European Parliament demands Restart, Conference of Presidents adopts JURI Motion
17 February 2005 -- The European Parliament is requesting a renewed referral of the draft software patent directive to the European Parliament. After a 19:2 vote in JURI for the motion on 2nd February, the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliaments has adopted the JURI motion for a return to a 1st reading on the software patent directive.
The decision appeared uncertain until the last minute. The Tabling Office (one of the units of the Presidency Directorate which is headed by Harald Rømer) had not put the issue on today's agenda, suggesting that it was appropriate to wait for the Council to adopt its text first, as Commissioner Charlie McCreevy had proposed. However, due to an initiative of the Greens which found support in the other groups, the motion was eventually tabled and approved by the Conference of Presidents, i.e. the heads of the political groups in the Parliament.
Hartmut Pilch, president of FFII, explains the situation
- It is not certain that the Commission will comply with the request of the Parliament, nor that it will use the opportunity to draft a good text, even though the previous text of the Commission was so poorly written that in the end it didn't serve anybody's purpose, not even that of the patent lobby. The new Commission is not obliged to follow the Parliament's request and they might still try to "keep all options open" and ask the Council to adopt the zombie "agreement" of last May as an A-item without a new vote. However, even if they chose this path of confrontation, the Parliament would still have the possibility to restart the procedure anyway, depending on how it interprets its Rules 54-57. The Commission has already had enough clashes with the European Parliament, and they have no reason to attach themselves to the previous Commission's failed policies. It is therefore not unlikely at all that the Commission will seize the opportunity that the Parliament is presenting it in order to regain a more active role in the process.
As reported on
300 FFII demonstrators standing in the cold before the Commission and Council buildings have submitted their messages on the restart question. They ask for either reopening of discussions in the Council and/or for a fresh start or the procedure in the Commission.
As was stressed by the Polish ministers at yesterday's Thank Poland ceremony, all these different means serve one aim, to make the Commission and Council begin an open discussion on the subject and conduct a real 1st reading.