A while ago I wrote a post highlighting the possibility of a succesful Danish presidency of the E.U. So, as the Danes are handing over the wheel to the Cypriots, forgive me for gloating a little over my excellent foresight ;-)
While this presidency didn't draw huge headlines - until the last moment, at least - it certainly achieved important results, and at least one with long-term, positive consequences for Europe.
It seems that the Danes managed to solve a problem that has existed for roughly thirty years, namely that of a single European patent.
Boring stuff, many would agree. But in the long term it very well turn out to be a decisive factor in the E.U.'s ambitions to be one of the leaders in innovation.
As of today, one of the reasons that the U.S. has kept its lead for so long is that American entrepreneurs and businesses have only had to file for its patents in just one place to get protection on a market of more than 400 million people. This has meant low costs and little administration.
Europeans, on the other hand, have had to go through up to 27 government agencies to achieve the same protection, which has been enormously costly and complicated.
In other words, it now means that independent engineers, computer wizzes, business people, etc., will no longer have to borrow about 35,000 euros to make their ideas come to life. Not to mention the advantages of handling just one patent in stead of 27.
So, congratulations for solving a problem that for decades has stifled innovation and job creation in Europe.