Danish Parliament obliges Minister to renegotiate software patents in Council

Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2005 16:38:37 +0100
PRESS RELEASE FFII -- [ Europe / economy / ICT ]

Danish Parliament obliges Minister to renegotiate software patents in

Copenhague, 4 March 2005 -- The Danish Minister of Economic and
Industry Affairs Bent Bentsen 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 Bentsen (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. Bentsen is certain to find support
from his Polish colleague Kleiber, who said earlier today in the
Polish Gospodarka Gazeta

  "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
this motion and introduced several related motions before 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

Hartmut Pilch, President of FFII, concluded:

  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.

Pan-European support for new discussions in Council and EP restart

- Polish minister calls for B-item support in Council

- Dutch Parliament: if another state asks for B-item, make no objections

- Munich: Mayor Ude wants government to start renegotiations in Council

- Parti Socialiste (Belgium): EP restart is victory, still have to
   convince the Council

- Maria Berger MEP: Barroso playing high-stakes poker with EP

- Dr. Günter Krings (German conservatives) derides Commission for
   restart refusal

- Danish Parliamentary Majority Against Council Agreement

- Swedish Liberals call for Renegotiation (B-Item) in Council

- Spanish senate unanimously against software patents

- UEAPME (represents 11 million European SMEs) supports EP restart

- CEA-PME (represents 500,000 European SMEs) supports EP restart

- German minister Zypries encourages new discussions in Council

Extra information

- Permanent link to this press release

- Article in Gazeta Wyborcza quoting Mr. Kleiber (Polish)


Hartmut Pilch, Munich Office
phm ffii org
tel. +49 (0)89 18979927

Erik Josefsson, Brussels Office
erjos ffii org
tel. +32 (0)485 83 21 26

Jonas Maebe, Board Member
jmaebe ffii org
tel. +32 (0)485 36 96 45

About the FFII -- http://www.ffii.org

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) is a
non-profit association registered in several European countries, which
is dedicated to the spread of data processing literacy. FFII supports
the development of public information goods based on copyright, free
competition, open standards. More than 500 members, 1,200 companies
and 80,000 supporters have entrusted the FFII to act as their voice in
public policy questions concerning exclusion rights (intellectual
property) in data processing.

Best regards

Anne Østergaard <anne oestergaard nu>

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