In addition to the other subjects dealt with at the European Council on 15 December, the EU heads of state and government also took the opportunity to set out several priorities relating to innovation policy in 2007.

The first area to be emphasised by the Council, in its final conclusions, is work related to intellectual property rights. The EU leaders invite the European Commission to present its forthcoming communication on patents "as soon as possible". No date is currently planned within the Commission for its publication, however, due to persistent divisions between member states on the issue of the Community Patent, and Commissioner Charlie McCreevy has spoken of assessing the situation again under the German EU Presidency. The European Council also invites the Commission to present a "comprehensive" IPR strategy during 2007, addressing the quality of the IPR system.

EU leaders would also like to see progress on the Commission's proposal to create a European Institute of Technology...

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