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Parliamentary questions
30 June 2017
E-002338/2017
Answer given by Ms Bieńkowska on behalf of the Commission

The European Patent Office (EPO) is an independent international organisation without any organic link with the EU per se. The Administrative Council, composed of representatives of its 38 contracting states, supervises the activities of the EPO and its President.

As noted by the Honourable Member, the Commission has observer status at the Administrative Council; however, it is not involved when personnel, disciplinary, appointments and other human resources matters are being discussed, and thus does not have competence to directly intervene in Administrative Council considerations on these matters.

Nevertheless, given the EPO's upcoming role in the administration of the unitary patent, the Commission has a direct interest in the social situation in the EPO, and notably its respect for fundamental social rights and serene social dialogue. In that context, it was positive that, at the last meeting of the Administrative Council on 15-16 March 2017, the President's presentation of the annual activity report of the Office drew specific attention to efforts underway since 2016 to improve the social situation in the EPO(1).

In addition, the EPO's social agenda in 2017 is focusing on continuing to enhance social dialogue, notably by more directly including staff at various stages of projects by means of focus groups.

The Commission hopes that these initiatives will contribute to fostering a culture of social dialogue and a more positive social climate generally at the EPO. To this end, it will continue to urge the Organisation, and in particular, the EU Member States in its membership, to ensure true and balanced social dialogue in the EPO.

(1)Details of the annual report are available at: http://www.epo.org/about-us/annual-reports-statistics/annual-report/2016.html

Last updated: 4 July 2017Legal notice