The Member States' Permanent Representatives to the EU (COREPER) are unable to agree on procedures for applying a Council draft Decision to raise the number of judges available to the EU's Court of First Instance. The Member States agree on the need to boost the number of judges from 15 to at least 21, but are other over the appointment arrangements. The Presidency backs the idea of a rotating system, which is fair for all sides. France , the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Italy will not concur, however. They stress that if they appoint five of the eight Advocates-General to the Court, the 10 other countries will share the three remaining positions. In the light of this precedent, a compromise is on appraisal where the extra number of judges would be eight instead of six. Account may also be taken of a system for allocating posts on the basis of where disputes originate.The Court of Justice's President asked for more judges in April 1999 to cope with the new powers for dealing with intellectual property-related cases. The small number of cases referred to the Court of Instance (18 in 1999, 34 in 2000) has to be seen in the context of the volume pending in the appeal chambers of the Alicante-based Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market. However, apart from these cases, the number referred to the Court generally...

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