Denmark still not happy, Software Patents not on Council Agenda of 17th

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Copenhagen, 11 February 2005 -- The Danish Government has once more decided to ask for a delay the adoption of the Software Patent directive.

It is not clear until when the government wants to delay, but knowledgable sources say that the new Folketing (Danish Parliament), which has been re-organised after the Danish elections, wants to have another opportunity to look at the matter. Before the elections, the opposition parties had obliged the minority government to demand a delay. This, among other factors, had prevented the Council from adopting its unsupported "political agreement" on Jan 31, as had been planned earlier.

A Council diplomat meanwhile confirmed that the agreement is not on the Council agenda of the 17th of February. Yesterday the general assumption still had been that the A-item would be put on the agenda at today's conference of permanent representatives (CoRePer), which was to decide next week's agenda. It is still possible for the Council to insert the software patents as an A-item at any time before the meeting, even without a CoRePer meeting, but this would be seen as unnormal. "It is not on the agenda, and if it comes on, we request it taken of again", said Minister Thor Pedersen after a meeting with the parties. Anne Grete Holmgaard (SF) confirmed she got a guarantee from the Dk government. Denmark is run by a minority Government and the recent elections led to a voting shift. The Unity List (6 members), Sociallist People Party (11), Social Democrats (47) and Danish People Party (24) amount after the election 88 MPs altogether. The new Danish parliament meets on Tuesday 22nd Feb, and the new Europe Committee may gather few days later to change the negotiation mandate of the Dk Council delegation. Danish parties made a lot of promises regarding the Directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions in the national elections campaign.

Yesterday the Dutch Parliament passed a motion that requests the NL Government to ensure that the Commission will get enough time to answer the EU Parliament. Halfway the preceding debate, Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade Van Gennip admitted that she thinks it would be "unwise" if Luxembourg would put the issue on the agenda next week. It was doubted whether the Dutch Government will act according to NL Parliament's will this time. This news from Denmark will make it very easy for the Dutch Government to obey its Parliament. Another small memberstate opposes an adoption on February 17th: Denmark.

The FFII is organising a demonstration in support of the national Parliaments and the EP's Conference of Presidents on 17 February in Brussels, when the Council intended to adopt its May 2004 text as an A-item. A press conference will be held at the Marriott Renaissance on 19, Rue du Parnasse, from 13h30 to 14h30.


André Rebentisch: Denmark still "not happy", time for a B-item

A further delay gives the other EU institutions more time. But only a b-item discussion will make sure that an approved Council proposal has to be taken serious. The current text has no majority anymore. A formal adoption (A-item) would be the result of irrational diplomatic pressure. The current proposal does not express the will of Council memberstates. So it is silly to adopt it as an A-item. It is time for the Council diplomates to give up shadow rules and stick back to the rules of procedure. Division of powers is still a principle we have to be concerned about. The current Council pratice allows a hostile takeover of legislation by national administration officials which represent special interests.

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