1. The European Patent Office shall publish the European patent application as soon as possible
a) after the expiry of a period of eighteen months from the date of filing or, if priority has been claimed, from the date of priority, or
b) at the request of the applicant, before the expiry of that period.
2. The European patent application shall be published at the same time as the specification of the European patent when the decision to grant the patent becomes effective before the expiry of the period referred to in paragraph 1(a).