The European Parliament is hosting a workshop on the Patent System next June 14th 2007 in Brussels, namelly the "STOA Workshop: Policy options for the improvement of the European patent system".
The published report mentions on pages 36 and 37:
Box 4: Hot debates the case of "software patents"
Another heated area of debate in the European patent system results from the exclusion within the EPC as regards the patenting of computer programs "as such" often referred to as "software patents".
On the one hand, there is pressure to extend the scope of patentable subject matter to all software running on a computer. This is being argued for even if the alleged invention is only the general application of modern technology (e.g. the Internet) to well-known business procedures or the implementation of a new business procedure or other non-technical features by normal technological means. Some quarters go so far as to demand patenting of pure business methods, without the indication of any technical implementation.
On the other hand, plenty of interest groups in the area of free and open source software are of the opinion that patents stifle innovation. Hence, they are completely against software patents per se. Moderate interest groups however, do accept patents for technical systems in which the control process is implemented by means of a computer program and this would apply to washing machines, airplanes etc.
The legal practice of the EPO lies somewhere in-between the two extreme positions, to the extent patents are granted only for subject matter which solves a technical problem by technical means. This can be for software which controls the operation of the computer itself (e.g. operating system features) or which provides certain functionality for users in a broad range of applications (e.g. office software, technical systems, graphic software, games).
Maybe the whole paragraph needs some corrections?