Friday

18th Aug 2017

Focus

EU parliament joins commission on Acta court probe

The debate on the controversial anti-counterfeit treaty, Acta has moved to the European Parliament, with MEPs set to pose their own questions to the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice.

At the first meeting of the assembly's International Trade committee on Thursday (1 March) - responsible for drafting the parliament's report - MEPs were presented with a petition organised by Internet campaign group Avaaz and signed by 2.4 million people who want to see ratification of Acta halted. Under the terms of the EU treaties, the parliament must give its approval before the treaty can enter into life.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The EU court in Luxembourg could hold the fate of the international treaty in its hands (Photo: TPCOM)

David Martin, the Socialist group MEP who is rapporteur on the treaty, urged the committee to refer it to European Court of Justice for a legal opinion on questions prepared by parliament.

Last week the European Commission itself bowed to public pressure when trade commissioner Karel De Gucht - who led the EU's negotiating team on Acta - called on the EU court to clarify if existing EU laws on data protection and freedom of expression on the Internet would be compromised by the new regime.

In a statement, Martin said he wanted to "guarantee a good balance between intellectual property rights, which are the EU's raw material and are fundamental for the European economy, and individual freedoms in the Internet age."

Martin also indicated that he wanted to pose questions about the role of border control agencies and in particular, the controversial issue of how and whether Internet service providers would be mandated to enforce the treaty.

"There is no 'three strikes' rule in Acta, but we do not know how Internet service providers will interpret the tasks given to them and if they feel that they have the duty to cut people off from the Internet," he added.

With the commission and signatory member states coming under increasing pressure from Internet campaigners, MEPs from across the political spectrum are taking a cautious approach to Acta.

Swedish Christian Democrat Christopher Fjellner, whose EPP group has been a big supporter of Acta during the five year negotiation process, said that MEPs would scrutinise the deal in detail before endorsing it.

"I've heard from the commission and member states that there will not be a big change in legislation. I will not take your word for it. We need to scrutinise it," he said.

MEPs also attacked the commission's handling of the negotiations and its response to public protests against the treaty.

Latvian centre-right MEP, Inese Valdere commented that "the commission has not done its job," adding: "I fear we don't have much chance of saving Acta."

Responding to the criticism from MEPs, commissioner De Gucht noted: "Our responsibility as politicians is to establish the facts and not follow the crowd."

His views are similar to those expressed earlier this week by Cameron Kerry, Internet advisor to US President Barack Obama. In an interview, Kerry told EUobserver that Acta is a good balance between intellectual property rights and freedom of expression.

Referring to the recent protests against the treaty, he commented that "rhetoric has exceeded the reality."

Six of the 22 EU countries which have signed Acta have recently halted their ratification procedures and are likely to wait for the opinion of the court and the European Parliament before they resume the process.

EU parliament chief joins anti-Acta camp

European Parliament chief Martin Schulz has spoken out against a new intellectual property regime, amid growing signs it will face problems getting past MEPs.

EU commission admits mistake on Acta

The European Commission has admitted that it was taken aback by the scale of popular opposition to the global anti-counterfeit treaty, Acta.

MEPs to vote on Acta before summer

MEPs in the parliament's trade committee Tuesday rejected a proposal to refer Acta to the European Court of Justice, meaning the controversial anti-counterfeit treaty is set to be voted on before summer.

Pressure mounts on EU cloud deal as deadline looms

The European Commission is under pressure to keep to its self-imposed September deadline to publish an EU cloud computing strategy, as new evidence revealed widespread public confusion about it.

News in Brief

  1. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  2. European Union returns to 2 percent growth
  3. Russian power most feared in Europe
  4. Ireland continues to refuse €13 billion in back taxes from Apple
  5. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  6. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns
  7. Danish police to investigate misuse of EU fishing rules
  8. German constitutional court questions ECB's €2tn spending

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  2. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  3. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  5. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  7. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  8. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  10. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  11. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  12. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides