Tuesday

22nd Aug 2017

Focus

Acta on the brink as MEPs prepare for key vote

  • MEPs on a key parliament committee will decide whether to reject the anti-counterfeit treaty on Thursday (Photo: Luc Mercelis)

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.

Four European Parliament standing committees have come out against the treaty, but the International Trade committee, is responsible for presenting the assembly’s recommendation.

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.

It is set to adopt its position on Thursday (21 June). David Martin, the British centre-left MEP tasked with drafting Parliament’s response on Acta, is urging the committee to reject the deal. However parliament sources suggested that the vote could be tighter than previously thought.

Both the centre-right EPP group, which is comfortably the largest party group in Parliament, and the eurosceptic ECR group, are proposing rival amendments to keep Acta alive. A full Parliamentary vote in Strasbourg would then be held in July.

Although Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes appeared to admit defeat on Acta during a speech on internet freedom in Berlin last month, MEPs have come under mounting pressure from the commission and pro-Acta lobby groups over the last month to delay their decision until the European Court of Justice (ECJ) releases its legal opinion on the treaty.

International Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, who led the EU’s negotiating team, will speak in favour of Acta before MEPs take their vote. He referred the treaty to the Luxembourg-based Court in March calling for clarification that it does not compromise EU laws on data privacy.

Swedish MEP Christofer Fjellner, the EPP spokesman on Acta in the committee, has proposed an amendment for parliament to ratify the treaty. Justifying his stance, Fjellner insisted that “the ACTA agreement provides a useful basis to (the) fight against counterfeit products and ensures an adequate protection of consumers and companies alike.”

Meanwhile, Syed Kamall, a member of the ECR group, is urging the committee to suspend its decision until after the court has delivered its opinion. Both political groups are said to view a delay as a compromise to avoid a full veto. The parliament’s Liberal and Green groups, along with the Socialists, have stated their intention to reject the deal.

In a move indicating that EU governments are preparing to take out the most controversial elements of the treaty in a bid to pacify MEPs, German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger suggested in a recent interview that Acta could be salvaged by removing the provisions on copyright from the treaty.

Ministers and EU officials are aware that any re-negotiation of Acta would require the consent of existing signatories to the treaty, including the US, Japan and Australia.

However, internet freedom campaigners remain unconvinced that the treaty can or should be saved.

Joe McNamee, director of pan-European digital rights campaign group EDRI, insisted that a “cherry-pick” approach would fail. “[This] wouldn’t solve the problem that the safeguards are almost all sophistry, smoke and mirrors.”

“Either the renegotiation would be so superficial as to fail to solve ACTA’s many problems, or it would involve the same exclusionary approach as the first negotiation”, he told this website.

Acta unraveling as Netherlands joins nay-sayers

The controversial anti-counterfeit treaty Acta is in danger of unraveling, with Dutch and Australian politicians the latest to cast doubt on it, despite a rearguard effort by the EU Commission and the creative industries lobby to save it.

Acta in tatters after MEPs wield veto

The little-loved anti-counterfeit treaty, Acta, has collapsed after MEPs in the European Parliament vetoed it by an overwhelming majority.

Opinion

Macron goes east to test appetites for EU integration

The next few months will be decisive in selecting who stays in the core of the EU and who stays behind, writes Tomas Prouza, a former state secretary for European Affairs of the Czech Republic.

News in Brief

  1. Austria has begun checks at Italian border
  2. Slovenian PM: Brexit talks will take longer than expected
  3. Merkel backs diesel while report warns of economic harm
  4. UK to publish new Brexit papers this week
  5. Macedonia sacks top prosecutor over wiretap scandal
  6. ECB concerned stronger euro could derail economic recovery
  7. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  8. European Union returns to 2 percent growth

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference