Brussels, 24th January 2004 -- The adoption of the Council's software
patent agreement has been postponed once more, as confirmed by the
Council's public information service. Poland was again the country
that managed to delay te decision. This means that the Parliament will
have time to continue preparing to restart the procedure.
The Polish European Committee of the Council of Ministers
(UKIE.gov.pl) has announced that it will make a request to the EU
Presidency not to put the item concerning the Software Patent
Directive on the agenda of the meeting of the Council of Agriculture
and Fisheries due to take place on the 24th of January.
The original statement was been published on the UKIE website. Here
is a translation:
In regard to the news about the possible inclusion of the item
concerning the Directive on the Patentability Computer-Implemented
Inventions in the agenda of the meeting of the Council of Agriculture
and Fisheries on the 24th of January, 2005, the European Committee of
the Council of Ministers noted on the meeting on the 21st of January
that the work on the final position of Poland on the issue has not yet
been completed. On account of that, the European Committee has decided
that the Permanent Representation of the Republic of Poland to the
European Union will make a request to the Presidency not to include that
item in the Agenda of the EU Council Meeting. If the Luxembourg
Presidency includes the draft of the aforementioned directive in the
agenda, Poland will request its withdrawal and postponement until the
end of the necessary analyses being conducted by Poland.
Although the message once more makes it clear that Poland is really
unhappy about being forced to vote for something that it doesn't
suppport, so far no member state has asked to reopen negotiations in
the Council. The presidency is still insisting on unwritten diplomatic
rules, according to which political agreements cannot be changed. Thus
it is still not unlikely that the directive could reappear on an
unrelated Council meeting as an "uncontroversial" A-item, i.e.
scheduled for adoption without vote.
One of the reasons for this time's rushed attempt to pass the
directive as an A-item appears to have been the fact that the European
Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) is set to decide about a request
for renewed referral (restart of the procedure) at a meeting on
February 2nd. On this day, Commissioner Charlie McCreevy will speak
in JURI. The Commission had asked JURI to postpone its decision
to February 2nd. If the Common Position had been adopted today, JURI
would have lost its chance of deciding on the restart.
The meeting chairman Klaus-Heiner Lehne MEP (German Christian
Democrat), who is coordinating the decisions of the EPP-ED group in
the European Parliament's Legal Affairs committee (JURI) and has gone
to some lengths to resist the restart so far, had agreed that he
would be open to the idea if the Council did not adopt the software
patent directive as a Common Position this week.
Meanwhile Günter Krings MP, speaker of the German Christian Democrats
in the Federal Parliament (Bundestag) on this matter, has
criticised the German government for its failure to deliver on
promises to take the Parliament's views into account and asked for
reopening of negotiations in the Council.
The Council has in fact refused to take the Parliament's amendments of
September 2003 into account and used all kinds of procedural
manipulations to pass a position which does not enjoy a qualified
majority. If this position is passed, a restart in the Parliament
will become the only way to bring about a restart in the Council.