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EU Extraordinary Competitiveness Council (10 November 2010)

Volume 518: debated on Wednesday 17 November 2010

My noble Friend the Minister for Innovation and Skills, Baroness Wilcox, has today made the following statement:

An extraordinary EU Competitiveness Council took place in Brussels on 10 November 2010. This comprised a discussion on suggested amendments by the Belgian presidency to the Commission proposal for an EU patent language regulation in an attempt to overcome the concerns of some member states.

I represented the UK and Andy Lebrecht, the UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU, represented the UK when a Minister was not in attendance. A summary of the discussions follows.

The UK and the majority of member states supported the presidency compromise amendments subject to the text being acceptable to all member states. The UK also emphasised commitment to an EU patent that works for business.

The presidency proposed a final compromise following the first round of debate and an extended session including bilaterals. The compromise was acceptable to the UK and the majority of other member states; however Spain still considered the language regime proposed would be discriminatory, while Italy and Poland still expressed concerns over the length of the transitional period.

Despite many concessions having been made in an attempt to achieve progress, the presidency concluded that it is not possible to achieve the required unanimity, but that they will now reflect on how to capitalise on the momentum created.