Danish Parliament obliges Minister to renegotiate software patents in Council
Copenhagen, 4 March 2005 -- The Danish Minister of Economic and Industry Affairs Bendt Bendtsen has been obliged by the Danish Parliament EU Committee to reopen the software patents discussion in the EU Council of Ministers. Therefore, the directive cannot be adopted as an A-item (formal point) at the Competition Council meeting on Monday.
Minister Bendtsen (Conservatives) did not want to reopen discussions, but the minority government he is part of was overruled by a coalition consisting of a.o. Social Democrates and the Social Liberal Party in the Parliament's EU Affairs Committee. Lone Dybkjær from Det Radikale Venstre (Social Liberal Party) says the minister is obliged to follow this decision to ask to take the A-item off the agenda.
Moreover, the minister should also ask to put it as a B-item at a subsequent Council meeting. This means that the directive will again appear on the Council table as a discussion point, and not just something which should be formally adopted. This would immediately fulfill the main concern which moved the European Parliament to request a restart of the directive to the Commission: lack of a proper first reading in the Council.
Lone Dybkjær said "We hope Denmark will be supported by Sweden in this matter", referring to the earlier request to reopen discussions by the Swedish liberals request. Bendtsen is certain to find support from his Polish colleague Kleiber, who said earlier today in the Gazeta Wyborcza
- "I am in constant contact with the Danish minister of
- science. He seriously considers blocking the directive on Monday"
Arda Gerkens, a Dutch MP of the Socialistische Partij who supported the Dutch motion from yesterday and who earlier on introduced several related motions in the Dutch parliament, added:
- "I am very happy to see Denmark taking this step. Thanks to the
- motion we adopted yesterday, the Netherlands will support this move."
Hartmut Pilch comments:
- It was clearly wrong to count Denmark as 80% happy in May 2004. So long as the will of national legislatures is not respected by the ministers who conclude "political agreements", the Council should not be able to count on the irreversibility of these agreements. It is now of course still possible for a majority of Council members to decline the wish of Denmark and Poland and insist on their zombie agreement of May 2004, but that does not seem very likely. Today is a turning point in the history of the directive, and hopefully historians will also mark this day as a turning point in the history of Parliamentary Democracy in Europe.
Comments made by Danish Socialist MP Anne Grete Holmsgaard to Computerworld Online:
- This is a huge victory and I'm so happy since we now at last will have an opening, so all the countries that are unhappy with the May 2004 compromise will be listened to.
- .. This opens the locked situation where all the critical parliaments were waiting for each other through their government, because no one would take the first step. This grants us an opening that gives a real possibility of renegotiating the directive and have the Parliament back again.
- Det er simpelthen en kæmpe sejr, og jeg er så glad, for endelig får vi en åbning, så der bliver lyttet til alle de lande, der synes, det var et dårlig kompromis, der blev indgået i maj 2004.
- .. Man åbner den låste situation, hvor alle de kritiske parlamenter ventede på hinanden via deres regering, fordi ingen ville tage det første skridt. Det giver en åbning, som giver en reel mulighed for at få direktivet til ny forhandling og få Parlamentet ind igen.