Thursday

20th Jul 2017

Focus

EPP isolated as Parliament Liberals join anti-Acta campaign

  • The Liberal MEP party group has become the latest to join the anti-ACTA camp. (Photo: KBRI Brussel)

Guy Verhofstadt became the latest leading figure to oppose the anti-counterfeit treaty Acta when his Liberal group announced that they could not approve the deal without significant re-negotiation.

At a press conference held on Tuesday (24 April), Verhofstadt, as well as the group's spokespersons on Acta, Niccolo Rinaldi and Sophie In’t Veld, described the treaty's provisions as “contradictory “ and “overly ambitious," calling instead for a sector-by-sector approach to counterfeit goods. In a closing remark, Rinaldi said that for Acta, “the game is over."

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.

Criticising the European Commission's negotiating role on behalf of the EU, the Alde group insisted that they would be "supportive of multilateral efforts to protect intellectual property rights" provided that these were based on "a transparent and publicly discussed mandate."

The Liberals’ move means that three of the European Parliament’s four largest groups have come out against Acta, with the Socialist and Democrat and Green groups having already signalled their intention to veto the deal. According to research by the London School of Economics, the voting behaviour of the Liberal group invariably tilts the majority.

The parliament’s international trade committee, which yesterday began debate on a report prepared by centre-left MEP David Martin, is expected to come forward with a list of changes to improve Acta, although a full re-negotiation of the treaty is unlikely as it would require the consent of countries including the US, Japan and Australia to re-open the package.

Echoing remarks made earlier this week by Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor, that the treaty contained insufficient protection for civil liberties, Verhofstadt complained about the number of enforcement measures in Acta. Referring to debate on the deal in the US, he added that it was increasingly unlikely that the US Congress would ratify the treaty, commenting that Tom Wilde, chair of the sub-committee on trade in the US Senate, was also extremely critical of the negotiation process.

However, while the bureau of the parliament's international trade committee on Wednesday confirmed a timetable that would see it adopting a position in June before a vote by all MEPs in July, the legal affairs committee postponed a debate and vote on its own report. The legal affairs committee is among five committees which will adopt a consultative opinion, which has been drafted by centre-right MEP Marielle Gallo, a strong supporter of Acta.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by MEPs Christofer Fjellner and Daniel Caspary, on behalf of the EPP, declined to take a definitive position, saying that "many of the provisions in Acta provide a useful basis to step up the fight against counterfeit products and ensure an adequate protection of consumers and companies."

They also conditioned their support for Acta on the commission providing legal clarity that the treaty would not lead to internet service providers (ISPs) policing the internet and would only apply to large-scale breaches of intellectual property rights.

Supporters of Acta have also suggested that rejection by parliament could lead to a "Balkanisation" of internet regulation, with six EU countries having already ratified the treaty, which will be integrated with their national law.

Politicians divided on 'Big Brother' Internet laws

Heated debate on online privacy law has re-emerged in Washington with the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act set to be the first bill on internet piracy to be adopted by the US Congress.

Acta on the brink as MEPs prepare for key vote

The future of controversial anti-counterfeit treaty Acta remains uncertain as MEPs on the European Parliament’s trade committee weigh up whether to approve or reject the deal.

EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions

EU and UK negotiators presented their Brexit positions to identify common grounds this week, but that was made difficult by the scarcity of UK position papers.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  2. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  3. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  4. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  5. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  6. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  7. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary
  8. Commission: clean up diesel cars, or EU agency inevitable