Polish Science and Informatisation minister: We cannot fight alone

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Warsaw, 4 March 2005 -- The Polish minister for science and informatisation Michael Kleiber says that Poland will support a request for a B-item (discussion) on software patents at the Council meeting on Monday 7 March if anyone asks for one, but they will not take the initiative. His main message is: Poland cannot fight alone.

It is clear that the current proposal no longer has the support of Poland - if it ever had. This means that there is no qualified majority anymore, and that pushing the current Council text through would be in violation of the Council's own rules of procedure. After all, a qualified majority must exist when the Common Position is adopted. Their political agreement has no legal value whatsoever, no matter what the "unwritten rules" say.

Nevertheless, Poland clearly invites other governments, such as the German and Danish one, to take the lead. If no one takes the initiative to ask for a new vote, the silence will be interpreted as consent to the votes as recorded on 18 May 2004 and thus the Common Position will be adopted.

One often heard argument against reopening discussions, is that this would make any political agreement reached in the future worthless. The reasoning is that any country could always reopen discussions afterwards. E.g. "European Voice" carried a long article last week that made this argument and accused Poland of disrupting the EU's procedures.

However the argument does not hold water.

Rule 3.8 of the Council's Rules of Procedure clearly states that any country can reopen the discussions, unless the Council decides otherwise.

This means that the Council, if backed by a majority of member states, can decline a request for renewed discussions.

Hartmut Pilch, president of FFII, explains:

Jonas Maebe, FFII board member, concludes:


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