Monday

29th Aug 2016

Focus

MEPs to vote on Acta before summer

  • The trade committee is to vote on the Acta-treaty in May while plenary is likely to vote on it in June (Photo: KBRI Brussel)

MEPs in the parliament's trade committee Tuesday (27 March) 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.

Deputies rejected the court proposal by a large majority of 21 to five. Immediately after the vote the centre-left Socialist group and the Greens indicated their intention to reject the treaty.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Bernd Lange, spokesman for the Socialist group on the trade committee, welcomed the result of the vote, saying that he expected the treaty to "probably be buried before the summer."

"Today's decision not to ask for legal advice from the Court of Justice is the first sign that this Parliament is ready to reject Acta. It was a mistake from the beginning to put counterfeiting and Internet content in the same agreement. We cannot support the text as it is."

Meanwhile, Green MEP Amelia Andersdotter commented that the treaty "should never have been concluded in the first place" adding that Acta would "lead to a heavy-handed and repressive enforcement of copyright with no regard to the basic rights of citizens."

However, the Parliament's Liberal group, along with the centre-right EPP, the assembly's largest party grouping, which has been most sympathetic to the treaty during the negotiations, have yet to commit themselves.

Acta – the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement – is meant to protect intellectual property rights, as well as target counterfeit goods and generic medicines, but critics say it undermines freedom of expression and privacy online.

UK Labour member David Martin, who has been charged with drawing up Parliament's position on the agreement, had mooted the possibility of the EU assembly referring Acta to the Court to respond to questions regarding its implementation.

In a statement on Tuesday, Martin denied that this was "a political trick to delay the decision", arguing that his intention was "to shed some light that would help members of Parliament make their decision."

Internet campaign group La Quadrature Du Net had suggested that the Parliament referring the deal to the Court would have delayed a final decision for over a year.

Last month EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, who led the EU's negotiating team on the treaty, responded to mounting political pressure by asking the Luxembourg based Court for a legal opinion on whether EU laws on privacy and data protection would be affected by Acta.

Under the EU treaties, international treaty agreements such as Acta require the approval of the European Parliament before entering into force in the EU.

Martin is expected to present his opinion on whether the trade committee should accept or reject Acta at the end of April. The trade committee is itself expected to vote on the matter at the end of the following month while a final plenary vote is likely to occur in June.

Italy earthquake is test for Renzi

Italian prime minister is expected to present a quick reconstruction plan and request more budget flexibility from the EU after this week's tragic earthquake.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary plans to reinforce border fence against migrants
  2. France's highest court suspends burkini ban
  3. Greeks paid €1bn more in taxes in June
  4. Greek minister denounces EU letter on former statistics chief
  5. Turks seeking asylum in Greece may cause diplomatic row
  6. Merkel becomes digital resident of Estonia
  7. Report: VW will compensate US dealers with €1bln
  8. EU mulls making Google pay news media for content

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  2. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  3. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  4. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  5. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  6. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  7. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  8. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  9. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  10. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  11. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  12. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey