The European Commission is to refer eight European Union member states to the European Court of Justice over what it alleges is their continued failure to implement Directive 98/44/EC on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions.
The Directive should have been written into EU member states' national laws by 30 July, and the fact that Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden have still not done so is putting the European biotechnology sector at a serious disadvantage, says the Commission.
Last December, it made an official request to these eight nations, and Portugal, to implement the Directive or risk being taken to the Court. Then, in January, it held the third of a series of meetings with the non-implementing nations to review the situation and give them the opportunity to explain any political and technical obstacles.
By 10 July, only Portugal out of the group of nine had introduced the Directive into its national law, joining Denmark, Finland, the UK, Ireland, Spain and Greece that had done so by the 2000 deadline.Endit