Belgium confirms abstention regarding Council text from May

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Parliamentary question asked by Zoé Genot in the Belgian federal parliament

The question starts at the bottom of page 10 of this file (page 14 of the pdf file). The text is available both in French and in Dutch. Note that it is a summary report, and thus does not literally contain what was said.

Update: the full transcript is available now as well (only in French for now, page 12 and onwards). This version is more complete, and the Minister says that there is no more Qualified Majority in Council.

Question (Zoé Genot, Ecolo)

Answer (Minister Marc Verwilghen)

Closing Remark (Zoé Genot)


Jonas Maebe

There are several unclear and seemingly misguided points in the minister's answer. One influential factor is certainly the heavy pressure of Agoria (Belgian member association of EICTA). It is unclear what the ministry's own position in this matter really is, as the Belgian standpoints always have been decided upon by the entire (Belgian) Council of Ministers until now.


EICTA previously announced that Belgium (contrary to the current landslide in our favour) considers to change its vote to Yes.

"Yes, there are flaws with the directive. For example, its very name, 'Patentability of Computer-implemented Inventions,' is a disaster, but it would be a great shame if the directive went back to the Commission or into another working group because it would continue the current uncertainty over patenting computer-implemented inventions possibly for years," MacGann said.

We agree with Eicta-Director MacGann about the name of the Directive. But he also said:

"In May, Belgium voted to abstain, and though I cannot speak for the Belgium government, we have been extremely encouraged by meetings we have had with officials in Belgium and are cautiously optimistic that they may change their vote to yes,"

The Minister now officially denies that.

A majority against the Council text is now there due to new member states even if Belgium voted in favour. We believe it would be a great shame if the Council text gets through as it is today.

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