Commission and Council in

By Matthew Broersma  |  Posted 2005-02-24 Print this article Print

Deadlock"> The Commission and the Council are currently in a deadlock over who will make the next move. The Commission said this week that it is waiting for the Council to formally adopt the May 2004 text before it makes a move. EU Competitiveness Council spokeswoman Magdalena Martinez-Almeida made it clear this week that the Council believes the ball is in the Commissions court. The Council is made up of representatives of the European Unions 25 national governments, and is thus susceptible to the pressure being exerted by an increasing number of those national governments to stop the May 2004 proposal in its tracks, analysts say. Formal resolutions to this effect have recently been adopted by the national parliaments of Spain, the Netherlands and Germany.
Denmarks Social Democrat party on Thursday said it has changed its position on the May 2004 text and now opposes it. Denmarks government is a coalition, and relies on the support of the Social Democrats, the largest opposition party.
"We think so many people have pointed out problems in the proposal that we ask the government that no decisions be made in the European Union on a software patent directive right now," said the Social Democrats IT spokesman Thomas Adelskov, according to a report in Danish industry journal To read David Courseys analysis of the pros and cons of software patents, click here. As for the Commission—the European Unions executive branch—some critics believe it is under inappropriate influence from Microsoft, Irelands largest taxpayer. Much of Irelands prosperity of the past few years is due to the countrys liberal tax policy toward IT companies. Mueller argued there is a danger that the Commissioner currently in charge of the patents proposal, Charlie McCreevy—Irelands minister of finance until last year—will put Microsofts interests ahead of those of the European Union as a whole. The European Commission can now restart the legislative process as requested by the EP, or it can withdraw the legislative initiative entirely. It also has the option of allowing the May 2004 proposal to go through to the EP for a second reading—but only once the EU Council has formally adopted the text as its Common Position. Industry bodies such as the EICTA (European Information and Communications Technology Industry Association) argue that the May 2004 proposal will not legalize software patents, and should proceed to the EP for a second reading. The proposal is necessary to harmonize the European Unions patent system and give IT companies clarity, the EICTA says. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis of technologys impact on government and politics.


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