Parlementary questions by MPs? Van Dam (PvdA?) and Gerkens (SP), nr. 2030420290
We hereby send you the answers to the questions my MPs? Van Dam (PvdA?) and Gerkens (SP) w.r.t. software patents, which have been sent on August 30th baring number 2030420290.
- Do you recall the answers to questions my MP Gerkens, dated August 2nd 2004?
- Do you recall the Van Dam motion, requesting the government to act per today according to the position formulated by the Parliament, i.e. that the current proposal by the Council is no longer supported and do you recall your promise to carry out this motion?
- Do you recall the debate dated July 1st 2004 and more specifically, the last question by MP Gerkens and your answer to that?
- Do you share the opinion that the answers to the questions by MP Gerkens do not correspond with with your promise to notify your colleagues as soon as possible via a "note" of the changed Dutch position? Do you share the opinion that "as soon as possible" does not equate to "at the format acceptance of the Council's common position"? If not, why not?
- Do you recall your promise to inform the other member states that "the Netherlands are still concerned about, among which, the clarity on the scope of the proposed directive" and that this implies more than just informing the other member states of the position of the Parliament? If not, why not?
- Are you willing to put your promises into action and notify the other member states as soon as possible that the Netherlands no longer support the current proposal by the Council? If not, why not?
Yes, we recall the motion by Van Dam et al (Parliamentary file 21 501-30, nr. 52) which literally states: "The Parliament announces its opinion that the political agreement that was reached at the Competitiveness Council of May 17th and 18th 2004 does not sufficiently provide measures to prevent excesses regarding software patents; requests the government to inform other member states of this stance; requests the government to act according to this stance during further handling of Council's proposal and to discontinue support for the current Council's proposal starting today". We also recall our promise to support this motion.
Yes, we recall the debate dated July 1st 2004 in which mrs. Gerkens asked to "inform colleagues as soon as possible (...) what the Parliaments position is". In reply to this the State Secretary stated: "I have to consider the method in which I should do this. E.g., a note should be sent".
We disagree that the answers to questions by MP Gerkens (2030417710) do not correspond do the promises during the debate. Shortly after the acceptance of the motion dated July 1st we have had our permanent representative at the EU announce, during the Coreper meeting of the 20th, that the Netherlands will have a unilateral declaration during the formal acceptance of the common position of the Council later this fall, in which the concerns of the Netherlands as stated in the motion, will be expressed.
Via many contacts from foreign countries with the Netherlands we noted that the message of the Dutch position is sufficiently known by the other member states.
We also made use of the recent opportunity during initial meetings with various commissions of the European Parliament to give notice of the concerns of the Parliament. In various EP commissions we also gave notice to the fact the the Netherlands, as chair of the Council, intends to closely work with the EP to narrow the gap which currently exists between Council and EP as a result of the first stage of the codecision procedure. In that, a reference was made to various discussions in various member states, in which explicit notions were made that the Dutch Parliament is concerned about the preliminary directive.
It should be clear that the government does execute the motion by Van Dam et al (Parliamentary file 21 501-30, nr. 52) and the promises made during various discussions regarding this subject.
- Can the confirmation of the votes take place with another minister? If so, how will you make sure that the correct position is expressed by that minister? If not, why not?
The confirmation can take place at another Council than the Competitiveness Council and chaired by another minister. As expressed above the Netherlands will make a unilateral declaration during the formal acceptance of the text of the common position of the Council, in which the concerns of the Netherlands as stated in the motion, will be expressed. Via existing coordinated structures care will be taken that declaration is made even if the confirmation of the votes takes place at a Council where both of us are absent.
(signed) mr. L.J. Brinkhorst, Minister of Economic Affairs
(signed) mrs. ir. C.E.G. van Gennip MBA, State Secretary of Economic Affairs