"The Community patent is another French priority. Do you expect any progress in the coming months or even an agreement to be struck by the end of the year for which some have hoped? What was the progress made under Slovenian Presidency? Patents are a crucial element in the promotion of innovation and growth and are of crucial importance for SMEs. The fact is that the accumulated cost of filing and maintaining patents in the European Patent System or individually in many EU member states are still much higher than for our major competitors, and this constitutes a clear competitive disadvantage. I am therefore very grateful for the impressive work of the Portuguese and Slovenian presidencies, which prepared the ground for a possible consensus. There is a package now on the table that is being discussed at both, political and technical level. Yes, I do have hope that a solution can be found."