European patent will boost UK businesses
Liberal Democrat MEPs have warmly welcomed Tuesday’s green light for the long-awaited deal on a unitary European Patent.
The European Parliament has voted to accept a hard-fought compromise package which has taken nearly forty years to negotiate. Two states, Spain and Italy, have declined to take part on the grounds that their languages are not included in the patent filing process.
Andrew Duff MEP, who represents the important cluster of science research in the East of England, commented:
Today sees a huge break-through for European innovation and competitiveness. The final agreement on a unitary patent will greatly reduce red tape and costs for businesses across Europe.
“The judicial system is complicated by the fact that two states have not joined in on the grounds of linguistic envy. But the ultimate authority of the European Court of Justice is assured, and we can expect the gradual growth of case-law which will build confidence in the unitary system.
“Those who fear that software developments will now be clobbered by excessive patenting by large firms can be reassured: software remains within the realm of copyright law.
“It is remarkable that British Green and UKIP MEPs have united in their opposition to this new EU patent system. One can only speculate as to what solution they have to the current fractured state of European intellectual property.”
MEPs vote to avoid budgetary EU crisis
A senior Liberal Democrat MEP has welcomed Wednesday’s deal to cut the 2013 EU budget proposal by EUR 5.1bn as a necessary compromise to avoid a budgetary crisis. Whilst stressing that he would have liked to see a freeze of the budget in real terms, a rejection of the deal would have threatened many important EU-funded projects in the UK.
George Lyon MEP, a Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Budget Committee, commented after the budget vote in the European Parliament:
It is good news that MEPs have defeated the proposed 6.8% increase in the 2013 EU budget and instead voted in favour of a EUR 5.1bn cut that reduces it to a near inflation rise. The original budget proposal was completely out of touch with current economic circumstances and the financial pain that people across Europe have to face on a daily basis.
Although the Liberal Democrats would have liked to see it go further to a freeze of the budget in real terms, the compromise deal was the only option on the table to avoid a budgetary crisis in the EU. Without a budget deal, highly valuable EU-funded projects across the UK would have been threatened.
Making airports work for you
On Wednesday the European Parliament gave its green light to new regulations governing the allocation of slots and the levels of noise at EU airports to maximise airport capacity, decrease delays whilst protecting people living in flight corridors.
With almost 800 million passengers a year travelling by air from, to or within the European Union, airports need to step up their game to avoid travel disruptions.
Commenting on the proposed airport package to alleviate the situation, Liberal Democrat European spokesperson on transport, Phil Bennion MEP, said:
Europe is in serious danger of losing a major slice of the aviation market due to the constraints of airport capacity. In many areas building new runways and investing in new airport infrastructures is not an option. A revision of the current system of slot allocation is a pragmatic and realistic response to maximise airport capacity.
We also need to combine these measures with better connections between rail and air travel and look into innovative solutions such as multi-hubbing and combined ticketing to make better use of our spare capacity at regional airports. Statistics suggest Europe will face a doubling of air traffic by 2030 and increased competition in the world aviation market from regions such as Asia and the Middle East.
Commenting on the proposals to noise-related operating restrictions, he continued:
“It is fundamental to follow a global approach that takes into account both the effect of noise on the quality of life of citizens and the importance of air services and aviation. We need to take action to phase out the noisiest aircraft for the sake of our citizens and at the same time give airlines certainty and continuity in the way we deal with noise at airports at the European level.
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