Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2012-05-09-Speech-3-216-000"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, I come from a country where, since the introduction of a handful of tulip bulbs 400 years ago, we have seen the development of hundreds, if not thousands, of different sorts and varieties. European farming and market gardening have grown so big precisely because they constantly keep reinventing themselves by developing new and better varieties all the time. This applies not just to my country, but to all agricultural regions in Europe. This innovative capacity of European agriculture, of agriculture worldwide, will become ever more relevant. Very soon, we will have 9 billion mouths to feed and we therefore need varieties that, for example, use less water and fewer pesticides and are more resistant to diseases. Our breeders are up to that challenge, but then we need to offer them room for manoeuvre and legal certainty and that is what is missing at the moment. In relation to plant breeders’ rights – and here I am referring, among other things, to the international UPOV Convention, but also Article 4 of the Biopatent Directive – we state that people are allowed to use each other’s varieties in breeding, developing and discovering new varieties. We call that breeders’ exemption. However, according to patent law, every time you use a variety, you need to obtain the licence from the patent holder. With the rapid development of patent law in Europe, the breeders’ exemption, the developing freedom, is coming under threat and we must not allow that to happen. It is unacceptable from an ethical point of view – as previous Members have already adequately explained – but it is also not economically desirable because, that way, every innovation becomes paralysed. I therefore join my colleagues in calling on the Commission to enshrine the breeders’ exemption firmly in European patent law, at least the restricted breeders’ exemption, which provides freedom for the whole process until the moment you start commercialising and placing a final product on the market. It is therefore relevant that we get answers, especially to Mr Belder’s specific questions, and, if the Commissioner cannot answer them himself, he should have a member of his team answer them in writing. In the Netherlands, we have already named a tulip after Robert Schuman and I am pleased about that on this Europe Day. We have also named a tulip after Princess Máxima. If the Commission now speeds up the establishment of legal certainty in this field, who knows, Commissioner, that might very well lead to a tulip named after you, a ‘tulipa Guchtiniana’. Looking at you now, that would, of course, be a beautiful pink tulip. I sincerely hope that this will be the case."@en1

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