Bonum Certa Men Certa

The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXIV: An “Extremely Dubious” Proposal

Series parts:

  1. The EPO's Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part I: Let the Sunshine In!
  2. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part II: A “Unanimous” Endorsement?
  3. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part III: Three Missing Votes
  4. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IV: The Founding States
  5. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part V: Germany Says “Ja”
  6. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VI: A Distinct Lack of Dutch Courage
  7. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VII: Luxembourgish Laxity
  8. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part VIII: Perfidious Albion and Pusillanimous Hibernia
  9. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IX: More Holes Than Swiss Cheese
  10. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part X: Introducing the Controversial Christian Bock
  11. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XI: “General Bock” - Battistelli's Swiss Apprentice?
  12. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XII: The French Connection
  13. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIII: Battistelli's Iberian Facilitators - Spain
  14. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XIV: Battistelli's Iberian Facilitators - Portugal
  15. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XV: Et Tu Felix Austria…
  16. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVI: The Demise of the Austrian Double-Dipper
  17. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVII: The Non-Monolithic Nordic Bloc
  18. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XVIII: Helsinki's Accord
  19. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXX: The Baltic States
  20. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XX: The Visegrád Group
  21. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXI: The Balkan League – The Doyen and His “Protégée”
  22. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXII: The Balkan League - North Macedonia and Albania
  23. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIII: The Balkan League - Bulgaria
  24. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXIV: The Balkan League - Romania
  25. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXV: The Balkan League - Fresh Blood or Same Old, Same Old?
  26. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXVI: A Trojan Horse on the Budget and Finance Committee
  27. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXVII: Cypriot Complicity
  28. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXVIII: Benoît and António's Loyal “Habibi”
  29. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part IXXX: The EPOnian Micro-States - Monaco and Malta
  30. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXX: San Marino and the Perfidious Betrayal of Liberty
  31. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXI: The Abstentionists
  32. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXII: “Plucky Little Belgium”?
  33. The EPO’s Overseer/Overseen Collusion — Part XXXIII: Swedish Scepticism
  34. YOU ARE HERE ☞ An “Extremely Dubious” Proposal


Per Foss and his deputy Toril Foss
The Norwegian representatives, Per Foss and his deputy Toril Foss.



Summary: The Norwegian delegation or Norway's representatives at the EPO's Administrative Council ought to have voted against what their national Ministry for Labour said "seem[ed] extremely dubious in respect of its compliance with applicable international conventions"

The second Scandinavian delegation to abstain from endorsing Benoît Battistelli's "Strike Regulations" was from Norway.



In June 2013, the Norwegian delegation was headed by Per Foss, head of the Norwegian Industrial Property Office ("Patentstyret").

Per Foss was not present in Munich at the 136th Council meeting and the acting head of delegation on that occasion was his deputy Toril Foss.

"To be more specific, the Norwegian representatives referred the matter to their national Ministry for Labour which responded by issuing a decidedly negative opinion on the proposal."The Norwegian delegation deserves a special mention here because, as far as is known, it was the only one of 38 delegations that actually bothered to perform any kind of due diligence prior to the vote on Battistelli's "Strike Regulations" proposal.

To be more specific, the Norwegian representatives referred the matter to their national Ministry for Labour which responded by issuing a decidedly negative opinion on the proposal.

The opinion [PDF] from the ministry started off by noting the following:

"The right to strike is regulated in several international instruments ratified by Norway, inter alia ILO Convention No. 87 and No. 98 on the right to self-organise and engage in collective bargaining, and the Council of Europe Social Charter."


It then went on to express scepticism about "a solution with an administrative regulation" and expressly stated that the content of the proposal "seems extremely dubious in respect of its compliance with applicable international conventions".

"This was enough to deter the Norwegian delegation from voting in favour."The opinion concluded with the suggestion that "Norway request more info concerning how the right to strike is formulated in other organizations, and that the EPO takes no position on the proposal at the present time".

This was enough to deter the Norwegian delegation from voting in favour.

According to the minutes of the 136th Administrative Council meeting [PDF] (under point no. 123):

"The Norwegian delegation supported the President in finding a balanced set of rules. For lack of consensus from the parties and a lack of confidence that the proposals complied with ILOAT regulations, it would, however, have to abstain."


Under the given circumstances, the Norwegian decision to abstain seems like an excessively timid and inadequate reaction to a proposal which the Ministry for Labour had designated as "extremely dubious".

To any person of sound mind, a vote against the proposal would have been fully justified given the unambiguously negative opinion issued by the competent national ministry.

"...if all of the other Administrative Council delegates had done their homework as the Norwegians did, then the Council as a whole would have been forced to conclude that Battistelli's proposal was not fit for purpose."But what is even more surprising here is that the international agreements referred to in the opinion of the Norwegian Ministry for Labour - namely various ILO conventions and the Council of Europe Social Charter - have been ratified by all of the EPO's member states.

This means that if all of the other Administrative Council delegates had done their homework as the Norwegians did, then the Council as a whole would have been forced to conclude that Battistelli's proposal was not fit for purpose.

Indeed, the EPO Central Staff Committee had already written to all Council delegates on 29 May 2013 [PDF] to alert them to the serious flaws in the proposed "Strike Regulations".

In a follow-up action on 14 June 2013, the EPO Staff Union (SUEPO) wrote to the competent supervising ministries of all EPO contracting states to alert them to the situation [PDF] and to advise against any misguided attempt to endorse the curtailment of the right to strike at the EPO.

"The official record shows that delegates from 28 states completely ignored the well-intentioned warnings from EPO staff representatives and SUEPO. Instead, they allowed themselves to be mesmerised by the "spin" of Team Battistelli and proceeded to give their unreserved endorsement to this manifestly flawed proposal."Thus, despite the fact that both the Council delegates and their supervising ministers had been duly apprised about what was going on, the overwhelming majority failed to exercise due diligence and put a stop to Battistelli's frenetic and misguided efforts to impose his distinctly "Vichyite" stamp on the EPO's internal staff regulations.

The official record shows that delegates from 28 states completely ignored the well-intentioned warnings from EPO staff representatives and SUEPO. Instead, they allowed themselves to be mesmerised by the "spin" of Team Battistelli and proceeded to give their unreserved endorsement to this manifestly flawed proposal.

It is worth noting that all of the states whose representatives endorsed Battistelli's liberticidal project are member states of the Council of Europe, the custodian of the European Convention on Human Rights. In addition to this, 20 of those states were EU members. One further state, namely Croatia, formally acceded to EU membership a few days later on 1 July 2013.

"It is worth noting that all of the states whose representatives endorsed Battistelli's liberticidal project are member states of the Council of Europe, the custodian of the European Convention on Human Rights."In the next part we will continue our examination of the EPO member states that withheld their support from Battistelli on that occasion and take a look at the delegation representing the smallest member of the Visegrád Group, the Republic of Slovakia.

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