The week in Brussels

The European parliament meets in Strasbourg on Monday for the last session before the summer break, starting with a debate on the European Central Bank's 2004 annual report.

Jean-Claude Trichet, ECB president, will take part in the debate, with attention likely to focus on any softening of his position on interest rate cuts.

Mr Trichet is under fierce pressure from politicians in Germany, France, Italy and elsewhere to help revive the eurozone's faltering economy with a rate cut.

MEPs will later debate whether phthalates (COR) - chemicals used to soften PVC - should be permanently banned from children's toys.

Also on Monday, José Manuel Barroso, Commission president, and Louis Michel, Development Commissioner, will attend the African Union summit in Sirte, Libya, as part of the preparations for the G8 summit in Gleneagles.

On Wednesday, Mr Barroso travels with Peter Mandelson, Trade Commissioner, to the summit in Scotland; Mr Mandelson leaves that same day; Mr Barroso stays till Friday.

The EU's contribution to the climate change debate and its role as the biggest aid donor to Africa will give it a strong voice at the summit.

MEPs will debate the anti-poverty campaign in Africa on Wednesday ahead of the Gleneagles summit, with a symbolic white band wrapped around the Strasbourg parliament.

Meanwhile, on Monday and Tuesday interior ministers from five of the biggest EU countries will meet in Evian, France, to discuss illegal immigration and other security issues.

Charles Clarke, the UK's home secretary, has indicated he wants to use the British presidency of the EU to secure arrangements for the return of illegal immigrants to third countries, including Russia, Ukraine and Morocco.

Back in Strasbourg, Tuesday will see an important debate on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions, the subject of fierce debate between large software companies and the open-source movement.

Thursday sees Joaquín Almunia, EU monetary affairs commissioner, travel to Frankfurt for the ECB board of governors mend

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