The state of play of Europe and COVID; the outcome of the European Council with the adoption of the multiannual financial framework and the Recovery Plan; and the award of the Sakharov Prize. These are some of the items on the agenda of the European Parliament’s plenary session from today to 18 December. EP President David Sassoli will travel to Strasbourg for the opening of the session. There, he will also meet with the mayor, Jeanne Barseghian, and the French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune. The plenary session, however, will be held in Brussels or by video conference – with each MEP being able to choose whether to attend in person or remotely. The items to be addressed today include a new strategy for SMEs; the European Year of Rail; the implementation of the Dublin III Regulation; and the Return Directive. Tomorrow, discussion will focus on the legislation on water for human consumption; REACT-EU (additional resources in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic); and transitional rules for agricultural funding and aid to producers. On Wednesday, MEPs will debate the outcome of the European Council meeting on 10-11 December; the EU Security Union Strategy; and the EU Strategy on COVID-19 vaccination. At midday, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and Democracy will be awarded to the Belarusian opposition. Finally, the focus of debate on Friday will be on Brexit and the future of EU-UK relations.