19th Mar 2018

EU parliament committees say No to Acta

  • Internet campaigners have rounded on the EU Commission after negotiating documents were put online. (Photo: Agnes Lisik)

The prospects of the EU ratifying the controversial anti-counterfeit treaty, Acta have been dealt another blow after MEPs on three European Parliament committees voted to reject the deal.

MEPs on the civil liberties, legal affairs and industry committees came out against the treaty, which critics claim threatens internet freedom, although MEPs from the centre-right EPP group voted in favour in the legal affairs body.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  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.

Under the parliament’s rules, committees have the right to issue a non-binding opinion on a file to be considered by the lead committee.

David Martin, the centre-left MEP responsible for parliament's final report in the international trade committee, said that "the problems these three committees have identified back up my own concerns about Acta, which I raised in my report to the international trade committee."

He also expressed confidence that the plenary vote in Strasbourg would throw out the treaty, saying "I am confident that a large majority of Euro-MPs will endorse my proposal and vote against Acta."

The international trade committee is expected to adopt its position on 17 June in advance of a vote by the full parliament in July.

The European Commission is still waiting for the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice to deliver its legal opinion on the treaty, but a parliamentary veto would mean it is dead.

The votes come just days after the commission came under attack from internet campaign groups and the European Data Protection Supervisor over its part in the multi-lateral negotiations on the treaty.

European Digital Rights, a pan-European campaign group on data privacy, accused the EU executive of "comprehensive failure" after internal documents detailing its negotiating strategy were published online by the group on Tuesday (29 May).

The documents include the minutes taken by the commission from the negotiations in Paris, Seoul, Rabat and Guadalajara between 2008 and 2010.

Meanwhile, parliament sources indicated that there are a series of pending court cases by individuals seeking access to documents related to the EU's negotiating stance.

The EDR claims that the EU commission agreed to enforcement of the treaty by Internet service providers, in breach of its own inter-institutional agreement with the EU Council and parliament. They also say it signed up to a series of vague definitions which the commission itself admitted led to other countries asking the EU "to try to make them make sense."

It accused negotiators of a lack of transparency after the minutes from the Seoul negotiations in 2009 revealed that while the US had the right to disclose negotiation documents to "selected stakeholders" the EU had no equivalent mechanism.

The EDR also echoed the view held by many of parliament's Acta critics that the commission was "completely outmanoeuvred by the United States," after failing to secure safeguards on counterfeit medicines and tighter legal definitions, asserting that "this agreement, from beginning to end, was driven by the United States."

It concluded that the commission had "failed consistently to make any positive gains for itself throughout the entire negotiation process."

Meanwhile, Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht hit back at an "unfounded" opinion on Acta by Peter Hustinx, the European Data Protection Supervisor.

In a letter sent to parliament's legal affairs committee on 29 May, De Gucht accused Hustinx of ignoring the "explicit and detailed safeguards" included in the treaty to protect personal privacy and data protection.

He added that "the opinion systematically assumes that where the provisions of Acta leave room for flexibility in their implementation, they will be implemented in the EU."


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.


Why has central Europe turned so eurosceptic?

Faced with poorer infrastructure, dual food standards and what can seem like hectoring from western Europe it is not surprising some central and eastern European member states are rebelling.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden emerges as possible US-North Korean summit host
  2. Google accused of paying academics backing its policies
  3. New interior minister: 'Islam doesn't belong to Germany'
  4. Hamburg 'dieselgate' driver wins case to get new VW car
  5. Slovak deputy PM asked to form new government
  6. US, Germany, France condemn 'assault on UK sovereignty'
  7. MEPs accept Amsterdam as seat for EU medicines agency
  8. Auditors: EU farm 'simplification' made subsidies more complex

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework

Latest News

  1. Brexit and trade will top This WEEK
  2. Dutch MPs in plan to shut EU website on Russian propaganda
  3. Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea
  4. Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant
  5. Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks
  6. Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case
  7. Western allies back UK amid Russian media blitz
  8. Meet the European Parliament's twittersphere

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUDigital Cooperation a Priority for China-EU Relations
  2. ECTACompetition must prevail in the quest for telecoms investment
  3. European Friends of ArmeniaTaking Stock of 30 Years of EU Policy on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: How Can the EU Contribute to Peace?
  4. ILGA EuropeCongratulations Finland!
  5. EUobserverNow Hiring! Sales Associate With 2+ Years Experience
  6. EUobserverNow Hiring! Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience
  7. UNICEFCyclone Season Looms Over 720,000 Rohingya Children in Myanmar & Bangladesh
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationEU Court: EU Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Online Gambling Services
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina Hopes for More Exchanges With Nordic, Baltic Countries
  10. Macedonian Human Rights MovementCondemns Facebook for Actively Promoting Anti-Macedonian Racism
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersGlobal Seed Vault: Gene Banks Gather to Celebrate 1 Million Seed Collections
  12. CECEIndustry Stakeholders Are Ready to Take the Lead in Digital Construction