After a request for a single European patent by 12 EU member states not too long ago, the European Commission has formally proposed unitary patent protection for these member states.
Michel Barnier, EU Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, said that the purpose was to establish a unitary right for the founding member states with the hope that eventually all member states will show an interest and join the initiative.
Under the EU Treaty, the enhanced cooperation mechanism allows nine or more countries to move forward in a particular area if, within a reasonable period, no agreement can be reached by all EU member states. The 12 countries that have requested the single EU patent are Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK. More information can be found here