Formal approval of the directive delayed and transfered to the Luxembourg Presidency
In an answer to a parliamentary question (Dutch and French) (English translation) asked in the Economic Affairs Committee of the Belgian Parliament, the Belgian Minister Verwilghen confirmed that the software patents directive is not on the agenda of Coreper I tomorrow (Wednesday 2004/12/08), and that the formal approval will be forwarded to the Luxembourg presidency. He mentioned that there is a problem because there is no qualified majority anymore, and so that this file will not be treated in 2004, but well in 2005 under the Luxembourg presidency. Consequently, the formal approval will take place in 2005 at the soonest.
Here is a part content of the PDF transcript:
- "La proposition de directive ne figure pas a l'agenda du Coreper qui se tiendra demain. Le Conseil Competitivite ne votera pas le projet avant 2005. Cette proposition ne concerne pas la presidence hollandaise et ne modifie pas la proposition des 17 et 18 mai. Des lors, la Belgique ne modifiera pas sa position et s'abstiendra lors du vote."
It would be nice to have an official confirmation of this delay from the Dutch presidency. The transcript will be available tomorrow on the La Chambre website.
The presidency of The Netherlands ends 2004-12-31. Luxembourg will then take over the Council presidency. There are three possible reasons for the possible delay
1. The Government of The Netherlands has stated it will abide by a Parliament's resolution which CALLS UPON the government to act according to this opinion in further discussions of the Council proposal, and from this present moment, abstain from supporting the current Council proposal.
2. Poland recently announced a change in vote or in fact affirms its previous position. New member states joined the Council, voting weights shifted. The unstable compromise from may got too much public attention to pass the Council unamended.
I am not sure that the directive will be formally adopted in a rush. The space for renegotiations is opened up again. We hope that program claims (Article 5.2) will be deleted and the term technical will be defined according to the original German Art 2b. Other demands are an industry definition and a strong interoperability privilege (Art 6a). We further request to withdraw the bogus changes that only mess up the directive proposal. I think march will be a likely candidate for a formal approval date.