Barroso intervenes to unfreeze dossier
By Sophie Mosca | Wednesday 18 January 2012
The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, took charge, on 18 January at the European Parliament, to move forward on establishing the EU’s future single patent. “We urgently need to reach an agreement on the European patent. I expect negotiations on this point to reach a conclusion at the start of the Danish Presidency”.
Said negotiations had stumbled at the last Competitiveness Council, on 5 December 2011, over the location of the headquarters of the central division of the European jurisdictional system of patents. This blocked the process, which will lead to the creation of a single patent in the EU as part of the reinforced cooperation of 25 member states (Italy and Spain are opposed to the translation system and have opted out - see
Europolitics 4321). London, Munich and Paris were candidates – with Paris proposed by the Polish Presidency of the Council, which irritated the ‘losers’. The efforts of the Polish Presidency were not crowned with success, and the Polish Minister of European Affairs, Mikolaj Dowgielewicz, did in fact admit, on 16 December 2011, that talks had failed over this point – which relates to the jurisdictional system of the future single patent. With regard to the other chapters of this future patent – the regulation (co-decision) implementing the future patent and the regulation establishing the translation modalities – an agreement was reached between the Presidency and the Parliament negotiators on 2 December (4319 and 4320).
The Danish Presidency resumed the discussion process with the three member states early January, but according to a diplomatic source, the UK and Germany stood firm with their respective positions, contesting the idea that Paris is the most favourable economic environment to host the headquarters of the central division. “As yet, no formal meeting at the Council has been planned to discuss this sensitive question, but bilateral relations are continuing, as is the work of the Council’s working group on the other points that need to be fine-tuned for the single patent,” the diplomat told
A week after the call to take responsibility, which was made by Michel Barnier, the commissioner for the internal market, Barroso showed his determination to the MEPs, addressing himself directly to the capitals concerned: “I call on the three member states – France, Germany and the UK – that are blocking the dossier over the question of the headquarters of the future jurisdiction to rapidly reach a compromise. Frankly, it is unacceptable! It is unacceptable that such a crucial initiative be blocked by such a trivial disagreement”.
At the same time, Barnier, who was on a two-day visit to Beijing, was more optimistic when he spoke to the press: “In the next few days we hope to obtain an agreement on the creation of a patent after 30 years of negotiations”.