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Archive for December, 2009

Commissioner Wallström  does not provide an amended Commission proposal for the Cashman report, although the Lisbon treaty makes the older Commission proposal for a EC/1049/2001 reform obsolete. She makes some encouraging points on the criticial reform aspects:

Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the Commission. − Mr President, honourable Members, if I may first turn to Mr Cashman. I think this is the last possibility or opportunity that I will have to say thank you to you. You are indeed the face of the fight for this particular regulation and for openness and transparency in Parliament. You have become the face, the symbol and the advocate of it.

I also think that we have a great deal of credibility, being Swedish, both Cecilia Malmström and myself and I do not think that people will doubt that we will continue to fight for openness and transparency. At the same time, we have had our rows because we also play different roles and sometimes we have to be very realistic about what we can achieve and we have to fight our corners in each institution. That is not always easy. I think the whole political climate has also changed and the political balance has changed and that has affected our discussions on these issues.

But our starting point, I would say, is absolutely the same and we also state that this particular regulation on access to documents has served us very well. Over the years this has been an excellent tool that we also want to be used by more than the lobbyists and those who are paid for looking at all the documents. We want the general public and journalists to be able to use it and have full access to documents. That is my starting point. I know that I share this view, as you could hear, with the Minister.

I think also the Swedish Presidency was a golden opportunity to move this issue forward. Now I really want to thank Parliament for the opportunity to have this debate on transparency and the new Lisbon Treaty because it places more emphasis on openness and what is called participatory democracy. We all agree that this is a most welcome development.

The concrete question on the table today is: What measures will the Commission take with regards to the revision of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001?

As you know, with the Lisbon Treaty, the public right of access to documents has been extended, as we heard the minister saying, to documents of all institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union. Although there are some restrictions for the Court of Justice, the European Central Bank and the European Investment Bank for natural reasons.

Concerning the review of Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001, I want to point out that the new legal base, Article 15(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, is very similar to the former Article 255 and the main difference is the extension of the institutional scope.

This issue was addressed by the Commission in our Communication on 2 December this year. This was aimed at aligning pending proposals for secondary legislation to the new Treaty. (Some of you here may know it under the EU jargon as the ‘omnibus act’ – let’s forget that the minute I have said it!)

It means that either of the legislators can now introduce an amendment extending the scope of the Regulation to the other bodies and institutions. This is also to let the Council know that this has been presented by the Commission and adopted by the Commission.

Further progress in the legislative process leading to the adoption of an amended Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 is in the hands of the legislators: Parliament and Council. We are still in the stage of the first reading. We do not have a legislative resolution and we do not have the position of the new Parliament. Of course the Commission will go on to contribute to reaching an agreement – as in other legislative processes.

The Lisbon Treaty lays down a legal framework for participatory democracy. From the Commission’s side we have already taken a number of initiatives aimed at improving public consultation and participation on proposed new policies. For example, we will assess the Commission’s consultation guidelines against the new provisions of the Treaty and decide whether adjustments are necessary to further improve them, and we have already started the work on the citizens’ initiative by launching a public consultation, to listen to the citizens and the stakeholders before presenting a proposal.

The great importance of the citizens’ initiative was also recognised by the European Council last week. And the incoming Spanish Presidency, I have understood, has put this very high on the agenda. They want rapid delivery.

This morning, as we have already heard, the Interinstitutional Committee on Public Access to Documents met at the invitation of the Swedish Presidency. The task of this group is to examine best practice, address possible conflicts and discuss further developments on public access to documents.

So we decided together that we will have an ‘Openness’ web portal, we will have complementarity of our institutions’ public registers; we will have our respective IT services sit down and coordinate their access efforts and we will now consider the impact on access to documents when our institutions create or change electronic storage systems.

I know that this is the time of year when you write wish lists. But I think when it comes to openness and transparency, you should not rely on Santa Claus. I think it is really up to us to deliver now: Parliament, Council and Commission. Real concrete and direct delivery. I think we have already started and we have to continue on this track so I am looking forward to our debate.

Mr President, this was a very effective way of softening me up a bit as I now speak for the final time. I could not have chosen a better subject on which to make my last intervention in the European Parliament – which it probably is – than on openness and transparency.

Let me just state some basic facts. The European Commission has provided a proposal. It is the only proposal on the table. We did it in the shape of a recast, which means that we think the basic principles in this regulation are sound; they are OK. We can use them but we have to modernise them, upgrade them and make them more effective. This was the whole idea behind the recast.

We have some different views on a few things – how to define documents etc. – but these are still the kind of negotiations that we should engage in and make sure that we move things forward. To do that, we need a first reading from Parliament. This is the basic message from our side.

We also think, on the basis of a new Treaty, that we can do it by expanding the scope of this regulation. That is the main difference, as we see it in the Commission. It will now cover all the bodies, agencies etc. of the European Union. This is where we are today, so we still hope that Parliament will now provide, as soon as possible, a first reading. Then we can also have the views of the Council so that we can enter into proper discussions and negotiations and finally have a decision.

Regarding a number of very important issues that you have also raised, Mr Cashman, in your report: I think there are other means that we can use as they are a bit outside the scope of this regulation. But they are still very important initiatives. They have to do with registers, with things we discussed – today, for example – where we can improve openness and transparency, through other methods and not only through the Regulation. This is where we will continue. I know you do not like it very much, but I have taken the initiative to make an openness action plan, parts of which we discussed today, where we can join hands and make efforts to continue on openness and transparency and fight for that.

On that positive note – I really want it to be a positive note – I would like to thank you all and I also want to use the opportunity to say ‘Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’ to all of you.

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I was wondering how to install oggenc, a conversion tool to the ogg vorbis format, a competitor to the mp3 audio format, in Kubuntu Karmic. You need it for instance when you want to rip your CDs and encode them as ogg files.

So here is the solution, the package to install is called vorbis-tools, a simple

sudo apt-get install vorbis-tools

should do. If you use the KDE4 program audex for CD ripping you have search for the new codes afterwards. Your find that in the audex settings dialogue.

As of ogg/mp3 player I enjoy to use the ones from Samsung. The Korean company supports ogg/vorbis nicely. MP3 is patent protected by Fraunhofer/Thompson licenses but other patent trolls also try to enforce their patents. Ogg/vorbis on the other hand has the reputation to be patent-free and more advanced in terms of quality. So it is better to use ogg/vorbis.

When you need Audex with Cover fetching under Ubuntu Karmic better compile the latest version from source of fetch the unsupported packages from
https://launchpad.net/~philip5/+archive/extra
The Audex version in the Ubuntu Karmic universe repository is an outdated beta where the fetching functionality is broken.

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Ob Hegel hilft zur Interpretation der “als solche” Formulierung?

Oberflächlich angesehen ist diese verkehrte Welt so das Gegenteil der ersten, daß sie dieselbe außer ihr hat und jene erste als eine verkehrte Wirklichkeit von sich abstößt, daß die eine die Erscheinung, die andere aber das Ansich, die eine sie ist, wie sie für ein Anderes, die andere dagegen, wie sie für sich ist; so daß, um die vorigen Beispiele zu gebrauchen, was süß schmeckt, eigentlich oder innerlich am Dinge sinnlich Vorgestelltes, so ist das Saure, was das Ansich des süßen Dinges wäre, ein so wirkliches Ding wie es, ein saures Ding; das Schwarze, welches das Ansich des Weißen wäre, ist das wirkliche Schwarze; der Nordpol, welcher das Ansich des Südpols ist, ist der an demselben Magnete vorhandene Nordpol; der Sauerstoffpol, der das Ansich des Wasserstoffpols ist, der vorhandene Sauerstoffpol derselben Säule. Das wirkliche Verbrechen aber hat seine Verkehrung und sein Ansich als Möglichkeit in der Absicht als solcher, aber nicht in einer guten; denn die Wahrheit der Absicht. Ist nur die Tat selbst. Das Verbrechen seinem Inhalte nach aber hat seine Reflexion- in-sich oder seine Verkehrung an der wirklichen Strafe; diese ist die Aussöhnung des Gesetzes mit der ihm im Verbrechen entgegengesetzten Wirklichkeit.

Hegel: Phänomenologie des Geistes, in: Hegel-W Bd. 3, S. 129f.

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SMN 56

The latest English version of Single Market News issue 56 is now available at.

Regardless what is written in there, expect it to reflect an outdated state of debate. As I argued before now Single Market will become the lame duck department of the Commission working on evergreen issues like manufacturing an agreement on the community patent.

Issue 56 features the outgoing Commissioner Charlie McCreevy. McCreevy’s pet project financial market deregulation was cratered last year together with the Irish model and won’t come back in the new portfolio. He assumes an ideological mission to defend the single market for his successor:

The job of the next Commission, I believe would be to stand against those who, for a variety of political reasons, some of them may be ideological or philosophical, whatever they’d be, block the Single Market. To not allow the Single Market, the European markets to be interfered with.

Indeed, there are such forces, for instance those who prefer protection of geographical indications or the member states patent offices which obstruct the creation of a community patent for the single market.

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Forbes.com with the story about a Forbes 400 Billionaire who lost a whole lot of his possessions recently.

We’ve been talking to a country near the Mediterranean about developing something. I’d like to build another Cotai Strip, another Las Vegas in Europe. There are plenty of opportunities out there.

Ironically some persons from the Mediterranean are keen to come to the “azur blue” North Sea…

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The Choice Screen update will be displayed on over 100 million PCs in Europe when it is launched in mid-March 2010 and to around 30 million new PC users per year over its five year term. In addition, from mid-March 2010 onwards, anyone can view and use the Choice Screen at http://www.browserchoice.eu.

Could be fun to check this…

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Today a new EU-Commission memo was presented:

EU Telecoms Reform: 12 reforms to pave way for stronger consumer rights, an open internet, a single European telecoms market and high-speed internet connections for all citizens

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I don’t know why but our official Köbinger-Kiesewetter (a patent examiner) amicus letter translation from German to English is great fun, and when you start to laugh you really just can’t stop anymore:

“Lehmann – whose “powerful” tautology of the fundamental principle was cited by Schricker/Straus (see alo Schiuma GRUR Int 1998, 852-858 as referenced by Horns GRUR 2001, 1-16) – was, however, concerned exclusively with the simultaneous protection of computer program trademarks and work titles, on which Betten GRUR 1995, 5-12 and Lehmann had disagreed. BGH I ZR 44/95 “PowerPoint” contains different designations for origin (trademark) and immaterial content (work title), thus resolving the apparent conflict between the two.

It is difficult to say what is funny here. What I am trying to achieve is to reformat the authorised translation (done by Berlin office worker Luisa) of his Amicus letter to EPO G03/08 in a way that it can be shared with whom it may concern and of course you have to round the edges to this end.

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1. Commission President – José Manuel Durao Barroso (Portugal)
HoC: Johannes Laitenberger, Germany (past: Commmission spokesperson)

2. High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security – Catherine Ashton (UK)
HoC: James Morrison, UK (former HoC of Commissioner Ashton)

3. Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht (Belgium)
HoC: Marc Vanheukelen, Belgium (former HoC of Commissioner De Gucht)

4. International Cooperation and Development Commissioner Rumiana Jeleva (Bulgaria)
HoC: Jochen Richter, Germany (former HoC of Commissioner Orban)

5. Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard (Denmark)
HoC: Peter Vis, UK (former Vice HoC of Commissioner Piebalgs)

6. Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger (Germany)
HoC: Michael Köhler, Germany (former HoC of Commissioner Joe Borg)

7. Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas (Estonia)
HoC: Henrik Hololei, Estonia (former HoC of Kallas)

8.Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn (Finland)
HoC: Timo Pesonen, Finland (former HoC of Rehn)

9. Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier (France)
HoC: Olivier Guersent, France (fomer director DG Comp)

10. Fishery Commissioner Maria Damanaki (Greece)
HoC: Markopouliotis Georgios, Greece (former HoU DG Trade)

11. research Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn (Ireland)
HoC: John Bell, Ireland (former member of Kuneva’s cabinet)

12. Enterprises Commissioner Antonio Tajani (Italy)
HoC: Antonio Preto, Italy (former HoC of Tajani)

13. Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs (Latvia)
HoC: Christopher Jones, UK (former director DG TREN)

14. Fiscal affairs Commissioner Algirdas Semeta (Lithuania)
HoC: Stephen Quest, UK (former HoC of Commissioner Grybauskaite)

15. Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding (Luxembourg)
HoC: Martin Selmayr, Germany (former spokesperson of Commissioner Reding)

16. Health Commissioner John Dalli (Malta)
HoC: Joanna Darmanin, Malta (former HoC f Commissioner Borg)

17. Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes (Netherlands)
HoC: Anthony Whelan, Ireland (former HoC of Commissioner Kroes)\

18. Regional Policy Commissioner John Hahn (Austria)
HoC: Hubert Gambs, Austria (former member of Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner)

19. Budget Commissioner Janusz Lewandowski (Poland)
HoC: Marc Lemaitre, Luxembourg (former HoC of Commissioner Lewandowski)

20. Agriculture Commissiener Dacian Ciolos (Romania)
HoC: to be appointed

21. Internal Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström (Sweden)
HoC: Mia Asenius, Sweden (former secretary of Commissioner Malmstrom)

22. Interinstitutional relations Commissioner Maros SEFCOVIC (Slovak Republic)
HoC: Peter Javorcík, Slovak republic (former member of Commissioner Figel’s cabinet)

23. Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik (Slovenia)
HoC : Kurt Vandenberghe, Belgium (former hoC of Commissioner Potocnik)

24. Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia (Spain)
HoC: Carlos Martinez Mongay, Spain (former HoU DG ECFIN)

25. Enlargement Commissioner Füle Stefan (Czech Republic)
HoC : Simon Mordue, UK (former hoU DG TREN)

26. Employment Commissioner László Andor (Hungary)
HoC: Anabela Gago, Portugal (former vice HoC of Commissioner Kovacs)

27. Education Commissioner Vassiliou (Cyprus)
HoC: Philippe Brunet, France (former HoC of Commissioner Vassiliou)

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Interesting read, the mission letters for the new Commissioners. For instance Internal Market, here a community patent in the Alicante spirit becomes a core task. In other words, Internal Market is now saturated:

You will be the Commissioner with responsibility for Internal Market and Services. As in the past, changing circumstances may also mean that I will need to take a fresh look at the mix of portfolios in the course of the mandate, and may responsibilities accordingly.

You will take this responsibility in a context where drawing the lessons from the crisis and implementing them will be a key priority. You will be responsible for giving a new momentum to the Single Market while driving the Commission’s initiatives in the field of financial services, public procurement, free movement of services, intellectual property and professional qualifications:

− On the 20th anniversary of the single market in 2012, the Commission should propose a major set of initiatives to tackle missing links and restore confidence in the single market, so that it delivers its full potential for citizens and small businesses.

Mr Michel BARNIER

Commissioner designate
− We should work to make real progress on free movement of services, beginning with a full implementation of the Services Directive. A review of the professional qualifications legislation will also be needed.
− As to public procurement and intellectual property rights, you will take the lead on our efforts to secure the adoption of a Community patent, and developing effective policy for the enforcement of intellectual property rights.
− Integrated, efficient and safe financial markets are needed more than ever to help the EU economy grow again. However, the EU’s regulatory framework and the supervisory structures must be strengthened, and you will have a key role to ensure this happens.
To help you fulfil your responsibilities, DG MARKT will be under your authority as well as the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM).

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