Friday, February 04, 2005

Euro-democracy strikes again

Phil Hunt of Cabalamat Journal reports on a happy development: the European directive on software patents, famously prevented from passing quickly by the Polish delegation's refusal to let it through (hence the "Thank you, Poland" campaign), has now been kicked solidly into touch by the European Parliament.

The parliamentary legal affairs committee decided by an overwhelming majority to send the proposal back to the European Commission tae think again (to come over all "Flower of Scotland"). The Commission now has to reconsider. It can either submit a new text (or none), or resubmit the old one in an entirely new legislative process; new first reading, new debate, new committee, new pingpong, new row. If the old one is then rejected again, it goes to a conciliation committee. If there is still no agreement, then the Council of Ministers can only agree the directive unanimously - that is to say, any member state could definitively kill it. (Kwasniewski, call your office.)

A good day's work, and a fine example of the EP doing its democratic thing, especially as proponents of software patenting twice attempted to slip the directive through the Council of Ministers when it was discussing agriculture and fisheries.

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