Rejection of software patents represents a double victory

6 July 2005

Rejection of software patents represents a double victory

Today's rejection by the European Parliament of the directive providing for patents on software represents a double victory for the SP. Not only is it to be welcomed because of the undesirability of the directive itself, but also because of the fact that the vote is deserved punishment for the undemocratic and disrespectful working methods of the European Commission and the Council of Ministers.

Erik MeijerSo said Erik Meijer, SP Member of the European Parliament, explaining that “Never before has the Parliament voted down a directive which, following rewording, had been brought back for a second vote. This unprecedented step was no surprise, however, because members were clearly annoyed by the way things had been handled.”

The Commission and Council had used what Mr Meijer described as “tricks and undemocratic means” in order to avoid a debate and force the directive through. The Parliament was, moreover, overrun by lobbyists from multinationals, but all to no avail: patents on software were rejected for a second time, by an overwhelming majority of 648 votes to 14.

“The way in which the issue of software patents has been dealt with provides a good example of the undemocratic nature of the EU,” said Mr Meijer. “This time the European Parliament has successfully resisted steamrollering, but this does not solve the problem itself. The structure of EU politics remains fundamentally undemocratic, favouring the Council of Ministers and the Commission.” Mr Meijer added that the rejected Constitution would have made no positive difference to this.

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