du terrain.
Parce que, les porteurs de projets ne peuvent pas amorcer, surtout dans les régions les plus en difficulté ces fonds dont ils ont tant besoin. C'est un coup de pouce tout à fait efficace.
EP plenary shots, archive John off This project could significantly cut down youth unemployment rates... reaching nearly 50% in some areas.
To understand how this project works you can watch an extensive interview with Morin-Chartier in the programme 'People First' on the EPP TV website.
Coelho setup John off The EPP Group also backs new high tech measures to get emergency services faster to those injured on EU roads. The death toll last year was over 25,000.
e-call in-vehicle services, going into effect in 2018, would send a radio signal to emergency services at the very moment air bags inflate in a crash.
Using hardware to be installed in new cars after 2018 and complying with data protection laws, the service will identify the time of accident and location, as well as type of vehicle.
This would help save many lives each year, says Portugese EPP Group member Carlos Coelho.
MEP Carlos Coelho, Portugal, EPP Group
01:27 - 01:50 It's working in all of Europe and it doesn't matter if you're driving a car in your own country or any other European country. Emergency help will be sent as soon as your car asks for that. And when there are so many people pretending we don't need more Europe
we have a clear example where more Europe is needed.
Hölvényi set up John off As hugely irresponsible as it sounds, an estimated 100 billion tons of ultra-thin plastic carrier bags are thrown away each year in the EU, ending up as waste in EU waters and soil.
Needing hundreds of years to degrade, these bags pose a greater environmental risk than thicker supermarket type versions because the thinner ones are rarely re-cycled.
György Hölvényi, Hungarian member for the EPP group, called the regulation a good chance for consumers to change their plastic habits.
Hungarian MEP, on
01:35 - 01:59
If you have any access to the alternative bags, like cotton bags or something like that, please use it. It's much better for you and much better for the environment. Of course all the countries have the responsibility to keep the industry, but the industry has to change, like the citizens as well.
Evelyne pix from evening Group meeting
Finally, during an impromptu visit to Parliament, Greek opposition leader and former Prime Minister Antonios Samaras gave a cautiously hopeful assessment, despite the current leftist government attempts to roll back his structural reform efforts.
Samaras' message to EPP Group members: "Governments come and go" but Greece itself needs to be allowed time to remain in the Euro and in the EU family of nations.
PTC Close John on That's all for now from the Strasbourg session. See you again next week from Brussels.
And find out more about the largest political force in Parliament by going to eppgroup.eu. Thanks for watching and see you again soon.
Plenary roundup: EPP Group on migration - youth employment, e -call and plastic carrier bags.
Description The EPP Group unveiled its position paper on migration and EU-wide burden sharing of arriving refugees. Commission President Jean Claude Juncker also announced an increase in Europol, Frontex funding. The Group also spearheading efforts to improve youth employment prospects, reduce road deaths through faster response times using the e-call system, and reducing the use of lightweight plastic carrier bags.
Tags European Parliament, European Commission, Migration, Youth Employment, e-call services, plastic carrier bag consumption, EPP Group, Strasbourg, Brussels, Roberta Metsola, Manfred Weber, Carlos Coelho, György Hölvényi, Antonios Samaras, Jean Claude Juncker