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Parliamentary questions
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27 July 2016
Answer given by Ms Bieńkowska on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-002889/2016

1. The Commission is aware of social tensions at the European Patent Office (EPO). The European Patent Organisation which encompasses the EPO is not an EU Agency and is not bound by EC law.

2. The Commission is an observer at the Administrative Council, the political body of the European Patent Organisation. Discussions relating to the social dialogue are classified under confidential items and the Commission, in its role as an observer, is not allowed to take part in the discussions. The Commission has regularly taken a position on the importance of sorting out social conflicts within the EPO and has welcomed initiatives taken by the Administrative Council aiming at re-building trustworthy social relations within the Office.

3. EPO is neither an institution nor an agency of the European Union. As regards implementing provisions to the Staff Regulations of officials of the EU, and with respect to its agencies, the Commission's competence is to oversee the agencies' implementing rules. As to concrete implementation of the Staff Regulations in individual cases and on a daily basis, this falls within the competence of the relevant appointing authority of each institution or agency, under the principal control of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

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