Austria has assumed the Presidency of the EU for the first half of 2006, to be followed by Finland for the second half. In the Operational Programme of the Council 2006 submitted by the Austrian and Finnish Presidencies they spell out their objectives. In relation to IP they say:
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
The Presidencies will explore possibilites to make progress towards finding a solution on the Community Patent in order to achieve a cost-effective, user-friendly and efficient patent system in the EU.
The Presidencies will work towards finding a compromise solution on the proposal to amend the Design Directive for component parts of complex products.
Work will be continued on the basis of the recommendation from the Commission on the collective management of copyrights. The Council expects a report from the Commission on the EC legal framework in the field of copyright and related rights.
The Council will seek to adopt a decision on the accession of the EC to the WIPO Geneva Act on the International Registration of Designs and an amendment to the Designs Regulation.
Also relevant in the information society section:
The eventual co-ordination and follow-up activities resulting from the outcome of the World Summit on Information Society held in November 2005, with special attention to the issue of Internet Governance given the expiry of the MoU between ICANN and the US-administration in September 2006.And in the biodiversity section:
The IPKat notes that this all sounds delightfully non-committal, but taking on the Community Patent and component parts of complex products suggest the Austrian and Finnish Presidencies aren’t afraid of a challenge
Both Presidencies are committed to following up the Communication on Biodiversity. The aim is to promote the EU target of halting the decline of biodiversity by 2010.
In addition, preparatory work is necessary for the 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the 3rd Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (MOP3) (Brazil, spring 2006). To enhance further the EU's leading role in its commitment on a global scale, we will work to secure the EU's priorities at COP8 and MOP3, which will address crucial issues for the successful implementation of both treaties and the global achievement of the 2010 biodiversity target.