[Fsfe-ie] Software patent text approved in principle by COREPER

James Heald j.heald at ucl.ac.uk
Thu May 6 17:25:40 CEST 2004

It's just coming out, the Irish presidency has managed (at the third 
attempt) to get a provisional agreement from a "qualified majority" of 
EU Member States' ambassadors to support its revised text of the 
Software Patents directive.

The new draft rejects all planks of the European Parliament's 
amendments, and is described by FFII as "the most uncompromisingly 
pro-patent text yet".

All is not yet lost.  According to the rules of the Council, Wednesday's 
vote is just a "forecast" of the actual decision.  Support for it at a 
political level in some states is said to be quite soft; and decisions 
brokered in Coreper do fall apart.  Member states can still change their 
minds (and their votes), until the decision is made final at the meeting 
of the Competitiveness Council of Ministers on 17-18 May.

But it will need intense pressure to change minds over the next eleven 
days, if this text is to be averted.

National positions
According to leaked documents FFII has obtained, UK, IE, NL, AT, FI, SE, 
PT, LU, IT and EL were the countries pushing most strongly for the text; 
opposition to it was led by DE and BE with some support from DK, and 
mixed signals from FR and ES.

Commission positions
In the Commission, the push was led by Commissioner Bolkestein (Internal 
Market) with some support from Commissioner Monti (Competition); between 
them managed to subdue the objections of Liikanen (Information Society)

Latest Presidency draft text, including member states' comments:
(user vitke/ passwd mipri)

Analysis of the text by Philippe Aigrain:

Leaked political analysis from the Commission

Political analysis and instructions to the Austrian delegation:

Voting weights

Germany, France, Italy, United Kingdom: 10 votes each;
Spain: 8 votes;
Belgium, Greece, Netherlands, Portugal: 5 votes each;
Austria, Sweden: 4 votes each;
Denmark, Ireland, Finland: 3 votes each;
Luxembourg: 2 votes.

(The new accession countries don't get to vote until November).

A Qualified Majority needs 62 votes out of 87; so it needs 26 to block
the Presidency text.

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