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Reactions in Denmark to EU Council Vote
Tuesday, March 08 2005 @ 08:42 AM EST

I bet you're curious about how folks are reacting in Denmark to yesterday's performance by their representative. Well, happily, Groklaw has readers everywhere, and so we can tell you all about it. The reaction, as you might expect, is mixed. Those who supported the idea of software patents view it as a great victory, and those who oppose are asking their parliamentary lawyers to review if things were properly handled. The Danish Minister has been called to a meeting to explain himself. Here are some sources in Danish on how politicians there are reacting:

http://www.comon.dk/index.php/news/show/id=21401
http://www.comon.dk/index.php/news/show/id=21400">
http://www.computerworld.dk/default.asp?Mode=2&ArticleID=27362
http://www.computerworld.dk/default.asp?Mode=2&ArticleID=27359

Don't read Danish? Here is a translation by Groklaw's elhaard of the first on the list, a snip of it, with some explanatory notes by him:

Lone Dybkjśr (R [Radikale, a center party]) will ask the Parliament lawyers to examine whether the EU Council's Luxembourgian President acted correctly when it denied Denmark's demand for a new debate about the patent directive this Monday. The directive was passed as an A item without debate during the meeting even though Minister of Commerce, Bendt Bendtsen, was mandated by the Danish Parliament's Europe Council to work towards getting the directive transferred to a B item.

"It is a pity that we could not get the case taken off as an A item and put on as a B item. I will ask the [Danish] Parliament lawyers to assess whether Luxembourg has followed the correct procedure", says Lone Dybkjśr to IngeniÝren|net [the net edition of the Danish Engineer Associations newspaper]. . . .

"The way the Luxembourgian precidency has handled the case must also be a part of the EU Parliament's assessment. At that point one will have to say that we are in accordance with the EU Parliament's legal committee which said that a restart was needed", says Lone Dybkjśr.

Among the Danish politicians, there are mixed reactions on the passing of the directive. The Conservative [ie. same party as Bendt Bendtsen] MEP Gitte Seeberg believes that this is a victory for the European software industry.

"It has been a good day for software developers. The European software patent has moved closer, and we should all be glad about that, even though the opposition in the Danish parliament to the very end tried to obstruct the process in the whole of Europe", says Gitte Seeberg.

The article ends with a quotation from one politician who asks the real questions: how hard did the Danish representative, who was known to favor software patents but was compelled to oppose by the votes he represented, fight? Did he just "forget" to ask for the A item to be removed? The second article indicates he is being asked exactly such questions.

First, our translator's explanation about the second article:

"This is about Bendt Bendtsen being called in joint council. That means that one or more members of the Danish parliament has asked the minister a question that he absolutely must answer fully and truly. It is a semi-serious matter. They are telling him: 'You probably did something wrong and you better have a very good excuse. And we certainly would like to hear it.' If the minister can come up with an excuse, there is usually no further action, but if the matter is serious enough and he has no excuse, it might escalate -- and that could be serious for him."

Here is a bit of the article:

"The message from a majority in the Danish Parliament's Europe Committee was clear as crystal. Bendt Bendtsen was asked to have the item removed so that it could be transferred as a B item, where the case can be discussed. The wish for having a debate about the compromise that was reached in May 2004 is in accordance with the EU Parliament and is legal committe, which wants a renewed discussion of the proposed directive, that have met criticism from many EU countries", says SF's EU spokesperson, Anne Grete Holmsgaard.

According to Bendt Bendtsen, the Commision's Luxembougian presidency denied the Danish demand for treating the directive as a B item.

"Of course, I cannot know what has taken place before the meeting, which by the way was open to the public. But one of two things must have happened: Either the presidency has set aside the rule that a country can have an item removed from the agenda; or Denmark has simply not been active enough", says Anne Grete Holmsgaard.

The third article is Mr. Bendtsen explaining himself, as our translator summarizes:

"The third article cites Bendt Bendtsen saying that he fought as hard as possible, but that he simply wasn't backed enough by the other countries - that only Portugal supported Denmark. Apparently he does not understand the opposition against the directive, and according to him, neither do his Finnish and Danish collegues. According to him, they say that a rejection of the directive will not only be bad for big enterprises like Nokia, but also for small and medium sized enterprises."

In short, he didn't want to do what he was tasked to do. The next article is a rehash of the others, he says, but the fifth adds this:

"It says that several factions of the EU parliament are directly hostile towards the directive, and that the atmosphere is not improved by the way it was treated in the Council."

So, now you know the story from Denmark thanks to elhaard, and I know you join me in saying Thank You to him.


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