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Despite what the European Commission announced in December, the postponement of the directive on patients' rights in cross-border health care is not due simply to a "heavy agenda".The Commission is more divided than ever over the text - which has been under discussion for six months - in terms of both its content and advisability. For now, it is not included on any of the Commission's projected agendas. Following the latest discussions, Commissioners Margot Wallstrom (communication), Gunter Verheugen (industry) and Charlie McCreevy (internal market) maintained their reservations.

One of the hypotheses apparently being considered is simply not to bring out the text before the Irish referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon, or possibly even before British ratification. Commissioner Markos Kyprianou (health) is now aware of that possibility. The attempts to make marginal changes...

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